Jacob’s Journal – Weekly News Rewind (04/20-04/24)

LA County Help Center Offers Resources to Workers, Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Crisis

Thursday, April 23 (ABC 7) – Los Angeles County has seen a massive surge in unemployment claims as a result of the coronavirus emergency, unlike anything the county has seen before. Combined with the hundreds of small businesses that have been forced to close because of a state-wide lockdown, it has put enormous strain on the countyโ€™s resources. The Director of Economic and Business Development for Los Angeles County, Caroline Torsis, is leading the charge to help people get back on their feet. The wait times to get through to the Employment Development Department (EDD) have left workers frustrated and losing hope. In response to the growing need, added resources have been set up to help out-of-work Angeleons find solutions. When ABC 7 asked Caroline Torsis what was being done to ease the panic, she offered this, “We have also stood up a page advertising open jobs at workforce.lacounty.gov, in a variety of industries, working quickly to pivot and retreating our job seekers for the new demand in light of COVID-19,” said Torosis. In addition to that, job seekers that are having an issue with getting through to EDD can contact lacountyhelpcenter.org to walk them through the process. Torosis continued on to say, “We are here to serve the public. We are the workforce agency for Los Angeles County. And we know that this is a devastating economic time, so to that, our board of supervisors moved very quickly to stand up a disaster help center comprised of multiple departments working together. We are open six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Constituents can call our phone number (833) 238-4450, visit us at lacountyhelpcenter.org, or email us at disasterhelpcenter@lacounty.gov.”

Coronavirus: Angelenos Urged to Resist Going to Neighboring County Beaches During Heat Wave

Thursday, April 23 (KCAL9, CBS Los Angeles) – Southern California is experiencing a heatwave. And aside from the routine failsafes being put in place to help those that are without air conditioning and issuing warnings about heatstroke, Los Angeles city officials are asking its citizens to continue to shelter-in-place and not flock to nearby beaches to beat the heat. With some beaches opening in Orange and Ventura Counties, it may be tempting to plan an outing to enjoy the ideal weather. However, officials are urging people to continue to do their part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by remaining at home, going for a walk, or enjoying recreation in their yards. LAPD Chief Michel Moore said people should continue avoiding nonessential activities, a sentiment echoed by LA County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer who said, โ€œItโ€™s very important even with the good weather that people do not congregate together outside. So enjoy the outdoors alone or with other members of your household. And this means please take a walk, go for a jog or sit outside in your yard and allow your children to be outside and enjoy this beautiful weather. But you need to do it as a household and not to congregate in places and spaces that are beautiful but will defeat our need for us to keep our distance still.โ€

LA Teams Sell Merchandise to Raise Money for City Coronavirus Emergency Fund

Wednesday, April 22 (KCAL9, CBS Los Angeles) – In an effort to raise money for the coronavirus relief fund, several Los Angeles professional sports franchises have joined forces to sell thousands of pieces of merchandise at a discount. The Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Sparks, Galaxy, along with AEG, the owners of the Staples Center, are all taking part in the โ€˜Teams for L.A. Online Supersaleโ€™. The website went live on Tuesday and features more 30,000 items.ย  Merchandise such as jerseys and hats, and memorabilia from the Grammys and Coachella will all be available for purchase. All proceeds go to the Mayorโ€™s L.A. Emergency COVID-19 Crisis Fund.

Free Testing Now Open to Critical Workers, Even if They Donโ€™t Have Symptoms, Mayor Says

Wednesday, April 22 (NBC4 Los Angeles) – Beginning Thursday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that coronavirus testing will be available to all โ€œcritical workersโ€ regardless of whether or not they are showing symptoms or signs of COVID-19. Essential and critical workers include healthcare professionals, grocery store workers, first responders, and essential government personnel. Prior to this move, testing has only been available to those that have shown signs of illness. Mayor Garcetti urged workers to get in touch with their employers to access priority testing and can also sign up online at coronavirus.lacity.org/testing. Garcetti went on to say, “We wish we could open that up to everybody, but I think we all know that we have firefighters and police officers, doctors, nurses, janitors at hospitals, folks that are in grocery stores and pharmacies that are putting themselves out on the line,” he said. “And we want to make sure they are healthy, that they have the peace of mind of knowing they’re healthy, and because they interact with so many people, that we can make sure they are not spreading.”

US Unemployment Claims Surge by Another 4.4 Million

Thursday, April 23 (Fox11 Los Angeles) – As the spread of the coronavirus continues to batter the United States, job cuts have skyrocketed. Roughly 26 million people have now filed for unemployment in the last five weeks, which has economists forecasting the unemployment rate to reach upwards of 20% by the end of April. With one in six Americans currently without work, it means dire consequences for the economy in the coming months. While few experts foresee a downturn equivalent to the length of the Great Depression, there are worries that unemployment numbers will remain high well into the new year. Even with employers opening their businesses back up starting next month, it is unlikely that the economy will get the jolt or activity it needs to regain momentum quickly. The United States isnโ€™t alone in this economic and unemployment emergency. Europe is being hit hard as well, with the downturn affecting 59 million jobs โ€” 26% of employment in the European Union โ€” according to McKinsey, the consulting firm. It is unclear what the months ahead will reveal about the future of the U.S. economy. Unemployment systems are overwhelmed with claims that they cannot fill quickly enough. To add to that bombardment, the federal relief package enacted last month made millions of gig workers, contractors and self-employed people will now also be eligible for unemployment aid. But most states have yet to approve unemployment applications from those workers because theyโ€™re still trying to reprogram their systems to handle the first wave of unemployment claims.ย 

Answering Questions About Californiaโ€™s Unemployment Benefits During the COVID-19 Crisis

Tuesday, April 21 (CapRadio) – With the extreme uptick in unemployment claims that have emerged as a result of coronavirus related business closures, Californians have a lot of unanswered questions about how to collect unemployment and if they qualify. To date, more than 2.7 million citizens have filed for unemployment. That has overwhelmed call centers and resources. CapRadio has made an effort to answer some of the most common unemployment questions to give clarity to those that are experiencing this for the first time and will update this story accordingly. If you are one of the many that have seen your hours reduced or evaporated entirely through no fault of your own, you can apply for unemployment through the stateโ€™s insurance program. Under normal circumstances, the maximum length of time to collect unemployment benefits is 26 weeks, but because of the extreme nature of COVID-19, that timeline has extended an additional 13 weeks. The weekly benefit ranges from $40 to $450 depending on your income. Recipients will get an additional $600 per week in unemployment assistance as a result of the federal CARES Act. That was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in late March in response to the economic damage caused by the coronavirus.ย 

Have You Ever Been Given the Wrong Prescription?

Thursday, April 23 (National Law Review) – Every year, somewhere between 7,000-9,000 people die in the United States as a result of medication errors, according to a recent publication by Dr. Rayhan A. Tariq and Yevgeniya Scherbak, PharmD. Medication errors tend to be made during the ordering process and prescribing stages, but those errors cost healthcare facilities and institutions over $40 billion a year to look after patients that have been given the wrong prescriptions. Errors are made during the dispensing of the medication while at the pharmacy as well as medication error issues that involve the healthcare provider erroneously writing down the wrong medication on a script, including dose amount or frequency. Today, large pharmacy chains have employed the use of electronic signatures to confirm the patient has been advised of their medication, side effects and has had all of their questions answered prior to handing over their medications, essentially absolving the pharmacy of any accountability. That process is known as a Pharmacist Drug Review (PDR). PDR is now mandated by law.ย