Quick Take:

Santa Cruz County Health Officer Gail Newel and other experts headline Lookout’s free community conversation about COVID-19 at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21. For the first time, we’re offering simultaneous Spanish interpretation, through a separate Zoom audio channel.

Amid a surge in COVID-19 infections across Santa Cruz County and the nation, Lookout Santa Cruz and Event Santa Cruz are teaming up to connect residents with experts and get their questions answered.

County Health Officer Gail Newel, UC Santa Cruz infectious disease expert Marm Kilpatrick and Erica Padilla-Chavez, CEO of Pajaro Valley Prevention & Student Assistance who also is a member of the Pajaro Valley Save Lives team,
will headline this free virtual conversation about the health impacts of the pandemic — including how we got here, who was impacted most, when this might end and will it ever happen again — at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21, with Lookout amassing questions for the panelists beforehand through its COVID 2021 initiative. Attendees also can submit questions during the live event on Zoom.

Mallory Pickett, Lookout’s lead correspondent covering the pandemic, and Executive Editor Chris Fusco will moderate the panel discussion. For the first time at a Lookout event, we’ll offer simultaneous Spanish interpretation, through a separate Zoom audio channel.

This will be the first in series of community conversations about the coronavirus as the year unfolds.

Register to attend “Covid 2021: The Experts Answer Your Questions” for free by clicking here.

About the panelists

Gail Newel

Santa Cruz County Chief Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel.
Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

After working in clinical practice for more than 30 years in a variety of settings, as well as serving as clinical faculty with the UC San Francisco training program and as Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Newel was named Santa Cruz County’s Health Officer in 2019. Her previous medical roles include serving as as chief of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Kaiser Permanente in Fresno. She also helped open the new Kaiser Medical Center there. In 1998, she helped found the Fresno Women’s Medical Group, serving as CEO for 14 years.

Marm Kilpatrick

UCSC professor Marm Kilpatrick.
UCSC professor Marm Kilpatrick is an infectious disease expert who has become one of the nation’s most outspoken scientists about COVID-19. Credit: Courtesy Marm Kilpatrick

A. Marm Kilpatrick is a UC Santa Cruz professor of ecology and evolutionary biology who has become a national authority on the coronavirus. He’s done research that seeks to better understand the virus’s infection-mortality rate in the U.S, the impacts of delays in contact tracing, and how long a carrier might be contagious before showing symptoms. He’s also advising state and local health officials about virus prevention and serving as the scientific adviser to Santa Cruz County’s Economic Recovery Council, which is coordinating the business community’s plan to emerge from COVID-19.

Erica Padilla-Chavez

Erica Padilla-Chavez
Credit: Provided Photo

A Watsonville native, Erica Padilla-Chavez is CEO of Pajaro Valley Prevention & Student Assistance (PVPSA), a not-for-profit that serves young people in South County. She leads a team of professionals dedicated to providing mental health, substance abuse and youth prevention services to more than 7,000 children and youth on an annual basis. She is an advocate for addressing the systemic barriers that limit access to effective services and supports to underserved communities and is working closely with numerous groups to address the impacts that COVID has placed on individuals and families. She serves as co-chair of the Pajaro Valley Save Lives Community Group.

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