Thursday, June 2, 2022 | California Healthline

After Years Of Debate, LA Council Votes To Ban Most Sales Of Flavored Tobacco: Los Angeles will ban many businesses from selling tobacco products that come in sweet, spicy, and minty flavors under new restrictions backed Wednesday by the City Council. Council members voted 12-0 to pass the ordinance, which now goes to Mayor Eric Garcetti for his signature. Read more from the Los Angeles Times.

Proposal For Legal Drug Injection Sites Advances: California moved a step closer Wednesday to creating sites where people could legally use drugs under supervision designed to save them from dying if they overdose. The full Assembly will now consider allowing test programs in Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco. Read more from AP.

Below, check out the roundup of California Healthline’s coverage. For today’s national health news, read KHN’s Morning Briefing.

Los Angeles Times:
Angelenos Begin The First Day Of Historic Water Restrictions

Millions of Angelenos awoke Wednesday to a new, more arid future as unprecedented water restrictions went into effect across Southern California. For some, the sweeping limitations on outdoor watering felt like déjà vu from the last time the state was in a significant drought, when lawns turned brown and short showers became the norm. For others, the rules were a frustrating reminder of how little has changed. (Ding and Smith, 6/1)

Los Angeles Times:
A Guide To Surviving SoCal’s Unprecedented Water Restrictions 

With unprecedented water restrictions now in place across Southern California, many are questioning how life will change and whether residents can actually conserve. Here are 10 things to consider as the new restrictions — most notably limiting outdoor watering to one or two days a week — set in. (Smith, 6/1)

Palm Springs Desert Sun:
MSWD Prohibits Spray Irrigation During Daylight Hours Amid Drought

Mission Springs Water District implemented several water conservation measures on Wednesday, including a ban on outdoor water use for spray irrigation during daylight hours. An emergency regulation approved by the State Water Resources Control Board last week requires urban water suppliers to implement their Level 2 demand reduction actions by June 10. (Rode, 6/1)

The (Santa Rosa) Press Democrat:
Sonoma Water To Host Virtual Town Hall On Drought Impacts

Sonoma Water will provide an update on current drought conditions and local conservation measures during a virtual town hall on Thursday, according to county officials. The 4 p.m. event is the first in a series of scheduled monthly public forums about the drought, which was declared a local emergency in April 2021. (Green, 6/1)

The Bakersfield Californian:
Activists Renew Attention On Farmworkers’ Heat Illness Risks 

High heat and the health risks it presents Central Valley farmworkers are becoming a greater focus for the state’s climate and environmental justice advocates. At a 90-minute online presentation hosted Wednesday morning by Santa Rosa-based The Climate Center, half a dozen speakers highlighted the need to protect outdoor workers from Bakersfield to Stockton amid expectations for more frequent days with temperatures topping 100 degrees. (Cox, 6/1)

Sacramento Bee:
COVID Outbreaks Emerging Again In California State Prisons

Outbreaks are underway at several state prisons among both inmates and staff, data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation show, amid a broader surge of COVID-19 spreading across California and nationwide. Prisons reported nearly 1,500 new inmate COVID-19 cases between May 1 and May 29, an almost 20-fold increase compared to just 75 infections reported over the preceding four weeks, according to a CDCR online data tracker. (McGough, 6/1)

Sacramento Bee:
COVID Surge Worsens In Sacramento Area, Among Worst In CA

Coronavirus activity surged throughout May in California, with most transmission and hospitalization numbers roughly doubling over the course of the month as highly contagious subvariants of omicron continue to gain traction. Some of the state’s worst COVID-19 infection rates are now in the Sacramento area. (McGough, 6/1)

Sacramento Bee:
Latest COVID-19 Surge In Sacramento: Here’s What To Know 

OVID-19 cases are back on the rise and new subvariants are trailing behind. Sacramento County is at a “medium” COVID community level, as of Thursday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning case rates, hospital admissions and hospital bed use have increased. Here’s what we know so far about the latest COVID-19 surge in Sacramento. (Truong, 6/1)

Bay Area News Group:
Here’s Why New COVID Variants Are Driving Surprise Surge

In its evolutionary fight for survival, the COVID virus is switching strategies: It’s becoming a master at slipping past our immune systems. And that, say experts, is largely why we’re dealing with an unexpected surge. Powered by two mutations, new lineages of the omicron variant — called BA.2 and its more recent descendants BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 — are increasing rates of vaccine breakthrough and reinfection, according to an analysis published Saturday by Trevor Bedford, a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, who studies the evolution of viruses. (Krieger, 6/1)

Palm Springs Desert Sun:
COVID-19: Riverside County Hospitalizations Surpass 100 Again

Riverside County hospitalizations have returned to the triple-digits once again for the first time since mid-March. There were 104 patients reported on Wednesday, up 13 from Friday. That number also includes eight individuals in intensive care. As patient numbers have been going up steadily in recent weeks, cases counts are continuing their climb as well. (Sasic, 6/1)

If You Get COVID, Should You Try To Get Paxlovid? Here’s How (With Or Without Health Insurance)

If you test positive for COVID and have certain risk factors that increase your chances of becoming seriously ill, you may be eligible to start a COVID antiviral treatment like Paxlovid. Paxlovid is only available by prescription, and even if you get it prescribed, the next step is finding somewhere with enough supply to fill that prescription. (Severn, 6/1)

NBC News:
Postal Service Sued For Seizing Black Lives Matter Masks During 2020 Protests

A California screen printer is suing the U.S. Postal Service for seizing shipments of Black Lives Matter masks intended to protect demonstrators from Covid-19 during protests following the May 2020 murder of George Floyd. The cloth masks, with slogans like “Stop killing Black people” and “Defund police,” were purchased by the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) and were meant to be shipped to D.C., St. Louis, New York City and Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed by a police officer. But four boxes containing about 500 masks each were marked as “Seized by law enforcement” and their shipment was delayed more than 24 hours. (Reilly, 6/2)

NBC News:
Pfizer Again Asks FDA To Authorize Covid Vaccine For Youngest Kids

Pfizer-BioNTech said Wednesday that it asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years — the only group that remains ineligible for vaccination. The request will be now considered by the FDA, which will review the data and could grant emergency use authorization for the age group later this month. The FDA’s advisory group, called the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, is scheduled to convene on June 15 to offer guidance on the pediatric doses. (Lovelace Jr., 6/1)

ABC News:
FDA Accepts Pfizer Application For COVID Vaccine In Kids Under 5, Clearing Way For June Timeline

The FDA said in a statement that it received Pfizer’s request for an EUA. “We recognize parents are anxious to have their young children vaccinated against COVID-19 and while the FDA cannot predict how long its evaluation of the data and information will take, we will review any EUA request we receive as quickly as possible using a science-based approach,” the agency said. (Kekatos, 6/1)

California Child Abuse Database Lacks Half Of County Reports

More than half of substantiated California child abuse reports in recent years were not in the state’s database, which could result in child abusers being allowed to care for children, state auditors said Tuesday. The unreliability of the database “puts children at risk,” auditors said. The database is used by state and county social services and welfare departments, adoption agencies, medical workers treating possible victims of child abuse, agencies conducting background investigations of applicants for law enforcement jobs, and agencies conducting background investigations on those who want to work or volunteer in positions that would give them access to children, like day care centers or group homes. (Thompson, 5/31)

Palm Springs Desert Sun:
Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia Seeks $1B For Hospital Seismic Retrofits

As California hospitals prepare for seismic upgrades, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, is hoping to secure a $1 billion state budget appropriation to ease costs for public district hospitals. The Alquist Hospital Seismic Safety Act, or Senate Bill 1953, was established in 1995 in response to unexpected poor seismic performance of hospitals during the 1994 Northridge earthquake. California law mandates that all hospitals rebuild or retrofit by Jan. 1, 2030, and must remain fully functional in the event of an earthquake. (Sasic, 6/1)

San Diego Union-Tribune:
Attorney General Puts Crisis Pregnancy Centers, And Anti-Abortion Groups, On Notice 

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a new statewide consumer alert in San Diego Wednesday that aims to increase public awareness of pregnancy centers that mimic reproductive health clinics such as those operated by Planned Parenthood. (Sisson, 6/1)

Napa Valley Register:
Mike Thompson Joins With Napa Women Leaders To Advocate For Protecting Abortion Rights 

In response to a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft majority opinion that shows the court may overturn abortion rights in the near future, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson joined with many of Napa County’s women leaders Wednesday to advocate for the need to protect those rights in front of the historic Napa County Courthouse. The draft opinion, if passed by the court, would largely strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision from 1973. (Booth, 6/1)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Listen: The Future Of Abortion In California After Roe

The Supreme Court is expected to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion this month. If that happens, 26 states are expected to ban abortion rights immediately, creating a seismic shock to the nation’s health care system. On this episode of the It’s All Political on Fifth & Mission podcast, host Joe Garofoli rides Planned Parenthood’s “Bans Off Our Bodies” bus around the state with three top advocates for abortion rights. (6/1)

Sacramento Bee:
UC Davis Health Plans Outpatient Surgery Center In Sacramento

UC Davis Health plans to build a $579 million outpatient surgery center on its Sacramento campus by 2025, another piece of its ambitious expansion that also includes a new hospital tower and a rehabilitation hospital. These projects come as the University of California, Davis, also moves forward with the multibillion-dollar Aggie Square innovation hub on the campus that aims to bring together researchers, industry partners, entrepreneurs and students in an innovation hub. (Anderson, 6/2)

How California Shuffles Its Mentally Ill Prisoners

On the last day of Adam Collier’s life, he had breakfast in his cell in Kern Valley State Prison. He wrote two letters, one to his mother, the other to the guard who would later find his body. During the previous four years in prison, Collier had been hospitalized for mental health crises 14 times. His many letters to family and friends wobbled between lucidity and gibberish. His medical records proffered graphic descriptions of self-harm. Collier had originally landed in prison for exposing himself to women in public while high on meth. Ashamed and delusional, he tried to castrate himself with a broken plastic cup because he believed it was God’s desire. (Lyons and Wiener, 6/2)

Los Angeles Times:
The ‘Dead Kid Club’: Parents Of Mass Shooting Victims Are A Growing Network

Four years and six days before a fourth-grade class was gunned down at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Rhonda Hart lost her teenage daughter, Kimberly Vaughan, in a shooting at a high school about 300 miles east. She’s a member of a tragic, steadily growing network: parents of children who were killed in mass shootings. “We call it, unofficially, the Dead Kid Club,” she said. (Sheets, 6/2)

The Wall Street Journal:
Less Than 5% Of Violent Acts Are Linked To Mental Illness, Research Shows

Mass shootings in the U.S. have revived discussion around the interplay between mental health and violent acts. Most violent acts are carried out by people with no diagnosed mental illness, say psychologists and epidemiologists. Mental illness can contribute to violence, research shows, but predicting who might act violently is all but impossible. The American Psychiatric Association on Wednesday said stigmatizing people with mental illness could dissuade them from seeking treatment. “The overwhelming majority of people with mental illness are not violent and are far more likely to be victims of violent crime than perpetrators thereof,” the group said. (Wernau, 6/1)

The Atlantic:
How News Of Mass Shootings Affects People Psychologically

A horrific news event is a tragedy for those it directly affects, but simply reading and watching coverage of it is associated with an uptick in symptoms of acute stress, such as intrusive thoughts about the event and avoiding reminders of it. For instance, one study published in 2014 found that the more coverage people saw of the Boston Marathon bombings, the more such symptoms they experienced. (Pinsker, 6/1)

San Francisco Chronicle:
New Report Finds S.F.’s Biggest Development Project Ignores Huge Climate Change Risk: Rising Contamination

Rising seas caused by climate change could ultimately expose thousands of people to hazardous chemicals at San Francisco’s biggest redevelopment project — and the city is unprepared for the risks, according to a new grand jury report. San Francisco plans to build housing units, commercial spaces and parks in low-lying areas of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, which hugs the bay in southeastern San Francisco. The project is the city’s biggest redevelopment effort since the 1906 earthquake. (Fagone and Dizikes, 6/1)

The Bakersfield Californian:
Kern Public Health Cautions Residents Against Potentially Harmful Algal Blooms

The Kern County Public Health Services Department urged boaters, dog owners and other recreational lake users to exercise caution and observe signage related to active algal blooms when visiting certain areas within Lake Isabella. Public Health recently obtained water samples from eight locations in Lake Isabella. The auxiliary dam boat launch area indicated the presence of potentially harmful blue-green algae (cyanotoxin), as it tested at the cautionary level, which is the lowest of the three advisory levels. Health advisories have been posted suggesting caution when using the lake. (6/1)

Sacramento Bee:
Sacramento Weed Dispensaries Can Be Sold To New Owners

Sacramento’s 30 existing cannabis dispensary owners will now be able to sell the majority of their business after the city council Tuesday night approved new rules allowing ownership transfers. Dispensary owners have complained that an outright city ban on dispensary transfers or sales was unfair, but the rules were imposed in November 2019 after The Sacramento Bee disclosed that one business group had acquired a third of the city’s dispensaries despite prior city transfer prohibitions. (Diamond, 6/1)

Orange County Register:
Taft Elementary Students In Santa Ana Hit By Car Recovering With Fractures And Emotional Scars

Three Taft Elementary School students in Santa Ana injured when a sedan slammed into them as they walked to school last week bore bruises and broken bones while recovering at home Wednesday, June 1 and struggled to process memories of the traumatic crash. Nine days after the collision, 9-year-old Madeline De La Torre was recovering with a fractured nose, and scabs peppered the right side of her forehead, marking how her face landed on the pavement after she and her cousins were flung into the air. Sophia East, 11, was using crutches to help her move about while her bones heal in a purple cast covering her entire right leg. Victoria Avila, who recently turned 7, suffered fractures to her skull and pelvis. (Licas, 6/1)

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