I’m Winston Gieseke, philanthropy and specialty department editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, giving you the latest headlines this Monday in the middle of the month.
In California, you get the best Golden State stories and comments from the entire U.S. TODAY Network and beyond. Get it for free, directly to your inbox.
New COVID-19 cases crash in California
California reported fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, addition of 67,859 new cases. That is 27.6% lower than the previous week’s toll on 93,718 new cases.
According to a U.S. TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data, California ranks 25th among the states with the fastest spread of coronavirus per capita. Person. Last week, the United States added 632,914 reported cases of coronavirus, down 22.9% from the week before.
In the Golden State, cases fell in 47 counties with the steepest falls in the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego. The worst weekly outbreaks per. Person was in the counties of Kern, Colusa and Inyo.
In California, 2,902 people were reported killed by COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the previous week, 3,227 people were reported dead.
A total of 3,485,841 people in California have tested positive for coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 47,057 people have died from the disease. In the United States, 27,640,282 people tested positive and 485,336 people died.
California’s new $ 15 million Contract with Blue Shield
The Sacramento Bee reports that Californians could pay Blue Shield up to $ 15 million to increase and accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations under a contract released by the Newsom administration on Monday afternoon.
Monday marks the insurance company’s first day of work in its position as California’s official “third-party administrator” for vaccine distribution.
While the contract allows Blue Shield to bill the state up to $ 15 million in third-party costs and non-staff costs, staff time will be provided free of charge.
The contract also sets the following vaccination targets:
- 95% of the city’s residents do not have to travel more than half an hour to reach a distribution point. Rural residents should not travel more than an hour.
- Vaccines must be made available to people who cannot leave their homes in all 58 counties.
- 95% of vaccine doses must be administered within one week of receipt.
- California should be able to distribute 3 million vaccines a week by March 1 and 4 million a week by April 30, if supplies allow.
Low attendance in kindergarten creates problem for first graders
Because the coronavirus pandemic kept children out of school most of 2020, there are thousands of California students who are “ready” for first grade even though they did not go to kindergarten. Officials believe this will place even more emphasis on an already stressed education system.
San Francisco Chronicle reports that while California is one of 32 states that does not require a child to go to kindergarten to qualify for first grade, experts have become taller about the problems of missing out on this typical approach to school learning. They say that children who skip kindergarten arrive in first class behind their peers in important areas such as reading.
According to Gennie Gorback, elected president of the California Kindergarten Association, children who have never been in an organized educational setting need kindergarten to learn to “go to school”: “Things like sitting cross-legged, raising their hands “to get called on or form a line. You obviously do not know, it takes time,” she said.
“This early learning window is so important for learning critical skills,” said Jenny Hontz, a parent and spokeswoman for Speak Up, a Los Angeles parent-lawyer group. “It can take years for the kids to catch up, and some kids can be permanently harmed by this.”
Meanwhile, State Senate Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park in Los Angeles County, is behind a bill currently in Sacramento that, if passed, would make kindergarten mandatory in California.
California to remove juvenile prisons
It is 80 years since Golden State set up juvenile prisons to prevent teens from being jailed with adults. But now the state says it plans to close the troubled, isolated youth facilities in favor of local rehabilitation centers.
The Los Angeles Times reports the planned dismantling of the Division of Juvenile Justice comes after years of scandal and mistreatment of young offenders. In July, the three preserved facilities – two in Stockton and one in Ventura – will stop taking new prisoners with rare exceptions, and in July 2023 they are expected to close.
This will shift the responsibility for youth justice from state authorities to local ones. And while some counties, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have announced they will lock fewer young people convicted of crimes, officials have not yet decided what to do with teens convicted of murder and other serious offenses. crimes.
Meanwhile, the state has pledged more than $ 200 million a year to help local governments pay for housing and take care of those who would have previously ended up in DJJ’s prisons.
Claudia Conway auditions for ‘American Idol’
ABC’s singing competition returned Sunday night with a premiere that saw Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie back in (socially distant) judge seats. But they were not the only familiar faces.
Claudia Conway, the 16-year-old daughter of former White House counsel Kellyanne Conway and attorney George Conway, walked into the “Idol” room hoping to score a prized golden ticket to Hollywood.
Conway currently has more than 1.7 million followers on TikTok and has made national headlines for publishing videos on the site critical of former President Donald Trump.
Conway’s first song got off to a bad start, but after a pep talk from Perry, the youngster showed hopeful improvement in his second song.
When it was time to vote, Bryan was a no, but Perry and Richie were both yesses, meaning unless there are alternative facts that we are not aware of, Conway earned himself a spot in the next round.
In California is a summary of news from across the USA Today network editors. Also contributing: Los Angeles Times, The Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle. We’re back in your inbox tomorrow with the latest headlines.
As a philanthropist and editor of special departments in The Desert Sun, Winston Gieseke writes about nonprofits, fundraising, and people giving back in the Coachella Valley. Well he knows [email protected].
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