First published in the Jan. 13 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
The latest chapter of the coronavirus pandemic — currently driven by the Omicron variant raging throughout the nation — has local hospitals feeling the pressure of its surge.
Although this variant is spreading at a much more rapid clip than prior ones, it is — so far — not filling intensive care beds at nearly the same rate as last winter’s surge which frequently put Los Angeles County at a zero-percent ICU availability. However, the sheer number of people becoming infected is beginning to stress emergency rooms. Continue reading “Local Hospitals Battle COVID Surge, Strained ERs”
First published in the Nov. 20 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
As California continues its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic largely resulting from having a majority of its population vaccinated against the disease, people are reverting back to normalcy.
A return to holiday traditions was evident on Halloween with more trick-or-treaters out on the streets and with more gatherings planned during the Thanksgiving holiday. Though COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are lower in California compared with the previous year, health and government officials still worry about the possibility of a winter surge similar to 2020. Continue reading “Officials Seek to Prevent Winter COVID Surge”
First published in the Oct. 28 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
The coronavirus pandemic has posed numerous challenges to students and educators throughout the nation since March 2020, and now the La Cañada Unified School District has made it a priority to begin the recovery process.
The district Governing Board this week unanimously approved Superintendent Wendy Sinnette’s goals for the 2021-22 academic year, two of which focus on helping students continue to make the transition from remote and hybrid learning to regular in-person instruction. Continue reading “LCUSD Goal: Helping Students Catch Up After Distance Learning”
When Bob Frutos was appointed by his peers on the City Council to become Burbank’s mayor in December, he immediately identified what he called the city’s most important issue: the economy. Like other governments on every level, Burbank is reeling from the impacts of a pandemic that is surging to record levels. City officials have credited financially conservative policies for somewhat cushioning the economic blow of reduced tax revenue, but the General Fund is projected to reach a deficit by the end of fiscal year 2022 unless new measures are taken. The financial pain is perhaps felt even more acutely by Burbank’s employees and small business owners, as shops close their doors for good and thousands of local workers remain unemployed. But since Burbank is subject to the health orders of L.A. County and the state of California, Frutos is faced with a dilemma. He knows the local economy needs to be helped and people allowed to return to work — but how? “People look at us at the local level wanting their local elected officials to go against the state or the county,” he said. “The local government is really in a tough position because there’s nothing that we can do.”
Now, especially, is the time to make sure you get your flu shot, according to local experts.
It’s not likely that you’ll find a doctor who won’t urge a patient to get an annual flu shot in a normal year, mind you. However, the world has even more reason to keep hospital beds open at the moment because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Any way that we can prevent any kind of respiratory illness is important,” said Patricia Sung, manager of infection prevention at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. “Even under normal circumstances, it’s pretty important to get the flu shot.” Continue reading “Flu Shots More Important This Year, Health Experts Say”
“I’m going to do everything that I can in the next couple of weeks to keep us afloat. But I don’t see us going much longer.” That’s what Chris Applegate remembers telling his employees this summer. Despite the economic weight the coronavirus pandemic had dropped on his restaurant, the Backstage Cafe, he had hoped that it would have “one great day” that would get it through the week, and then another that would get it through the next week. “But,” he said in a phone interview, “in the end, it just didn’t happen.”
If the people can’t come to the city’s support program, the program will go to the people.
The Burbank Volunteer Program started a group dedicated to supporting older adults and people with mobility challenges a few years ago, long before the coronavirus pandemic took hold and effectively kept anyone at risk for health complications from the disease completely quarantined.
Now that group, Project Hope, has further embodied its name by offering — at no charge — to do essential errands like grocery shopping and prescription refill pickup through a small army of volunteers, who’ve also extended companionship to those who’ve had to self-isolate, especially those who live alone. Continue reading “Project Hope Offers Relief, Reassurance to Vulnerable Residents”
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many educators to pivot in their teaching methods and be even more creative in reaching and supporting students. In the midst of what has been a chaotic experience for many, the Pasadena Unified School District has announced some news that shines a light on the unwavering commitment that CIS Academy teacher, Gareth Siegel, displays every day. For his efforts, Siegel has been nominated for the esteemed Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award.
This prestigious honor is “in recognition of your impact as an educator, leader and role model,” according to the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). Continue reading “CIS Academy Teacher Nominated for Prestigious Educator Award”