Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on ‘Gilligan’s Island’, dies of COVID-19

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — One of the last surviving main cast member of Gilligan’s Island has died of COVID-19.

Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann Summers on the 1960s sitcom, died at age 82, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Now, the beloved show has just one surviving main cast member left: Tina Louise, who played Ginger.

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from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/entertainment-news/dawn-wells-who-played-mary-ann-on-gilligans-island-dies-of-covid-19/

Doctors say COVID-19 can lead to psychosis in very rare cases

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Doctors across the world are reporting extremely rare cases of severe psychiatric symptoms apparently brought on by COVID-19.  

Dr. Brian Kincaid is the medical director for psychiatric emergency department services at Duke University Hospital.

He and other Duke doctors published in the medical journal, The BMJ, about their first instance of what they call “COVID-19 associated-psychosis” in a patient with no history of mental illness. Since then, he says Duke has seen one or two more cases like this, and hospitals worldwide have described similar situations. 

“In these types of cases that we’ve seen, their behavior goes into the realm of what we call psychosis,” Dr. Kincaid told Nexstar station WNCN. “Delusions were a prominent symptom in a number of the cases that we’ve seen, feeling that various people were out to get them when we didn’t have any evidence of that; people have described feeling that they are being tracked by specific people on their cellphones in ways that really aren’t possible.”

He said doctors are not sure exactly why COVID-19 could cause these symptoms.

“There are a number of theories that are out there,” Kincaid said. “One is that perhaps there is a sort of excessive inflammatory immune response… Some of these immune-mediated responses can go in and affect cells in the brain to cause these psychotic symptoms.”  

While he said that is the leading theory right now, he added, “Another theory is that the SARS CoV-2 directly can impact the brain.”

COVID-19 isn’t the first virus associated with psychiatric symptoms.

“There are well-known cases of psychosis documented with the 1918 flu pandemic. They saw it also with SARS,” Kincaid said.

So how often could COVID-19 cause psychotic symptoms in someone with no history of mental illness?

“I couldn’t really put an estimate to it right now,” said Kincaid. “One in several hundred thousand” he suggested, quickly adding, “But it’s something that needs to be studied more.”

That’s about the odds of getting struck by lightning, but doctors need much more data to truly estimate the chances.  

Kincaid said it is more common for the virus to exacerbate an existing mental illness.

“I’ve seen other patients who had exacerbation of the chronic mental health symptoms or already have a chronic mental illness like schizophrenia who develop psychosis,” he said.  

No matter how rare, Kincaid urges COVID-19 patients to watch for any potential psychiatric symptoms.

“If they start to notice themselves or their family members or their friends developing some behavioral changes, saying odd things, then I think it is important to contact your physician,” he said. “Or if it’s severe to go to an emergency department for an evaluation.” 

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from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/health/coronavirus/doctors-say-covid-19-can-lead-to-psychosis-in-very-rare-cases/

Video shows ranger tasing Native American man at New Mexico’s Petroglyph National Monument

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A Native American man who regularly visits the Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico claims he was assaulted by a park ranger over the weekend.

Darrell House posted a video that gives a glimpse of what he says was an unjustified tasing. The National Park Service said Tuesday that the incident is under investigation.

House said he was walking through the Petroglyphs at the Piedra Mercado trail with his dog, Geronimo, when he saw a large group of visitors on the trail ahead, so he decided to cut through the blocked-off area to maintain social distancing. He said he’s never had an issue leaving the trail before, but this time, a ranger came up behind him and advised him to get back on the designated path. House said he complied, and the ranger began asking for identification, but House refused.

That’s when, House said, the ranger tased him. “I was holding my dog, so my dog got tased as well, he felt the shock, he felt everything. I ended up dropping him when I fell,” said House.

Monday, House said he’s still trying to wrap his mind around the situation, but he can only come up with one reason why the ranger reacted the way he did: “He wanted to show power, dominance, keep me in order. That’s what authority figures are trained to do, to keep people like me in order. To make the ‘Indian’ look crazy, to make them look insane.”

House said the incident won’t stop him from returning to the monument.

“I will go back. I am going to continue to do my prayers, going off trail without permission. Without consent. That is my right,” he said.

House was not arrested, but he was given three citations by the federal park ranger for interfering with agency function, false information, and being off-trail. The national park website does ask all visitors to remain on the trail at all times. House said he believes those rules should not apply to him because he’s Native American.

The National Park Service released the following statement in response:

On December 27, a law enforcement park ranger contacted two visitors who were walking in a closed area off-trail, which is a violation of National Park Service regulations within Petroglyph National Monument. A video capturing part of their interaction and posted to social media has generated question and interest from the public.

In accordance with National Park Service policy, this incident is under review and has been referred to the NPS Office of Professional Responsibility, our internal affairs unit, for a thorough investigation. While we work to gather the facts of this specific situation, we cannot speculate on the events leading up to what was captured on video. We take any allegation of wrongdoing very seriously, and appreciate the public’s patience as we gather the facts of this incident.

Full performance NPS law enforcement officers complete extensive law enforcement training programs along with many other Federal law enforcement agencies at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia, as well as on-the-job training in the NPS Field Training and Evaluation Program. Throughout their careers, officers complete required annual training to ensure skills proficiency and current knowledge of law enforcement issues. Additionally, NPS officers are required to undergo initial and ongoing specialized training to carry an electronic control device, commonly known as Tasers.

National Park Service

from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/national/video-shows-ranger-tasing-native-american-man-at-new-mexicos-petroglyph-national-monument/

KRON4’s Top Stories of 2020

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — As we say goodbye to 2020, we’re taking a look back at the most viral stories on KRON4.com.

Here are the 10 most-clicked stories on KRON4.com during 2020:

  1. 2 coronavirus patients hospitalized in San Francisco
  2. To show impact of bullying, mom shares video of son, 9, saying he wants to die
  3. Don’t abbreviate 2020 when writing out the date
  4. Coronavirus outbreak: Santa Clara Country to declare local health emergency
  5. Racist TikTok video gets high school students expelled
  6. IRS to launch online tool for people to track their stimulus checks
  7. Coronavirus cases in the Bay Area
  8. Bay Area fires breakdown: Complete list of evacuation orders, centers, road closures, and more
  9. An interactive map of all the Bay Area fires
  10. List: New California laws in 2020

from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/kron4s-top-stories-of-2020/

California aims to have all schools open by spring 2021

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON/AP) – Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday morning said the state aims to reopen in-person learning in all California schools by spring 2021, with distance learning still an option.

During the press conference at 10 a.m., he said attending class was not a higher risk of getting COVID-1, according to a CDC study. Rather, the study mentioned that children are more likely to get COVID-19 from adults in their household than from another child in class.

However, he emphasizes including safety rules when reopening school buildings.

“The guidelines that are in place allow for schools to operate in-person,” Newsom reminded, even during restrictive purple tiers. “The schools have an obligation to submit safety plans.”

A Safe Schools plan posted to the California Department of Public Health website suggests the most effective way to keep in-school COVID-19 transmission low is to make sure teacher/staff break rooms are safe, along with enforcing: masks, physical distancing, small and stable groups, hand hygiene, ventilation, screening for symptoms or close contact, and asymptomatic testing. 

The four pillars of reopening in-person schools more widely includes:

  1. Funding. The Budget will propose for immediate action in January, $2 billion for the safe reopening of schools beginning in February, with a priority for returning the youngest children (TK-2nd grade) and those who are most disproportionately impacted first, then returning other grade levels to in-person instruction through the spring. These funds will provide approximately $450 per student to school districts offering in-person instruction and will be weighted for districts serving students from low-income families, English learners and foster youth.
  2. Safety & Mitigation. To further ensure health and safety in the classroom, the Administration will focus on implementation of key measures, including testing, PPE, contact tracing, and vaccinations.
    1. Testing. The Administration will support frequent COVID-19 testing for all school staff and students, including weekly testing at schools in communities with high rates of transmission. For example, any interested public school will be on-boarded to the state-owned Valencia Branch Lab for PCR tests at one-third the market rate and the State will establish a hotline to help schools implement testing.
    2. PPE. All staff and students in schools are required to wear masks. Furthermore, surgical masks will be recommended for school staff, and the Administration will distribute millions of surgical masks to schools at no cost. The Administration has also enabled schools to leverage state-negotiated master contracts for PPE to reduce costs and streamline supply chains.
    3. Contact Tracing. Schools will continue to be on-boarded onto the School Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT) to improve collaboration between school and health officials, and members of the state contact tracing workforce will be deployed to improve communication with schools.
    4. Vaccinations. School staff will be prioritized in the distribution of vaccines through the spring of 2021.
  3. Oversight & Assistance. Dr. Naomi Bardach, a UCSF pediatrician and expert on COVID-19 transmission in schools, will lead the Safe Schools for All Team, a cross-agency team composed of dedicated staff from CDPH, Cal/OSHA, and educational agencies. The Team will provide hands-on support to help schools develop and implement their COVID-19 Safety Plans. These supports include school visits and walk-throughs as warranted, webinars and training materials, and ongoing technical assistance.
  4. Transparency & Accountability. A state dashboard will enable all Californians to see their school’s reopening status, level of available funding, and data on in-school transmissions. Additionally, a web-based “hotline” will empower school staff and parents to report concerns to the Safe Schools for All Team, which will lead to escalating levels of intervention, starting with technical assistance and ending with legal enforcement.

Newsom added that distance learning will still be an option as schools begin to open more widely in-person after implementing safety plans.

Coronavirus hospitalizations are stabilizing in parts of California, but patients are still overwhelming hospitals in a large swath of the state, leading Newsom to warn Californians to brace for the effect of a “surge on top of a surge” from recent holiday travel.

Intensive care units in Southern California and the agricultural San Joaquin Valley have no capacity remaining, according to state figures, and Newsom said it was “self-evident” his latest stay-at-home order would be extended Tuesday in places where hospital ICUs have less than 15% capacity.

Newsom said Monday that even with hospital admissions plateauing in some places, the state was destined to move into a “new phase” that it’s been preparing for as it sets up hospital beds in arenas, schools and tents, though it is struggling to staff them.

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State officials also notified hospitals that the situation is so dire they should prepare for the possibility that they will have to resort to “crisis care” guidelines established earlier in the pandemic, which allow for rationing treatment.

The surge of infections is due in large part to Thanksgiving travel and celebrations, which happened despite warnings from health officials not to gather because the nation’s most populated state was already seeing explosive growth in cases.

It’s created the greatest challenge for California’s health system since the pandemic began, with case counts, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 regularly breaking records.

While daily coronavirus cases were down to 31,000 Monday from a seven-day average of above 37,000, it was likely due to a lag in data from the weekend, Newsom said.

Models used for planning show hospitalizations more than doubling in the next month from about 20,000 to more than 50,000.

The state has several makeshift hospitals that are taking patients, but more health care workers are needed to staff them, the Democratic governor said. It has deployed more than 1,000 people to 116 hospitals and other facilities through a volunteer corps or the National Guard. On the upside, Newsom said California finally expects to receive more of the traveling health care workers it had requested in anticipation of the shortage.

The Department of Public Health is sending an emergency medical team to Los Angeles to help better distribute patients among hospitals. Some hospitals are well above capacity and others are below, Newsom said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/california/live-soon-newsom-gives-coronavirus-briefing/

Colorado Guardsman has 1st reported U.S. case of virus variant

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado National Guard member has the first reported U.S. case of a new and seemingly more contagious variant of the coronavirus that has set off alarm in Britain, while a second case is suspected in another Guard member, health officials said Wednesday.

The two were sent on Dec. 23 to work at a nursing home struggling with an outbreak of the virus in a small town outside Denver, said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state’s epidemiologist.

A state laboratory detected the cases after it began looking for signs of the variant after its spread was announced in England earlier this month, she said. Staff and residents at the nursing home who have tested positive for the coronavirus are having their samples screened for signs of the variant, and so far no evidence of it has been found, Herlihy said.

The confirmed case is in a Colorado man in his 20s who hadn’t been traveling and has mild symptoms, officials said. He’s isolating at his home near Denver, and the person with the suspected case is isolating in a hotel on Colorado’s Eastern Plains, Herlihy said.

The cases have triggered a host of questions about how the variant arrived in the U.S. and added urgency to the nation’s vaccination drive.

The new, mutated version was first identified in Britain, where infections are soaring and the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has surpassed the first peak seen last spring. The variant has also been found in several other countries.

“There is a lot we don’t know about this new COVID-19 variant, but scientists in the United Kingdom are warning the world that it is significantly more contagious,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said. “The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority, and we will closely monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely.”

The discovery of the mutated version overseas led the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue rules on Christmas Day requiring travelers arriving from Britain to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

The variant is probably still rare in the U.S., but the lack of travel history in the first case means it is spreading, perhaps seeded by visitors from Britain in November or December, said scientist Trevor Bedford, who studies the spread of COVID-19 at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

“Now I’m worried there will be another spring wave due to the variant,” Bedford said. “It’s a race with the vaccine, but now the virus has just gotten a little bit faster.”

Public health officials are investigating other potential cases of the variant, which was confirmed by the Colorado State Laboratory, and conducting contact tracing to determine its spread.

Scientists in Britain have found no evidence that it is more lethal or causes more severe illness, and they believe the vaccines now being dispensed will be effective against it.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reported the weekend before Christmas that the variant was moving rapidly through London and southeast England. The region was placed under strict lockdown measures, and dozens of countries banned flights from Britain. France also briefly barred trucks from Britain before allowing them back in, provided the drivers got tested for the virus.

Japan announced a ban Monday on all nonresident foreigners as a precaution.

New versions of the virus have been seen almost since it was first detected in China a year ago. It is common for viruses to undergo minor changes as they reproduce and move through a population. The fear is that mutations will become significant enough to defeat the vaccines.

South Africa has also discovered a highly contagious COVID-19 variant that is driving the country’s latest spike of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

___

AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson in Washington state contributed.

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from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/national/colorado-guardsman-has-1st-reported-u-s-case-of-virus-variant/

LIVE: Federal officials give update on US COVID-19 vaccination effort

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — U.S. health and defense officials are providing an update Wednesday on COVID-19 vaccine distribution more than two weeks after the country’s first non-trial vaccination.

Health and Human Services and Defense Department leaders are holding a briefing with senior officials on Operation Warp Speed at 12 p.m. EST.

The briefing comes a day after Colorado’s governor and state officials reported the first known case of the coronavirus variant in the United States.

The variant is raising concerns as health officials in the United Kingdom, where it was first discovered, warn it may be more contagious. But it isn’t believed to be accompanied by more severe symptoms and current COVID-19 vaccines are thought to be effective against it.

Two vaccines, one developed by Pfizer and German firm BioNTech and the other by Moderna and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, are currently being administered across the country. But public health experts say more options are critical to amassing enough shots for the country and the world.

A candidate made by Novavax Inc. is the fifth to reach final-stage testing in the United States. 

The U.K. on Wednesday became the first to approve the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford, which expected to be relied on in many countries because of its low cost, availability and ease of use.

NewsNation confirmed on Wednesday, the Phase III trial of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the U. S. is underway. 

from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/national/live-federal-officials-give-update-on-us-covid-19-vaccination-effort/

Holiday travel surge: Over 4 million flew after Christmas

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Christmas travel boomed in the U.S. despite dangerously increasing coronavirus hospitalizations.

For four days straight after Christmas day, over one million people were screened per day in airports nationwide, the Transportation Security Administration reported on Wednesday.

If you include the days before Christmas as well, TSA says over one million travelers were screened in a single day in seven of the 12 past days.

Before the holiday travel surge, TSA was rarely screening over 850,000 travelers in a single day.

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During the spring, single-day travelers were teetering in the 100,000-300,000s. Even in the summer months, the number of fliers stayed mostly below 800,000 per day.

Health officials have repeatedly warned that celebrating the holidays like a non-pandemic year would have dire impacts on coronavirus trends.

Over the last 14 days, COVID hospitalizations in California have increased by 36.5% statewide, according to Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s health secretary.

The Bay Area region is at 10.4% ICU capacity as of Tuesday, with just over a week left to bump up capacity to avoid an extended stay-at-home order.

Two California regions, SoCal and San Joaquin Valley, had their orders extended indefinitely.

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With back-to-back holidays, health officials are pleading for people to stay home for New Year’s Eve.

The United States on Tuesday recorded 176,974 new COVID-19 cases in a single day, as well as 1,783 new deaths.

Over the last seven days, California has had an average of 95.3 daily cases per 100,000 people.

Although COVID-19 vaccinations are being administered every day, the U.S. has so far only vaccinated about two million people.

And now, the U.S. has confirmed its first reported case of a new coronavirus strain first discovered overseas. Officials say the Colorado man diagnosed with the mutation had no recent history of travel.

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from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/health/coronavirus/holiday-travel-surge-over-4-million-flew-after-christmas/

Huge Mega Millions, Powerball jackpots: See how much you can win before new year

COLUMBIA, SC (WFLA) – What better way to end the train wreck of a year that 2020 has been than to win a whopping lottery jackpot?

The last drawings of the year for both Mega Millions and Powerball have grown into the hundreds of millions.

The Mega Millions jackpot for Tuesday’s drawing was $376 million, but nobody matched all the needed numbers.

The Powerball jackpot on Wednesday is slight less at $363 million.

Those jackpots are the second highest of the year for each lottery pool.

The Mega Millions jackpot now rolls over to January 1st, where the estimated jackpot stands at $401 million, as of Wednesday.

The odds of winning Mega Millions are one in 303 million. The Powerball odds are one in 293 million.

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from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/national/huge-mega-millions-powerball-jackpots-see-how-much-you-can-win-before-new-year/

18-year-old with no prior health conditions dies of COVID-19

TINLEY PARK, Ill. The mother of an 18-year-old woman who died of COVID-19 is speaking out, urging anyone who believes the virus is a hoax to think again.

Sarah Simental had abided by the guidelines, social distanced and had done everything right, yet still contracted the virus. Less than two weeks later, it took her life.

Simental had just turned 18 last month, and she was a senior at Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort.

Her family describes Sarah as a free spirit with a big heart, and someone whose life centered on her family, her friends, and her best buddy Bailey.

Less than two weeks ago, Simental developed a headache, before developing a sore throat and some congestion.

Following a positive COVID-19 test, Simental’s condition quickly worsened.

“It just continued and I took her to the ER early on the 23rd,” Simental’s mother said.

Christmas Day, Sarah was flown from Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox to University of Chicago Hospital.

24 hours later, Simental passed away from the virus.

Her parents, suited up in protective gear, were able to sit with her as she took her last breath.

“We had all the gear on, N95s and gowns, but they did allow us to go into the room so I could hold her hand and tell her it was okay,” Simental’s mother said.

As many head into New Year’s celebrations, the Simental family hopes others don’t let their guard down for the sake of having a good time.

“People need to remember that there’s going to be another Christmas, there’s going to be another New Year, but my daughter doesn’t get to have those anymore and we don’t get to celebrate those with her anymore,” Simental’s mother said.

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from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/health/coronavirus/18-year-old-with-no-prior-health-conditions-dies-of-covid-19/

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