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Pop-up resource for low-income LGBTQ+ youth opens in Bell Gardens

“The opening of SELA’s LGBTQ youth resource center represents a beacon of hope for our future-we welcome our LGBTQ family to a safe haven”

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The opening of a pop-up resource center for LGBTQ+ youth in Bell Gardens (Photo Credit: Latino Equality Alliance)

BELL GARDENS, Ca. — Local community leaders and elected officials celebrated the opening of a pop-up resource center for LGBTQ+ youth in Bell Gardens in Southeastern Los Angeles County to commemorate National Coming Out Day and LGBTQ History Month.

Through a partnership between the Latino Equality Alliance (LEA) and the City of Bell Gardens, the center will provide support services and enrichment programming to LGBTQ+ youth in low-income neighborhoods that face disproportionately higher rates of unemployment and homelessness, said LEA Executive Director Eddie Martinez. 

The ceremony took place at the Community Family Services Center located in Bell Garden’s Veterans Park. The site will have activities like skill-building workshops, restorative justice support circles and cultural art activities.   

“As we recover from this pandemic, it is important that we support LGBTQ youth with resources that are easily accessible to them,” said Martinez. “Not being able to build community and support with your peers during a pandemic can add stress and anxiety to your life. We need to support the well-being of LGBTQ youth.” 

(Photo Credit: Latino Equality Alliance)

According to a survey conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the Trevor Project, over 40% of LGBTQ+ youth, including 56% of transgender and nonbinary youth, reported that COVID-19 impacted their ability to express their identity. 

The ceremony was attended by several elected officials, such as Bell Gardens Councilwoman Lisseth Flores and Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Middleton. 

“The grand opening of SELA’s LGBTQ youth resource center represents a beacon of hope for our future. It marks a cornerstone for all members of the LGBTQ community, out or not. Today we welcome our LGBTQ family to a safe haven,” said Flores.  

Middleton, a Bell Gardens native, gave a speech in which she stated she was transgender, a word she thought she would never be able to say in her hometown.

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Los Angeles County

Critics attack LA DA over complicated case involving Trans woman

The crime would sit unsolved until 2019 when her DNA was entered into a database after she was arrested in Idaho on suspicion of battery

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Screenshot: Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón being interviewed by KABC7 LA in April of 2021

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is facing sharp criticism over his policy to never prosecute children as adults after a 26-year-old Trans woman pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl when she was 17. But, according to Gascón, the nature of the case is complicated.

Hannah Tubbs was weeks shy of her 18th birthday when she walked into a Denny’s bathroom in Palmdale, grabbed a 10-year-old girl by the throat and sexually assaulted her, according to prosecutors. 

The crime would sit unsolved until 2019 when her DNA was entered into a database after she was arrested in Idaho on suspicion of battery, reported the Los Angeles Times. Prosecutors filed charges in 2020, shortly after Gascón took office. 

According to the paper, Tubbs, who pleaded guilty, might be sentenced to a short stay in juvenile hall or probation later this month. 

“I would ask the public to reach out to Mr. Gascon and express their concerns and their outrage on a matter such as this involving a sexual predator.”

Lt. Richard Ruiz of the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau

Critics of Gascón are expressing their frustration with the district attorney, saying Tubbs’ case highlights the problems with a blanket ban on not trying juveniles as adults. 

“It’s useless to catch criminals like [Tubbs] if we don’t follow through and seek justice for victims such as the 10-year-old girl [she] sexually assaulted. She bears the burden of a lifetime of trauma,” L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose district includes Palmdale, told the Times. “[She] will be offered therapeutic interventions under the auspices of ‘restorative justice’… and possibly granted only probation or parole. Where is the justice for [her] young victim and her family?”

Some critics are using the case as ammunition to fuel another recall effort of Gascón. The earlier attempt to recall the district attorney didn’t make it to a vote as proponents couldn’t collect enough signatures. 

However, Gascón has said that the case is complicated due to the years between the crime and Tubbs’ capture, as well as her criminal record and the impact on the victim. 

Tubbs has also been arrested for battery, drug possession and probation violations in Idaho and Washington, according to the paper. 

The victim, who did not want to testify on trial, has since moved from California and is still in therapy, said an impact statement read in court last month.

Gascón has also raised concerns about Tubbs’ becoming a victim herself if she was held in an adult facility because of her trans identity. A probation report recommended she be sentenced to home confinement, according to Gascón.

An email reviewed by the Times said Tubbs is diagnosed with multiple mental illnesses and might also qualify as “developmentally disabled.” These factors lead to legal questions about whether she can even be found responsible for the crime. 

In addition, at 26, Tubbs is too old to be legally held in a county juvenile detention facility, leading to more questions over Tubbs’ sentencing.

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Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County sets another daily record of 45,000 new COVID cases

The department also reported 13 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to 27,785 since the start of the pandemic

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – According to figures released by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Sunday, Public Health officials recorded 45,584 new cases amid the ongoing surge in infections driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

The department also reported 13 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to 27,785 since the start of the pandemic. In all, nearly 2 million people in the county have been infected with the virus. There are 3,364 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 and more than 10,317,000 individuals tested; 18% of people tested positive to date.

The updated numbers from the county underscored anew how the spread of the virus has exploded with the arrival of the Omicron variant. With an average of nearly 115,000 people being tested each day over the last seven days, more than 20% of people are testing positive for the virus, the county said. On Saturday, officials said the county had tallied more than 200,000 new cases over the previous seven days — the highest one-week total of the pandemic.

Los Angeles Unified School District is returning to in-person instruction Tuesday and all students must receive a negative test before they come back to campus.

Los Angeles Unified School District is returning to in-person instruction Tuesday and all students must receive a negative test before they come back to campus. Regardless of vaccination status, children and school district employees will have to prove they’re not infected with COVID-19.

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Los Angeles County

Surge becomes a Tsunami; 200,000 confirmed COVID cases in 7 Days

 “We ask residents and businesses to continue following the public health safety measures that we know reduce spread & keep people safe”

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Graphic courtesy of UCLA Research Administration

LOS ANGELES – LA County continues seeing high rates of transmission with more than 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past 7 days, the highest numbers of cases in one week since the beginning of the pandemic.

Hospitalizations have also doubled in one week to 3,200 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and over 20% of those getting tested are positive for COVID-19. Health officials are pointing out that it’s important to note that although the case counts are higher than last winter’s peak, when L.A. County was recording about 16,000 new coronavirus cases a day, many people are becoming less severely ill due to the milder effects of the Omicron variant.

The exceptions are most notably those people who hare unvaccinated, and especially children and those with severe health issues. As the highly-contagious omicron variant sweeps across the world, threatening once again to overwhelm hospitals and already-exhausted health care staff, medical staff are prepping for yet another damaging battle, Stars and Stripes noted.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is urging residents to upgrade their masks to medical grade masks that do a better job at blocking COVID-19 virus particles and to reconsider attending higher-risk activities, including indoor activities where individuals are unmasked for long periods of time, as well as crowded outdoor events.

 “As the surge continues, we ask residents and businesses to continue following the public health safety measures that we know reduce spread and keep people safe,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health. “This includes wearing a medical grade mask that is more protective against the Omicron variant and not spending time around others who are unmasked. These upgraded masks can be a surgical mask or an N95 or KN95 respirator mask.”

On Saturday, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a proposed $2.7 billion COVID-19 Emergency Response Package – including a $1.4 billion emergency appropriation request – to bolster testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support frontline workers, strengthen the health care system and battle misinformation.

The Governor’s budget also calls for new legislation to implement supplemental paid sick leave policies given the current situation being driven by the Omicron variant to better protect our frontline workers. 

“From day one, California has taken swift and direct action to battle COVID-19 with policies that have saved tens of thousands of lives, but there’s more work to be done,” said Newsom. “Our proposed COVID-19 Emergency Response Package will support our testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support frontline workers and health care systems and battle misinformation, with a focus on the hardest-hit communities.”

Governor Newsom’s overall package includes: 

$1.2 BILLION: BOLSTER TESTING

  • Expand hours and capacity at testing sites throughout the state to help slow the spread.
  • Distribute millions of COVID-19 antigen tests to local health departments, community clinics and county offices of education and schools. This is critical to the state’s operational readiness and continued efforts to combat COVID-19, and it includes a $1.4 billion emergency appropriation request to the Legislature for California’s immediate needs.
  • Supporting the state’s testing facilities, including specimen collection and expanding capacity in order to meet demand.
  • Supporting state departments in testing their staff and congregate populations

$583 MILLION: GET MORE CALIFORNIANS VACCINATED & BOOSTED, COMBAT MISINFORMATION

  • Continue the “Vaccinate all 58” public education campaign to provide reliable information and build vaccine confidence while combating misinformation, all of which is in partnership with 250 ethnic media outlets.
  • Continue a robust community outreach and direct appointment assistance campaign by conducting door-to-door canvassing, phone banking and texting with over 700 CBOs and community partners in partnership with philanthropy.
  • In-home vaccination and testing programs to meet Californians where they’re at.
  • Provide free transportation to vaccination appointments throughout the state to help get more Californians vaccinated and boosted.

$614 MILLION: SUPPORT OUR FRONTLINE WORKERS AND HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS

  • Support and distribution of critical personnel resources for health care systems to help protect frontline workers, patient care and hospital surge capacity as well as additional staffing for vaccination sites.

$200 MILLION: SUPPORT STATE RESPONSE OPERATIONS

  • Resources to enhance the state’s emergency response and public health capacities, including staffing and information technology at California Department of Public Health, Office of Emergency Services and Emergency Medical Services Authority.

$110 MILLION: SUPPORT VULNERABLE POPULATIONS AND BOLSTER CONTACT TRACING EFFORTS

  • Increased public health and humanitarian efforts at the California-Mexico border to keep migrants safe, including vaccinations, testing and isolation and quarantine services.
  • Expanded statewide contact tracing activities to help keep Californians safe and slow the spread.

On Friday Newsom activated the California National Guard to support local communities with additional testing facilities and capacity amid the national surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant. 

This new action is on top of the existing 6,000 testing sites that have been set up across the state, the recent demand-based expansion of hours at state-operated sites and the 9.6 million tests that the state has distributed to schools since early December. 

California National Guard personnel arrive at Antioch Community Center testing site Friday
(Photo Credit: California National Guard)

The announcement comes as Omicron continues to spread rapidly across the globe, accounting for at least 80% of COVID-19 cases in California. The National Guard plan will deploy over 200 Cal Guard members across 50 Optum Serve sites around the state, providing interim clinical staff while permanent staff are hired, adding capacity for walk-ins, assisting with crowd control and back-filling for staff absences – all in an effort to conduct more tests for more Californians. Additional members of the Guard will be deployed next week in similar capacities. 

These measures will bolster California’s already robust testing program – the most extensive in the nation. Currently, 90% of Californians live within a 30-minute drive of a site. Amidst the surge, the state has been able to maintain a 48-hour turn around for PCR tests.

To date, California has administered almost 67 million vaccination doses and over 122.7 million tests.

The Los Angeles Times reported that L.A. County recorded 43,712 new coronavirus cases on Friday – the highest single-day total of the pandemic. The previous record, 37,215, came Thursday. Those numbers are well above the average daily peak last winter, when L.A. County was recording about 16,000 new coronavirus cases a day.

Across California, emergency rooms are coming under strain as they contend with both the rising case numbers and people seeking coronavirus tests – all as their workers are increasingly being stricken by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

On Saturday morning The New York Times reported that the pace of daily new infections of the coronavirus has nearly doubled in the past week, surpassing two million known cases a day, underscoring just how quickly the Omicron variant has spread around the world.

On April 25 last year, the global average hit a high of more than 827,000 cases, a level that has been surpassed on each of the last 12 days as the world’s case curve charts a nearly vertical rise.

Health authorities around the world reported 2.1 million cases on average in the past seven days, nearly three times the amount two weeks ago, according to a New York Times database. The latest wave of cases has been driven by outbreaks in the United States and Europe, where the Omicron variant has become dominant.

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Hospitals Pushed To The Brink With Covid Cases On The Rise:

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