potential

Potential blackouts could leave California homes without power until Friday

A dangerous combination of fast winds and low humidity at the height of fire season is expected to prompt power outages for tens of thousands of Northern California homes and businesses starting Wednesday and lasting potentially into Friday.

Continue Reading

Potential PG&E blackouts could leave California homes without power until Friday

A dangerous combination of fast winds and low humidity at the height of fire season is expected to prompt power outages for tens of thousands of Northern California homes and businesses starting Wednesday and lasting potentially into Friday.



a tree with a mountain in the background: PG&E apprentice Oscar Rodulfo works to restore power along Los Alamos Rd. in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. Customers throughout the region could face power shutoffs later this week as red flag fire warnings take effect.


© Noah Berger / Special To The Chronicle

PG&E apprentice Oscar Rodulfo works to restore power along Los Alamos Rd. in Santa Rosa, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. Customers throughout the region could face power shutoffs later this week as red flag fire warnings take effect.


Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has warned that about 54,000 customers in portions of 24 counties, including most Bay Area counties, will likely face preemptive electricity cuts intended to prevent wildfires caused by wind-damaged power lines.

Generators and other measures deployed by PG&E should keep the lights on for about 12,000 customers that would have otherwise lost power, according to Mark Quinlan, the company’s incident commander.

PG&E officials did not expect to make a final call about shutting off power lines until Wednesday morning. But if the forecast materializes as expected, electricity will go out mainly in two waves later that day, with a third possible on Thursday.

The shut-offs were expected to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday for 33,000 homes and businesses, primarily in the North Bay and northern Sierra Nevada foothills. Two hours later, the outages would move further south into the Sierras as well as targeted spots in the East Bay, South Bay, Peninsula and Central Coast.

Limited areas of Humboldt and Trinity counties could lose power late Thursday afternoon as the second of two rounds of anticipated Diablo winds blow through, PG&E said.

Electric service should be restored for everyone no later than Friday at 10 p.m. But company officials said they would look for opportunities to turn some lines back

Continue Reading

Public health officials concerned about potential COVID exposure among evacuated residents of 2 nursing homes

Residents at two east Santa Rosa nursing homes that for months have successfully kept their patients free of COVID-19 were forced to evacuate their residents, sending them to evacuation centers, family homes and other facilities during the Glass fire earlier this week.

The emergency evacuations of those most vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic is raising concerns among health officials of potential exposure to the virus in the community.

Spring Lake Village on Montgomery Drive and Summerfield Healthcare Center on Summerfield Road were both evacuated the night of the fire, their residents sent to several locations, including other nursing facilities, family homes and evacuation centers.

“It is very worrisome that people who had no contact to COVID had to potentially go to situations where they could be exposed to COVID, especially that vulnerable population that we’re trying to really keep safe,” said Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s health officer.

Mase said the public health division has strict guidance for screening inside emergency shelters and evacuation centers. Evacuees are asked if they’ve come into contact with anyone who is COVID-positive, and temperatures are taken. Anyone who fails a temperature check or exhibits symptoms is tested for the virus.

“If anyone answers yes to these questions, they get a rapid test before they are allowed to to be in the shelter,” Mase said, adding that local public health staff members are working closely with the two skilled nursing homes to ensure that people are not sent somewhere where they might contract the virus.

That includes other skilled nursing homes that have had cases among their residents.

All 51 residents of Spring Lake Village on Montgomery Drive, near the north side of Annadel State Park, were taken to evacution centers at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building and the Petaluma Community Center the night

Continue Reading

Spotlight Team probe: Potential Medicaid discrimination at Massachusetts nursing homes

The replies etched a clear pattern. Nursing homes were more than twice as likely to say they had no room when responding to inquiries from families saying they planned to pay for care with Medicaid — the government health program relied on by low-income residents — rather than paying privately.

Often the difference wasn’t subtle. In some cases, employees from the same facility would tell the daughter of a purported Medicaid applicant that there was a waiting list, while telling the daughter of a private payer, who could be expected to pay the nursing home nearly twice as much, she would be happy to discuss the options.

Discrimination against applicants covered by Medicaid has existed for years in the nursing home industry, say advocates for the elderly, and it can be illegal.

Massachusetts adopted explicit protections in 1994, barring nursing homes from discriminating against “any Medicaid recipient or person eligible or soon-to-be-eligible to receive Medicaid benefits.” The regulations also prohibit facilities from offering help “in the preparation of applications or in any facet of the admission process to private pay applicants in a manner greater than that rendered or offered to Medicaid recipients.”

And yet many nursing homes do appear biased against Medicaid patients.

“You have more choices if you have money. That’s the world we live in,” said attorney Steven Cohen, a partner at Pabian & Russell in Boston who specializes in long-term-care and estate planning.

Medicaid pays nursing homes an average $209 per day, far less than the $389 typically paid out-of-pocket by well-off senior citizens — a sizable difference for an industry plagued by ongoing financial struggles and closures — according to 2018 state data. The most exclusive nursing homes charge private-pay residents even more.

Bed availability at nursing homes legitimately varies daily as patients die or

Continue Reading

Texas A&M survives potential upset in opener, but needs quick improvements with grueling upcoming schedule

COLLEGE STATION –Ainias Smith provided an early spark for Texas A&M.

Isaiah Spiller and the defense generated the second-half energy that the No. 10 Aggies desperately needed to escape their season opener with a 17-12 win over Vanderbilt.

“A victory is a victory,” A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said, “but all three phases [of the game] didn’t play how I thought we could or how we can.”

In a day filled with upsets and near-upsets from Norman to Baton Rouge, A&M survived despite three lost fumbles — two by senior quarterback Kellen Mond — and also misfired on a fourth-down handoff in the fourth quarter that kept giving the Commodores life.

“We got to protect the football,” Fisher said. “It’s ridiculous.”

Mond finished with 17 of 28 for 189 yards and one touchdown while trying to build chemistry with a group of young receivers.

“He can play much better,” Fisher said, noting that the four-year starter had looked much better in preseason camp.

Spiller provided the offensive boost A&M needed, rushing for 117 yards on eight carries with all but five yards coming in the second half. It was the fifth career 100-yard rushing game for the sophomore, who had runs for 57, 30 and 24 yards.

The A&M defense did the rest, with two key second-half interceptions in the red zone by Demani Richardson and Leon O’Neal. Micheal Clemens sacked Vanderbilt freshman quarterback Ken Seals for an 8-yard loss on third down with A&M clinging to a five-point lead late.

“As a defensive line we wanted to show what we were doing in practice,” Clemens said.

Vanderbilt was forced to punt and A&M killed the clock, with the help of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason.

Senior linebackers Aaron Hansford and Buddy Johnson led the A&M defense

Continue Reading