I’m Winston Gieseke, philanthropy and special sections editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, from a cabin in the beautiful Idyllwild woods. Here are some of today’s Golden State titles.
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Beware of California COVID Vaccine Lottery Scammers
Golden State officials are warning people of scams linked to California’s $ 116.5 million COVID-19 vaccine incentive lottery.
Last week, the top 15 winners were announced by Governor Gavin Newsom. Each will receive $ 50,000. To protect the privacy of individuals, only their counties of residence have been disclosed to the public. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) was to notify each winner.
On Monday, however, members of the public reported receiving messages from crooks claiming to be state officials. Some would have been asked to provide banking information while others would have had to pay a fee in order to verify their eligibility.
Authorities say these claims are bogus. The California Department of Public Health is asking Californians to be aware and promptly report any indication of fraudulent activity or other possible questionable activity by individuals attempting to take advantage of recently announced COVID-19 vaccination incentive programs. by the state, ”the agency said via press release.
KTLA 5 advises that people receiving fraudulent messages related to the Immunization Incentive Program should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the “Vax for the Win” helpline at (833 ) 993-3873.
Fifteen more winners of $ 50,000 will be announced on Friday. And the final draw on June 15 will net 10 lucky winners $ 1.5 million each.
California regulators review worker mask standard
Californians vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to do without face masks in most situations starting next week, state officials confirmed on Wednesday. The LA Times reported that the change would take effect Tuesday – the long-awaited date for the state’s “full reopening” – and finally align the Golden State with the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But workplace rules were still a bit in limbo Wednesday night. California workplace regulators were to once again reconsider the controversial masking rules designed to protect employees from the coronavirus.
The Associated Press reported that a “special meeting” of the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board was hastily scheduled for Wednesday evening after state health official Dr Tomás Aragón sent a letter to the panel reiterating the state’s plans to follow federal guidelines.
Aragón said the state would remove virtually all social distancing requirements and drop the mask requirement for those vaccinated while “requiring face coverings for all unvaccinated people in indoor public places and businesses.”
This policy conflicts with the board vote last week to allow workers to wear masks only if every employee in a room is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, a dozen business groups, including the California Retailers Association and organizations representing manufacturers, farmers, tourism interests, and other industries, sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom asking him to immediately issue a emergency ordinance repealing the board’s regulations, called Emergency Temporary Standards. (ETS) and bring state workplaces into compliance with federal guidelines.
Without such action, the groups said the state’s economy would not fully reopen next week, as Newsom said.
San Francisco could be the first major U.S. city to achieve collective immunity
San Francisco is reportedly on the verge of reaching a COVID-19 benchmark of 70% of eligible residents fully vaccinated. Does that mean it will become the first city in the United States to achieve collective immunity?
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that although the definition of collective immunity varies, most agree that for a virus to stop spreading, at least 70% of the population must be immunized. And on Wednesday, 69% of San Francisco residents are said to be fully immunized, with 79% of people 12 and older having received at least one dose.
What does this mean exactly? This means that coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths would be considered to be at insignificant levels. And if an unvaccinated person came forward infected, it probably wouldn’t cause an out-of-control outbreak.
Is collective immunity in San Francisco possible? Dr Monica Gandhi, infectious disease expert at UCSF, thinks so.
“I think we are on the way to being the first city to achieve collective immunity,” she said. “This has happened in Israel, which has now fully reopened after an 81% first vaccination rate and still does not see an increase in cases despite the free mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated. Our high levels of immunity mean that we are not susceptible to new infections, even while traveling here. “
Elsewhere in San Francisco, the owner of Ritual Coffee, a popular cafe, fired her own husband for using a racial slur at work.
Eileen Rinaldi has said her husband John “Chicken John” Rinaldi, who unsuccessfully ran for town hall against Gavin Newsom in 2007, would no longer be involved in the business in any capacity.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Chicken John admitted to using the insult during an argument with a black man over a parking space, but says he simply repeated the offending word after the man l used first. Read the full article here.
Sex offender released after waiting 17 years to be tried is re-arrested
Registered sex offender who was released after a judge said his right to a speedy trial was violated by a 17-year delay – yes you read that right – has been charged with sexually abusing two children in the Central Valley of California.
In 1994, Jorge Vasquez was sentenced to 12 years in prison after making an indisputable plea to assaulting four boys aged 6 to 8, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing court records.
In 2000, Los Angeles County prosecutors sought to have him incarcerated indefinitely in a public hospital as a sexually violent predator. But Vasquez was never given a trial date, as five different public defenders assigned over a 17-year period each requested a postponement of the trial.
In 2018, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Bianco allowed a motion to dismiss the case against Vasquez, ruling that his constitutional right to a speedy trial had been violated, according to the Times.
Less than six months after being released from Coalinga State Hospital, Vasquez abused another child, Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said. Vasquez was charged with eight counts of pedophilia for allegedly fondling two boys between June 2018 and this week, according to a criminal complaint made public on Tuesday.
He was arrested Sunday by police in the town of Porterville in the San Joaquin Valley and could face life in prison if convicted.
In California is a roundup of news from the USA Today Network newsrooms. Also contributing: Associated Press, KTLA 5, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle. We’ll be back to your inbox tomorrow with the latest headlines.
As the philanthropy and special sections editor of The Desert Sun, Winston Gieseke writes about nonprofits, fundraising, and people giving in the Coachella Valley. Contact him at email@example.com.