A roundup of the biggest news stories in California this week, including a wildfire update, coronavirus news and the latest from Sacramento.
Glass Fire Devastates Napa Valley and Sonoma County
The Glass Fire, which started burning on September 27th, has burned over 60,000 acres in Napa and Sonoma counties. It is currently 6% contained, and the cause is still under investigation. Cal Fire reports that 110 structures have been damaged and 589 destroyed, and tens of thousands of residents have evacuated.
More than a dozen Napa-area wineries have sustained damage or been destroyed. A well-known landmark on the Silverado Trail, the Chateau Boswell Winery, was destroyed along with its wine collection dating to 1979. The stone chateau’s façade is all that remains of the family-owned winery. Another notable institution, The Restaurant at Meadowood, was also destroyed. Under head chef Christopher Kostow, the restaurant held three Michelin Stars for nine consecutive years. It was part of the luxury Meadowood Napa Valley resort, much of which was saved by the efforts of firefighters, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Want to help? Visit Napa Valley suggests buying Napa Valley wine. You can also donate to the Napa Valley Community Foundation, which assists those affected by disasters in the community.
Statewide Wildfire Update:
Approximately 17,000 firefighters are battling 23 major wildfires in California. More than 53,000 residents have evacuated statewide. Fatalities this year have risen to 31, and close to 8,000 structures have been destroyed. A slight cooling trend is forecast later in the weekend or early next week, according to Cal Fire.
Governor Newsom Signs Criminal Justice Reform Package
On September 30th, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a series of criminal justice reform bills into law, including juvenile justice and policing reforms. Two of those bills end the use of the carotid restraint: AB 1196 bans the practice in California, and AB 1506 requires the Attorney General to investigate all lethal officer-involved shootings of unarmed individuals.
The Governor signed several bills reforming juvenile justice. SB 203 requires that children under 17 have the option to consult with legal counsel before interrogation. SB 1290 cancels certain fees assessed on juvenile offenders and their families, and AB 901 ends the practice of referring children who are having problems at school to probation programs.
Governor Signs Landmark Transgender Health Care Bill
Last Saturday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 2218 by Assembly member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). The bill provides medical and supportive services for transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex people (TGI) by establishing the Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund.
“This is a critical measure for our transgender community and I thank Governor Newsom for his steadfast leadership in signing AB 2218,” said Assembly member Miguel Santiago. “California’s TGI community has long faced obstacles in receiving safe, non-discriminatory, comprehensive care, and Covid-19 has exacerbated these existing health care disparities. This bill will help create programs where TGI-identified people can receive safe, competent, and inclusive health care and other social services.”
Governor Newsom also signed SB 132 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). The law requires the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to house transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex people in a manner that matches their self-reported gender identity.
In recognition of the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black, Latino and Pacific Islander communities, as well as essential workers and low-income Californians, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has launched a new health equity metric. The metric is designed to guide counties in their efforts to fight the virus and to more effectively prevent the spread and save lives. Counties will now need to meet an equity metric or demonstrate targeted investments to eliminate disparities before advancing to the next tier.
The Latest Statistics:
As of today, California has recorded 817,277 cases of Covid-19, with 15,986 fatalities. There were 3,590 newly confirmed cases on Thursday. The seven-day positivity rate is 2.8% and the 14-day positivity rate is 2.8%.
(See last week’s News Roundup to compare the stats)
Go to covid19.ca.gov to find out the latest Covid-19 statistics in your county.
Remember to get a flu shot!
A Reminder to Take the Census
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