Jackie Stallings speaks in front of a group of journalists on Thursday Jan. 13 in front of Dominican Hospital.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz )
Lookout PM Archive

LOOKOUT PM: Mask upgrades; exhausted nurses; PVUSD working through Omicron

Good Thursday evening all. Though I suppose we all could use a bit of a break from all things COVID, it appears the pandemic takes no time off. Today’s news diet includes information on the importance of the right kind of mask, local nurses’ concerns about staffing and how students in PVUSD are handling getting back to class.

I realize this is getting to be a bit of a habit with me, but I just couldn’t resist posting yet another beautiful shot from Native Santa Cruz:

And away we go...

Dominican nurses frustrated with hiring delays, new guidelines

Maureen Dwyer addresses a small group of journalists in front of Dominican Hospital.
Maureen Dwyer, a Registered nurse in the surgical services dept. addresses a small group of journalists in front of Dominican Hospital.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz )

Day of action: The national nurses union, which represents about 670 nurses from Dominican Hospital, held a day of action Thursday. Local healthcare workers said more nurses need to be hired and said they’re concerned the hospital may implement looser COVID protocols as now allowed by the state. The hospital responded it has sped up its hiring process and nothing, as yet, has changed regarding COVID rules. Read the report from Lookout’s Hillary Ojeda here.

Health officials hope vigilance, including mask upgrades, will make ‘hard month’ end soon

Health Officer Gail Newel.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

N95 much better: “Cloth masks are no longer preferred,” Santa Cruz County Health Officer Gail Newel said Thursday. Instead, everyone should be upgrading to N95, KN95 and the increasingly popular KF94 models of face masks. Our Wallace Baine takes a break from arts coverage to cover the news here.


Pajaro Valley schools return to class amid Omicron and surge of absences

Students masked up in a classroom at MacQuiddy Elementary in Watsonville.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

In this together: Santa Cruz County’s largest school district returned to school this week as the Omicron variant continues to contribute to record-breaking case counts across the country. Pajaro Valley Unified School District teachers and parents are happy kids are back in school, even as they brace for more cases. Hillary Ojeda looked into how things are going.

Earlier: ‘Doing our best’: How some Santa Cruz County parents are navigating a return to school amid Omicron surge

BOLO Best Bets: Symphonic grandeur, weather as art and get your tiki on

One of the paintings of the winter sky by Enid Baxter Ryce featured in "Atmosphere" at the Museum of Art & History.

Almost the weekend: The latest COVID-19 surge is worrying, but the vaccinated and boostered are figuring out safe ways to live their lives, which includes such joys as seeing the Santa Cruz Symphony perform live, taking an ersatz tropical vacation at Mentone, or catching a new exhibit at the Museum of Art & History. Check out what Wallace Baine and the rest of the BOLO crew have in store for you.

More details: Symphony addresses slavery; MAH investigates winter weather; poet laureate revisits Iraq

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The State of California, specifically the Public Utilities Commission, has proposed a set of regulatory changes – NEM 3...

ICYMI: That smashed bridge over Highway 1 in Aptos is finally getting fixed — but not without a highway closure

The bridge in Aptos damaged in 2017 storms is finally slated to be repaired.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Closure coming: Nighttime commuters may be inconvenienced next week as the rail bridge in Aptos gets repaired, as both directions will be closed for repairs. The damage, caused by a storm, occurred in 2017. Lookout’s Max Chun has the details here.

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More from here & elsewhere

Santa Cruz County to apply for first Project Homekey grant (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Has omicron crested in the Bay Area? Sewage samples seem to suggest so (San Francisco Chroncile)
This single-family home in San Jose has sold for $1 million over asking (Mercury News)
Actors’ Theatre’s Pandemic Strategy Could Be Future of Stage Companies (Good Times)
Santa Cruz County questions legitimacy of pop-up COVID-19 testing site (KBSW)

And that’s the way it was on this Thursday night. Be well and keep safe.

Dan Evans
Executive Editor