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Sonoma County child care advocates eye new local sales tax measure

in Health
Teacher Alondra Ortega, second from right, comforts Leonardo Ramirez, 4, while the other students seek safety on a table while playing Òhot lavaÓ at the North Bay ChildrenÕs Center in Healdsburg on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat

Years of wildfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic have raised the obstacles facing Sonoma County’s dwindling child care providers, but a new political coalition is aiming to boost the shorthanded network via a new tax measure.

Our Kids Our Future, a Santa Rosa-based campaign that formed in July 2021, is leading a push to put a quarter-cent, countywide sales tax on the ballot in November.

Revenue from the tax, which the group projects to be $22 million annually, will go towards easing access to child care and child health care, both critical issues well before the pandemic.

“The need is pretty universal, it doesn’t matter if you have kids or not,” said Ananda Sweet, Our Kids Our Future’s board president. “Even if you can afford child care, child care is still really hard to find, there’s an access issue.”

The county has 490 operating child care facilities, down 21% from before the pandemic. It has lost 52% of available child care slots, however, since March 2020, according to Melanie Dodson, executive director at the Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County (4Cs), a nonprofit that offers early childhood services for families and tracks local industry data.

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

COVID: Vaccine Mandate Protesters Disrupt Healdsburg Council Meeting, Force Members To Meet Virtually

in People

HEALDSBURG (BCN) – The Healdsburg City Council was forced to hold its meeting virtually Monday after a group of protesters against COVID-19 vaccination requirements entered the council’s chambers.

The crowd of protesters banged on thewindows of Healdsburg City Hall prior to entering the chambers, at which point city officials decided to hold the meeting virtually in the interest of security.

Continue Reading on CBS

How To Get An Affordable Flu Shot In California

in Health

With the start of fall, flu season has officially arrived. Up to 20 percent of Americans come down with the flu each year with varying symptoms. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to help protect yourself against this contagious respiratory illness. One way to lessen your chances of contracting a serious case of the flu is by getting the flu vaccine (also known as the flu shot).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccine for those 6 months and older, with few exceptions such as those with allergies to the ingredients in the vaccine or the vaccine itself. The flu shot works by giving your body the chance to build up an immune response against the flu virus by producing antibodies.

Continue reading on Patch

Relaxed state guidelines for classroom spacing likely won’t have an immediate effect

in Schools

Relaxed state guidelines issued Saturday for California schools could mean some primary grades are back to full-time, in-person instruction before this academic year is out, Sonoma County Schools Superintendent Steve Herrington said.

That’s because the state has decided to align with guidance issued Friday by federal health officials, who now say masked students can sit safely 3 feet apart in class rather than 6 feet, the earlier recommended distance.

For California public school primary students, whose classes should be no larger than 24 students anyway, more proximal seating may allow entire classes to return at once, forgoing the divided cohorts that had been needed to allow for widely spaced students, Herrington said.

But it will still be several days before county and school officials have talked through the state’s weekend announcement and county Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase tailors recommendation for local schools, Herrington and others said Saturday.

Continue Reading on Sonoma News

Months after fighting coronavirus, some now face heart, lung or neurological problems

in People
Daisy Martinez, a nurse at Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina, poses for a photo outside of the Marriott Hotel in Monrovia as she clutches her incentive spirometer which she uses every day to help heal her lungs after being hospitalized with COVID-19 in September, on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. Martinez, who has been living at the hotel to keep her family safe as she continues to care for COVID patients, still feels the effects of the virus, which include diminished lung function and forgetfulness. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

Daisy Martinez did her best to avoid the coronavirus.

“Everyone was kind of shocked when I came down with it, because I was so protected. I always wore the PPE, washing my hands,” said Martinez, 56. “I was always doing the extra.”

But she caught the virus, as have millions of other Californians. And, like potentially hundreds of thousands of Californians, it’s with her still months later.

A registered nurse at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in West Covina, Martinez spent three months in a hotel after the coronavirus pandemic hit California to avoid bringing home the virus. Four months after she returned at her family’s request, Martinez was infected with COVID-19.

“The (chest) X-rays are scary,” she said. “It looks like ground glass. That’s COVID.”

She was only hospitalized three days at Keck Hospital of USC. But almost four months later, Martinez still hasn’t fully recovered.

Continue Reading on Mercury News

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