California

California GOP Consultant Rues ‘Big Mistake’ That Led to Family’s COVID Infections

SACRAMENTO — The tweet Richard Costigan posted July 23 was bluntly honest: “We tried our best to limit exposure to #COVID19 but we slipped up somewhere.”

Costigan tweeted while waiting anxiously in the parking lot of a hospital outside Sacramento. The veteran Republican political consultant had just dropped his wife, Gloria, off at the emergency room. He wasn’t allowed to go in with her.

His thoughts traveled back to the small family gathering they had attended in Georgia nearly

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California School Districts Grope for Sensible Reopening Plans

School leaders in Elk Grove, California, wanted to leave as little to chance as possible. So they brought nearly 150 voices into their decision-making process, and canvassed the parents of the estimated 63,000 students in the district to ask how they wanted their children taught. The result was a four-item menu of instruction choices for the coming academic year, none featuring a full campus.

About 45 minutes down Interstate 5 in California’s Central Valley, seven trustees in Manteca took a 5-2 vote: School would resume on campus, at full classroom capacity, five days a week. Parents would have the option to enroll children in a 100% online academy — although it didn’t yet exist. After a protest from teachers and the health department, the district later relented and agreed to put students on campus for five days every two

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As Cases Spike, California Pauses Multimillion-Dollar Testing Expansion

In April, Gov. Gavin Newsom launched a multimillion-dollar state initiative to bring COVID-19 testing to the people and places with the least access: rural towns and disadvantaged inner-city neighborhoods.

California is now halting its expansion, citing costs, even as the state is getting walloped by record-setting spikes in new infections and double-digit increases in hospitalizations.

The state will no longer fund new testing sites despite pleas from counties for additional assistance — and it has closed some locations and moved them elsewhere. It also has threatened to pull testing out of underused sites, according to nearly two dozen interviews with county public health officials.

While it’s early, some winners and losers have emerged: El Dorado County, east of Sacramento, lost its testing site in the town of Shingle Springs in June

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California Prisons Are COVID Hotbeds Despite Billions Spent On Inmate Health

From Corcoran and Avenal state prisons in the arid Central Valley to historical San Quentin on the San Francisco Bay, California prisons have emerged as raging COVID-19 hot spots, even as the state annually spends more on inmate health care than other big states spend on their entire prison systems.

The new state budget taking effect July 1 authorizes $13.1 billion for California’s 34 prisons, housing 114,000 inmates, more than three times what any other state spends. That sum includes $3.6 billion for medical and dental services and mental health care — roughly what Texas spends to run its entire 140,000-inmate prison system.

And, yet, despite the extraordinary dedication of resources, California prison officials are struggling to contain the COVID outbreaks, let alone prevent them. On March 25, there was just one confirmed COVID-19 case among California’s inmates. Three months later, more than 4,600 inmates have contracted the disease, an

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