Health

People of Richmond: Should voters amend the state Constitution to protect abortion right

“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity. Q: Should the California Constitution be amended to guarantee the right to an abortion? “Ultimately, yes. I do, personally, although I have family who feels very differently. So it’s always such a heated topic in my family, so I was thinking about them. But on a personal level, I do feel very strongly…

Newsom signs family leave expansion to benefit lower paid workers

On Friday, California expanded family leave benefits, making it easier for lower wage-earns to take time off after the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a family member. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 951, which extends for two years the family leave law that was set to expire at the end of this year. And in 2025, workers earning less than the state’s average wage — about $57,000 a year — will go from a…

People of Richmond: Will you get the new COVID booster?

“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity. Q: Have you or will you get the new booster shot against the omicron variant? “I am. My father is immunocompromised. It’s really important in order to keep my family safe. It’s important for us all to do our part to keep our community safe. At the end of the day, it is…

Omicron boosters now available to everyone in Contra Costa County

Contra Costa Health Services is now offering the new omicron booster shots in Richmond. “This Omicron booster will offer vaccinated people renewed protection against new variants such as BA.5, which is now dominant, before fall and winter,” said Will Harper, a Health Services spokesperson. The World Health Organization’s initial reports on omicron have found it is lesssevere than other forms of the virus, such as the delta variant. However, omicron is much more contagious, which is why development of a…

At high risk for monkeypox? Richmond vaccine clinic is taking appointments

Appointments for monkeypox vaccinations at the Richmond Auditorium can now be made online for people at high risk of contracting the disease, Contra Costa Health Services said in a news release Wednesday. Appointments are required for the clinic on 25th Street and Nevin Avenue, and at one in Concord. Previously, Health Services required people to fill out a form requesting an appointment. They were then put on a waiting list for the vaccine. But an increase in supply has enabled…

Mushroom foraging becomes ‘a spiritual journey with nature’

Tony Alvarez pulled his SUV into the deserted parking lot before sunrise on a chilly January morning and unloaded two grocery bags, a jar and a backpack from his trunk as he waited for others to arrive.  It was 6:30 a.m. and he was expecting 15 people to join him for mushroom foraging in Tilden Park, an excursion people pay $100 to experience with Shroomy Walkabouts, a business  he started four years ago in the Bay Area. Participants arrived slowly,…

Mental health team will now handle some 911 calls in Contra Costa County

Mental health emergencies account for more than 1 in 10 of the 911 medical calls in Contra Costa County. A new program will now address those calls with crisis teams that include behavioral health professionals. This week, Contra Costa Health Services unveiled the Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime program, which will get clinicians involved in accessing medical calls and determining when a crisis response team is needed. The county is now hiring for the A3 pilot program, with plans to have the…

High absences prompt WCCUSD to close schools for two days

With a flare in COVID-19 cases keeping many students and teachers out of school this week, the West Contra Costa Unified School District has decided to shut down on Friday and Monday. The district will take two “smoke days” that the state allows superintendents to use at their discretion, to deep clean its buildings, Superintendent Kenneth “Chris” Hurst said in a news release Wednesday. Hurst attributed the high absentee rate to the omicron variant of the coronavirus, which is raging…

WCCUSD adds COVID-19 test sites to keep kids safe at school

Three more COVID-19 testing sites opened up this week for students and staff in the West Contra Costa Unified School District, which resumed in-person classes on Monday amid a coronavirus spike propelled by the highly contagious omicron variant of the virus. The district already was offering tests at most schools and on Tuesday, added the Alvarado Adult School in Richmond, the Ohlone Elementary School campus in Hercules, and the district central office in Richmond to that list. Those sites are…