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Monday, January 24, 2022

Lawmaker Announces Bill to Close “Personal Belief Exemptions” for Student Vaccinations

Lawmaker Announces Bill to Close “Personal Belief Exemptions” for Student Vaccinations

CITY NEWS SERVICE

A state lawmaker said he wants to ensure that all school students in Los Angeles and throughout the state are vaccinated against COVID-19, and to do that, he announced a proposal Monday to eliminate personal belief exemptions and expand upon a state vaccine mandate.

“We have an opportunity here to keep kids safe,” Sen. Richard Pan (D- Sacramento) said during a California Medical Association news conference at Arleta High School in the San Fernando Valley, where the legislator and pediatrician announced details of the Keep Schools Open and Safe Act.

“As a pediatrician, parent and legislator, I am committed to giving the public confidence and certainty that we are working to prevent or slow down the next coronavirus surge,” Pan said. “Legislators have the ability to pass laws to make our communities safe, including increasing vaccination rates to keep schools open and safe.”

Under state law, personal belief exemptions must be allowed for any newly required childhood vaccine unless the legislature passes a law banning them.

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Friday, January 21, 2022

Unemployment Rate Dips in LA County in December

Unemployment Rate Dips in LA County in December

CITY NEWS SERVICE

Los Angeles County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 8.4% in December, down from a revised 8.9% in November, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.

The December unemployment rate was down from 12.6% in December 2020.

In Orange County, where seasonally adjusted numbers were not available, the December unemployment rate was 3.7%, down from 4.1% in November.

California’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.5% in December, down from 7% in November but below the 9.3% rate from December 2020. The comparable rates for the nation were 3.9% in December, 4.2% in November and 6.7% a year earlier.

Los Angeles County’s total nonfarm employment between November and December increased by 22,000 jobs to reach nearly 4.4 million, its highest level since March 2020. The trade, transportation and utilities sector led the way by adding 8,800 jobs.

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Saturday, January 15, 2022

LA County Reports Another 40,000-Plus COVID Cases; Hospital Number Up Again

LA County Reports Another 40,000-Plus COVID Cases; Hospital Number Up Again

CITY NEWS SERVICE

Another 40,000-plus cases of COVID-19 were reported in Los Angeles County Friday as the easily transmitted Omicron variant of the virus continued to make its impact felt, particularly in hospitals, where patient numbers continue to rise.

According to state figures, there were 4,257 COVID-positive people in county hospitals as of Friday, up from 4,175 on Thursday. A total of 600 of those patients were being treated in intensive care, up from 586 a day earlier.

County Department of Public Health officials said the 600 patients represents nearly 25% of all ICU patients in the county, topping the rate seen during the recent COVID infection surge caused by the previous Delta variant. During that summer surge, COVID patients only represented 20% of overall ICU patients.

As of Friday, more than 80% of all adult ICU beds in the county were occupied, according to the county.

Overall COVID patient numbers are still well below those seen last winter,

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Friday, January 14, 2022

As With Pasadena, The 2022 Los Angeles County Homeless Count is Postponed

As With Pasadena, The 2022 Los Angeles County Homeless Count is Postponed

CITY NEWS SERVICE

A day after Pasadena announced it will delay its annual homeless count due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority announced Friday that it will follow suit and postpone homeless tally taking by one month, to Feb. 22-24.

The effort, known as the point-in-time count or Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, is essential to understanding how large the region’s homelessness crisis has become. The count must be conducted by Continuum of Care providers to receive federal funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

During the three-day count, Los Angeles County will be divided and:

• the San Gabriel and San Fernando valley counts will take place on Feb. 22;

• the West L.A., Southeast L.A. and South Bay counts will take place on Feb. 23; and

• the Antelope Valley, Metro L.A. and South L.A. counts will take place on Feb. 24.

“While we work to ensure an accurate Homeless Count,

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Thursday, January 13, 2022

Sheriff Says LA County Homicides, Auto Thefts Spiked During Pandemic

Sheriff Says LA County Homicides, Auto Thefts Spiked During Pandemic

CITY NEWS SERVICE

 

Homicides and auto thefts spiked from 2019 to 2021 in areas policed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Wednesday during a virtual town hall meeting.

The LASD provides law enforcement to the Metro trains and buses in Pasadena, to the county portion of East Pasadena, and to all of Altadena.

Villanueva presented year-end statistics for 2021 but said it was too early to draw any conclusions about trends in the first 12 days of 2022.

“Because we’re only two weeks into the first year, statistically it’s going to be all over the map,” the sheriff said.

Department data for the year ending Dec. 31, 2021 showed “a two-year jump — this is comparing 2019 to 2021 — that was a 94.24% increase in homicides, huge number,” Villanueva said. “A 64.88% increase in grand theft auto. That’s the bad news.

In 2019, there were 145 homicides recorded in the county,

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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Report: One-Third of Asians Polled in San Gabriel Valley Have Experienced Hate Incident

Report: One-Third of Asians Polled in San Gabriel Valley Have Experienced Hate Incident

CITY NEWS SERVICE

A survey of some 300 Asians and Asian-Americans living in the San Gabriel Valley found that nearly one-third reported experiencing a hate incident since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The Asian Youth Center and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles released results from their “Stop Hate Survey,” which polled Asian and Asian-American residents in one of the largest Asian communities in the country.

The survey found that 31% of respondents said they or their family experienced a hate incident based on their race or ethnicity since the pandemic broke out in 2020 — with most incidents involving insults or verbal abuse.

In addition, the report found:

• 37% of respondents said they noticed an increase in racial discrimination or harassment in their community since the COVID-19 outbreak;

• 59% said they have changed the way they feel and behave when they leave home; and

• 49% of parent respondents reported they have concerns about their children returning to school as a result of anti-Asian hate and bullying.

Read More »

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

LA County’s COVID Hospitalizations Surpass 3,900

LA County’s COVID Hospitalizations Surpass 3,900

CITY NEWS SERVICE

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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Supervisor Barger Calls for Crackdown on COVID-19 Testing Fraud and Identity Theft

Supervisor Barger Calls for Crackdown on COVID-19 Testing Fraud and Identity Theft

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger called for several County departments, including the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Health Services, the Sheriff’s Department and several others, to work together to develop a robust plan to mitigate COVID-19 testing fraud in L.A. County.

“As the urgent need for testing reaches a crucial point, it is imperative that we ensure residents can be confident they are receiving an accurate and legitimate test without risking their private information,” Supervisor Barger said in a prepared statement. “We must do all we can to crack down on fraudulent COVID-19 tests and sites and prevent identity theft.”

As a result of Supervisor Barger’s read-in motion at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, several County departments will perform an analysis of the risk of fraudulent COVID-19 test sites and home test kits and develop an enforcement plan to eradicate them. They will also identify additional resources to combat identity theft committed by illegitimate testing providers.

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Friday, January 7, 2022

Oscar-Winning Actor and Former Altadena Resident Sidney Poitier Dies at 94

Oscar-Winning Actor and Former Altadena Resident Sidney Poitier Dies at 94

CITY NEWS SERVICE

Sidney Poitier, who won an Academy Award for best actor for his role in “Lilies of the Field” in 1963, has died, according to a report from the Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs and various media outlets. He was 94.

Poitier resided in Altadena at one time, according to the Altadena Historical Society.

Poitier was known as an activist who broke color barriers in the movie industry and entertainment. He was the first Black performer to win an Oscar for Best Actor.

The cause of death or where he died was not revealed.

Some of Poitier’s more notable roles were as Mark Thackeray in “To Sir With Love,” Detective Virgil Tibbs in “The Heat of the Night” in 1967, and in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” also released in 1967.

He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by President Barak Obama.

From 1997 to 2007,

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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

COVID Spike Spurs LA’s Presiding Judge to Authorize Delay in Criminal Trials

COVID Spike Spurs LA’s Presiding Judge to Authorize Delay in Criminal Trials

CITY NEWS SERVICE

Citing a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, Los Angeles County’s presiding judge issued an emergency order Tuesday that authorizes criminal jury trials to be temporarily delayed.

The emergency order — the first since last October that involves criminal cases — applies to criminal jury trials with statutory deadlines between Wednesday and Jan. 19, and extends the time period to hold criminal trials “by not more than 30 days.”

It was the second announcement of the day regarding court proceedings and COVID protocols. Earlier Tuesday, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California suspended jury trials within the region’s federal courthouses for at least three weeks. Central District courthouses are located in Los Angeles, Riverside, Pasadena and Santa Ana.

“Los Angeles County’s current COVID numbers warrant this relief, and I have elected to utilize this authority sparingly as we closely monitor the impact of the dual variants on our court users, judicial officers,

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