COVID-19

Nursing homes have been ravaged by coronavirus throughout the nation. Data shows that people who reside or work in long-term care facilities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and a new report shows that as of April 23, 2020 there have been over 10,000 reported deaths due to COVID-19 in long-term care facilities (including residents and staff), in the 23 states that publicly report death data, representing 27% of deaths due to COVID-19 in those states.  So how is the Central Coast responding to the threat of COVID-19 in local long-term care facilities? What is being done to protect both residents and employees? And what is the future of nursing homes?

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, the SLO Chamber of Commerce's Jim Dantona speaks with SLO County health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein—not just about public health issues, but Borenstein's personal path to the job that, before the current pandemic, was not often in the public spotlight. We visit with a retired pilot, Captain Karen Kahn, one of the first female pilots hired to fly with a commercial airline, and learn more about a nonprofit—where Kahn is a mentor—that teaches Santa Barbara-area youth all aspects of aviation and, ultimately, how to fly a plane. Tom Wilmer speaks with Christine Johnson, executive director of the Central Coast Aquarium, about the Avila aquarium and the planned Morro Bay expansion. Finally, Monterey County organizations pick up the phone to check in with people during the shutdown. 

With the national shutdown, many aspects of our lives have been drastically disrupted.  But for those  looking forward to a special event like a wedding, graduation or new job, the loss of the celebration associated with this life event can be devastating.  Tune into this conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, about dealing with—and helping others to navigate—the disappointment and even grief associated with not being able to experience and mark these major milestones. 

San Luis Obispo County officials have released a framework for reopening the county—called the START guide—emphasizing that it's a draft outline. At times contradictory, nevertheless the guide is designed to “give our business partners, our organizations, places of worship the best ideas about how they can begin planning in the days and weeks to come,” said the county’s health officer.

Courtesy Laura Foxx/Kevin Harris

The Central Coast is known for its many gifted artists—across the spectrum of mediums and disciplines—who choose to live and create here. Via Zoom, we checked in with two local performance artists to learn how they are adapting during the pandemic shutdown, and the shuttering of their livelihoods.

UNESCO recently reported 192 countries had closed schools and colleges around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting more than 90% of the world’s learners; around 1.6 billion children and young people.

SLO County

On Wednesday, the name of San Luis Obispo County’s reopening plan was revealed—the START guide, or ‘Steps To Adapt and Reopen Together.’ Expected to be released Friday, county health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said it’s not going to be a set-in-stone plan.

Courtesy army.mil

It’s been seven weeks since Central Coast schools closed in-person classrooms and began teaching students virtually. The change was radical and abrupt.

Elizabeth Barrett explores ways we can deal with the current isolation caused by the pandemic and stay at home orders. Learn about Acceptance Commitment Therapy in this conversation with the Reluctant Therapist.

During this time of sheltering-in-place, managing addictions may seem like an impossible task. Yet our mental and physical health, our relationships, and futures depend on our ability to make peace with our greatest challenges. The Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, and her guest Dr. Michael McGee talk about coping with addictions through the time of COVID-19.

Courtesy of Festival Mozaic

A popular, summertime Central Coast festival announced Thursday it is postponing until 2021. The management of another major SLO County event is taking a more wait-and-see approach on whether to go ahead as usual. Stay-at-home orders have laid waste to all planned concerts, festivals and events this spring, and now summertime ones are falling like dominoes—all triggered by the pandemic.

Many nonprofits are already feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic: increases in demand for services, health and safety concerns, and volunteer shortages. Canceled fundraising events, shutdowns and an economy in turmoil due to the crisis have led to a decrease in revenue. These effects are likely to continue for some time and may even worsen, while for many nonprofits, the needs of their clients continue to grow. How are local nonprofits meeting the demands? How will they survive when they are most needed? What resources are available to help?

Greta Mart/KCBX

18 San Luis Obispo County jail inmates have been released from custody without having to pay any bail, as of April 17. That’s due to a statewide effort to quickly reduce jail populations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But the number of inmates eligible for release is a small percentage of the jail's total population. 

SLO County

As part of the recent federal stimulus funding, Congress gave $10 billion dollars to the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is now tasked with dolling out that money to airports across the country to help them weather a near-shut down of air travel and commerce.

Current data as of today shows California has a reported 27,097 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 889 people have died from the virus, 101 yesterday alone. What is the latest on the pandemic across the state and locally? Have we flattened the curve? What is the availability of testing and care for those that are ill with the virus? Are our healthcare workers prepared? When can we expect a re-opening of the state? Our counties?

Captain Jason Sweeney California National Guard

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from the California National Guard base Camp San Luis Obispo, where he interviews San Luis Obispo County employees and National Guard members involved in food and medical supply warehousing and distribution to first responders and regional food banks.

As we transition back to the life we knew before the pandemic, how will we re-enter our world of daily tasks, business and social obligations? Elizabeth Barrett, the Reluctant Therapist, asks this question and encourages us to consider how much of our old life we want back.

SLO County

Animal shelters across the state are seeing a reduction in the number of dogs and cats in their kennels. Eric Anderson, the manager of San Luis Obispo County's Animal Services division, talks with KCBX via Zoom about the impact of the pandemic on animals in our community.

Thomas Wilmer

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (COES) and the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) are charged with coordinating emergency preparedness and response to natural disasters and threats to civil order, including cyber and terrorist attacks, fires, earthquakes, floods and pandemics such as the coronavirus. COES and CSTI maintain training facilities at the California National Guard base Camp San Luis Obispo. 

JM Jaffe

LGBTQ+ rights pioneer Phyllis Lyon died on April 9 at the age of 95. Lyon and her longterm partner Del Martin were the first California couple to get married after same-sex marriage become legal in the state in 2008, due to a ruling by the California Supreme Court.

The United States has lost 10% of its workforce as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Newest reports show that almost 17 million Americans filed jobless claims in the last three weeks. With the economy in a coma, small business owners and workers are struggling to find ways to survive. Are there ways for businesses to get help during the crisis? What are some innovative approaches that companies can use to stay afloat?

Join Elizabeth Barrett and her guest Ashlyn Hatch as they discuss ways to reduce stress. Many of us are dealing with isolation, sickness, a house full of family and the loss of jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Barrett and Hatch share their own experiences along with tips and advice.

Thomas Wilmer

Fort Hunter Liggett, in southern Monterey County, is America’s largest US Army Reserve training installation. It is also a remote community with specific actions being taken during the ongoing COVID 19 crisis. Associate Producer Carol Tangeman visits with Colonel Charles Bell, commander at Fort Hunter Liggett

KCBX's Greta Mart has a conversation with Mindbody CEO Rick Stollmeyer about that company's decision to layoff or furlough a third of its employees. We hear from Col. Charles Bell, commander of Fort Hunter Liggett, about how the rural base community is trying to protect itself from an outbreak of COVID-19. From our colleagues in the Central Valley, we get a feel for what it's like to work in a Fresno emergency room during the pandemic. Finally, KCBX correspondent Brian Reynolds has a conversation with first-time novelist Jessica Winters Mireles.

Wikimedia commons

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County has slowed in recent days, say county health officials, but they are urging people with symptoms to get tested.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer talks with wine producer Vic Roberts, owner of Victor Hugo Winery in Templeton, about transformations in the wine industry in response to COVID-19.

Greta Mart/KCBX

Mindbody is a health and wellness technology company headquartered in San Luis Obispo, with offices in Santa Maria and around the world. While the current stay-at-home situation may be good for some tech companies, like Zoom, for Mindbody this is not the case. On Thursday, the company announced it is laying off or furloughing thirty-five percent of its workforce. 

Shelter-in-place parenting has become a category of its own, an unprecedented experience that has even the most confident of caregivers struggling to meet the daily demands of their children. Elizabeth Barrett and her guest, therapist Megan Englert, discuss strategies for keeping it all together when we're not sure where we're going.

Flickr/Paul Hudson

4/2/20 UPDATE: On Thursday, California's governor signed an executive order directing a statewide moratorium on water shutoffs. 

Last year California’s homeless population climbed to 150,000, the most in the nation. Already communities have been struggling throughout the state to deal with this crisis. Now with the outbreak of COVID-19, there are fears that many in this vulnerable population could become infected with the virus. One projection suggests that up to 60,000 homeless in the state could become infected. How can you shelter-at-home when you have no home?

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