Lookout PM Archive

LOOKOUT PM: Omicron subsiding; masks too? Watsonville Hospital hopefulness

Happy Monday evening, everybody.

A few extra programming notes tonight, the first being word late Monday afternoon that Greg Pepping, the leader of the Coastal Watershed Council, will be stepping down after 12 years. It will mark an interesting time for the only nonprofit organization solely dedicated to the San Lorenzo River, as a development boom along Front Street and a continuing homelessness crisis raise the stakes of protecting an artery that was once a beloved local focal point of the city. More on that in the coming days.

The other notable: A heads-up on the action at Santa Cruz City Council tomorrow, where councilmembers will discuss two hot-button topics: CZU recovery and adverse abandonment of the rail lines. The council will discuss extending the CZU emergency declaration for another 60 days, allowing more time for FEMA and CAL OES reimbursement.

Then there will be discussion about a vote on whether to formally oppose the potential adverse abandonment actions of both the Santa Cruz and Felton rail lines, following last Thursday’s hours-long Regional Transportation Commission meeting. Stay tuned for any key developments on either front by following Grace Stetson on Twitter.

And, finally: Here comes the heat.

Now to the headlines...

Indoor masking to sunset on Feb. 15, but Santa Cruz’s guidelines still uncertain


Statewide ban to life: Whether or not Santa Cruz County Health Officer Gail Newel lifts the mask mandate will depend on what she sees. “She’s going to base it off data like case rates, testing positivity, and effective reproductive number,” said County Health spokesperson Corinne Hyland. Max Chun with the details.

PREVIOUSLY: Data confirms county’s Omicron impact: Quarter of all known cases occurred within last 21 days (Lookout)


Santa Cruz County, health officials confident a district will save Watsonville Hospital

Watsonville Community Hospital.
(Hillary Ojeda / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The latest: Watsonville Community Hospital is at risk of closing after years of financial struggle. Santa Cruz County and health care officials hope that a health care district, a government entity with a complicated and not always successful history in the state, will prevent that. Hillary Ojeda with the details.

Presented by Santa Cruz Symphony

Join the Santa Cruz Symphony for the third program of their 2021-2022 concert season, “Beethoven & The Hill We Climb”,...

Ready for another pandemic malady? It’s called ‘decision fatigue’

A photo illustration of a man looking out a window at a coronavirus
(Via Pixabay)

It’s real: Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has come with a barrage of daily choices that have many of us complaining of a sort of brain freeze. That exhaustion is real, and it’s got a name: “decision fatigue.” Kaiser Health News has the details.



New COVID-19 sick pay for California workers approved by lawmakers


Relief on the way: The policy allows workers at businesses of 26 or more employees to take paid time off to recover from COVID-19, care for a family member, or get a vaccine. More from the LA Times here.

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz student Tommy Alejandrez was living on the streets when he met former NFL player Zack Follett on a busy...

‘I don’t have a life’: Parents struggle to get home nurses for medically fragile kids

Amber Suarez with her daughters
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

A problem exacerbated California families have long had difficulty getting home nursing care for medically fragile children. The problem has persisted with the arrival of COVID-19. More from the LA Times here.

More from here & elsewhere

Steven Carrillo scheduled to plead guilty in assassination of federal security officer in Oakland (Sentinel)
Dry, hot spell set to hit Santa Cruz County (Sentinel)
England’s oldest pub, possibly 1,229 years old, shuts doors (SF Gate)
Dean’s tweet thrusts Calif. college into nationwide debate (SF Gate)
‘I cry every day’: Olympic athletes rip quarantine food, tests, hotels (USA Today)
Biden vows U.S. will ‘bring an end’ to Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine (NBC News)

That’s it for this beautiful Monday night. Hope you got out there for a walk and watched yet another glorious sunset. Let’s do it again tomorrow.

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor