Friday, February 19, 2021

Santa Clara County COVID-19 Vaccine Update

 COVID-19 Cases in Santa Clara County

This past week, the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department reported 65 more individuals in the county who contracted COVID-19 have lost their lives.  This brings the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the county to 1,708.  As of Friday, February 19th, the total case count had reached 108,462, and the 7 day rolling average of new cases (based on specimen collection date) was at 331 cases per day.

 

As of Friday, there were 253 COVID positive patients hospitalized in Santa Clara County (down from 325 the prior week and 377 the week before that).  Of these hospitalizations, 82 were in the ICU.  COVID positive patients now occupy 24% of all ICU beds, and just 17% of beds are currently available.  These ICU bed capacity numbers already factor in surge beds that are staffed.  More data can be found through the Public Health Department’s Data Dashboards.

 

Updates on County Vaccination Efforts

This week, the County continued its efforts to move as quickly as possible to provide shots to the community’s most vulnerable residents.  In an ongoing effort to offer services in areas hardest hit by the pandemic, the County of Santa Clara and Gilroy Unified School District officials announced last Friday that the County’s Health System will open a new large-scale appointment-only vaccination site at Gilroy High School, located at 750 W. 10th Street in Gilroy, and that the site is expected to open by the end of the month.  The site is part of the County’s ongoing, expansive effort to ensure robust access to vaccine in the areas of the county with the highest rates of COVID-19, and Gilroy is one of the most impacted communities in Santa Clara County.

 

On Sunday, the County announced that more than half of county residents age 75 and older had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  Vaccine data from the California Department of Public Health’s California Immunization Registry (CAIR2) now show that 49.3% of county residents age 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 249,442 total residents now partially or fully vaccinated.  These data reflect strong progress towards the County’s goal of vaccinating at least 85% of residents age 16 or older by August 1, 2021. The data also continue to reflect the ongoing need to focus vaccination efforts on ensuring equitable access for those at greatest risk of serious illness and death, and those at greatest risk of exposure to COVID-19.

 

The State of California has established phases and tiers for when different populations are eligible to receive vaccine.  Information on who will be eligible next is available on the State of California’s vaccination website.  Our understanding of the current landscape of other providers in our community is that: Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Stanford, Bay Area Community Health, and El Camino Health are offering vaccinations to eligible healthcare personnel and individuals 65 or older, Kaiser is offering vaccination to healthcare personnel, long term care patients and staff, and people 75 and older, and the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System is currently vaccinating high-risk Veterans, beginning with homeless Veterans, dialysis, transplant patients, chemotherapy patients, and Veterans over 70 years of age. 

 

On Wednesday, County officials announced that healthcare providers across Santa Clara County will expand access to COVID-19 vaccination to county residents who work in education and childcare, emergency services, and the food and agriculture industries, starting February 28, 2021.  The latest updates on vaccine eligibility and how to schedule an appointment are available on the County’s website at [sccfreevax.org]sccfreevax.org, including information on when those newly eligible can start to schedule vaccine appointments.  Residents without internet access or who need additional assistance can call 211 for assistance in multiple languages.  Appointments fill up quickly, but new appointments will be regularly released as vaccine supply allows, and community members are encouraged to check regularly.

 


 

Simplified COVID Testing Through Saliva Collection

Over the weekend, the County announced that the County’s COVID-19 pop-up testing sites in Santa Clara County will be switching to testing via saliva specimen.  Saliva collection simplifies the logistics of COVID-19 testing and is less invasive, providing a faster and easier experience for residents.  Please be aware that individuals cannot eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum thirty minutes before saliva collection for accurate results, and that as with all testing sites, there is always a staff member available to provide assistance as needed.

 

County COVID Testing Locations

The community testing program operated by Santa Clara Valley Medical Center continues to offer extensive drop-in and appointment-based COVID-19 testing at several locations across the county.  Residents can book an appointment for the Fairgrounds or the various rotating city sites, and appointments can be made in VietnameseChineseSpanish, or English.  

 

Visit www.sccfreetest.org to search for an available site by City or Date, or to see the complete list of available County testing sites.

 

Additional Community-Based and State-Operated Testing Options

Roots Community Health Center and Gardner Health Services continue to organize free, community-based drop-in COVID-19 testing events every Wednesday.  Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) provides similar community-based testing every Friday at their Story Road site.  No appointments are necessary, and all individuals are served regardless of insurance or immigration status. 

  • Gardner Health Services: Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1700 Alum Rock Avenue, San José, 95116. Testing offered Wednesday from 1pm to 7pm. For more information, call 408-457-7100.
  • AACI Health Center: Story Road Clinic: 749 Story Rd, #50, San Jose CA 95122. Testing offered Friday from 9am-12pm. For more information, call 408-975-2763.

 

In addition, there are several testing sites now operated OptumServe, a State contractor.  These sites are free but require appointments.  Visit here or call (888) 634-1123 to schedule an appointment:

  • Independence High School (drive through): 617 N. Jackson Ave., San José. Testing offered Sunday through Friday from 7am to 7pm.
  • Mount Pleasant High School (drive through): 1750 S. White Road, San José. Testing offered Monday through Saturday from 7am to 7pm.
  • Gilroy Civic Center: 7351 Church St., Gilroy.  Testing offered Friday through Tuesday from 7am to 7pm. 
  • Gavilan College:  Social Science Building, 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd, Gilroy CA  95020. Testing offered Tuesday through Thursday from 7 am to 7 pm
  • Grange in Morgan Hill:  40 E 4th Street, Morgan Hill CA  95037. Testing offered Friday from 7 am to 7 pm.
  • James Lick High School: 2951 Alum Rock Ave., San José. Testing offered Tuesday through Saturday from 7am to 7pm. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Nick Ut Receives National Medal of Arts by President Donald Trump

 


Vietnamese-American photojournalist Nick Ut received the National Medal of Arts from President Donald Trump this week for his work during the Vietnam War.  He spent his entire career of 51 years with AP until his retirement in 2017 and currently resides in LA. 


The National Medal of Arts is an award and titled created by the US Congress in 1984 as the highest honor given to an artists and arts patrons by the US government.  In giving him the award, President Donald Trump noted in the announcement:

" .....for his decades of contributions to wartime photojournalism. Through his lens, Ut captures moments in time that remind us of the horrors of conflict. His most famous photograph, “The Terror of War,” is a permanent reminder of the past and an inspiration for a peaceful future...."

Nick Ut, 69, is best known of his Pulitzer Prize winning photograph titled " Terror of War" capturing children fleeing a napalm bombing mistakenly dropped by the South Vietnamese air force near a Trang Bang during the Vietnam War.  The burned and screaming naked 9 year-old girl, Phuc Kim Phan, became known as " Napalm Girl".  


The image, taken on June 8, 1972, became a symbol of brutality of war and US involvement in VN.  It is considered one of the most memorable and iconic photographs of the 20th century.   In 1973, the Pulitzer committee awarded him its prize and made him the first Vietnamese to win a Pulitzer Prize award.  His picture is viewed by those who supported the Vietnam conflict as a symbol of anti-war. In the same year, the US ended its involvement in Vietnam.  

Before he submitted his picture to the office, he took the girl to the hospital.  She survived the third - degree burn and they became long time friends.  She immigrated to Canada with her husband in 1992.



Shortly after his retirement, Nick donated his famous photo to Vietnamese Women's Museum in Ha Noi,  along with a Nikkomat camera he used during his time covering the Vietnam War. 






Monday, January 11, 2021

Let Us Make America Great Again !

 

Now that the majority of the country has witnessed the power President Donald Trump and his "Make America Great Again" jingoism to stir false patriotic pride and assault with impunity on  America most treasured symbol - Democracy,  the political sentiment appears to be swinging away from the Republican Party nationwide.  Trump, in his devilish fashion, also manages to besmirch an iconic slogan of one of the most popular Republican presidents.



Here in Santa Clara County where Biden won over 72% of the votes, the Vietnamese-American for Trump contingence has still not given up.  One group led by Truong Vu and  Lillian Dang with the support of ex- police chief of the former Vietnam regime, Binh Nguyen, demonstrated in front of the Vietnamese-American Heritage Garden with the banner demanding for martial law to reclaim the presidency for Trump.  Some went to Washington D.C. to join in the protest on January 6th.   The elderly Vietnamese-Americans in San Jose were and still are very vocal in attesting their enthusiasm and devotion for Trump.   They continue to espouse whatever Trump and his conspirators and extreme right-wing operatives propagate on their media outlets.  





These folks earnestly believe that Trump and his "Make America Great Again" policy will prevent America from becoming a socialist country as promoted by the Democrats,  and stop the expansion of China in America and domination worldwide.  Even the Vietnamese media in San Jose buys into such rhetoric  and repeat whatever information that they could get on right-wing "news" outlets.   

And by fervently believing and accepting Trump's propaganda, they are also fallen to a path of racial bias and hatred.  Nam Pham, a long time devout Republican and the owner of Dan Sinh Media, even went as far as writing an open letter to the community to discredit the Black Lives Matter as ungrateful group of colored people trying to take advantage of  "isolated  deaths and incidences" to stir things up for their own agenda.  When asked about his facts, he simply forwarded a YouTube video made by a white supremacist group claiming that Black Lives Matter movement is trying to plunge the country into chaos so that black people can take over the government.

There is generational clash among the younger Vietnamese-American generation and their parents and grandparents.  The younger generation is trying their best to combating fake news and hatred propaganda created by Trump's vicious lies and deceptions.  They created Viet Fact Check site to combat fake news.  They rallied using social media and old fashion campaign to turn out the votes for Democratic candidates in key swing states like GA and PA.   

However, there have to be more efforts in the community for Trump will not stop his absurdity even out of office.  The drum beats for the insurrection against the US government and Biden administration continue on. 

"All politics is local", as the legendary former Speaker of House Tip O'Neill once coined.  On January 6th, 2021, the mobs (and there were a few Vietnamese-Americans among) not only broke down doors, shattered glass, defaced the hallow building that housed American democracy, disrupted the legislature session doing the people's business and killed police officers, but worse they have violently trampled on the most sacred principle that our country was founded on.  They came from all over America believing that what they are allowed to do in their local hometowns that harbor and tolerance for such lies and hatred are acceptable. 



The dire consequences of selfishness and cynicism need to be confronted more than ever.  President Trump sought to overturn a fair election by fermenting a coup misleading people with lies that are often reinforced by local elected officials that help further his treachery.    Mobs and authoritarian leaders like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Trump are always afraid of being called out and exposed for what they are because so much of their power comes from social connectedness / perceived populism, and treating them as if they are respectable reinforce their power.    It is time for elected officials, who are against such despicable assaults on our Constitution and the democracy for which it was founded, to not grant any legitimacy to Trump supporters, even at the risk of losing a few votes to these mobs.   

Words do matter.  It is easier to deceive people with lies than to convince them with truth.   But  "Enough is enough",  these 3 simple words echoed the sentiment of many as the once ardent supporter of Trump, South Carolina Senator Graham (R) uttered them in outrage against Trump and his insurrection against the US government.   

Our democracy has been tampered, trampled and desecrated.  It will take courage to hold people accountable, and steadfast determination to grant no legitimacy to those who threaten our democracy with lies, violence and blindly follow the sedition path of Trump.


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Free Covid-19 Testing in Santa Clara County

 County Testing Locations – Week of January 11th  

The community testing program operated by Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) continues to offer extensive drop-in and appointment-based COVID-19 testing at several locations across the county.  Residents can book an appointment for the Fairgrounds or the various rotating city sites in VietnameseChineseSpanish, or English. See below for this week’s schedule or visit www.sccfreetest.org for additional information.  

 

Drop-in Testing – Walk-Up:

·        Emmanuel Baptist Church: 467 N. White Road, San José

  • Tuesday, January 12 through Friday, January 15 from 11am to 5:30pm

·        South County Annex (formerly Del Buono Elementary): 9300 Wren Avenue, Gilroy

  • Monday, January 11 through Friday, January 15 from 10am to 4:30pm

·        San Ysidro Park: 7700 Murray Ave., Gilroy

  • Wednesday, January 13 from 11am to 5:30pm

 

Appointment-Based Testing – Drive-through/Walk-Up/Bike Access:

·        Santa Clara County Fairgrounds – Lot A – 344 Tully Road, San Jose, parking lot across from Gate B and across from the Blue Arch

·        Mondays, 7am -3pm

·        Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 7am to 6:30pm

·        Fridays, 11am to 6:30pm

·        Saturdays and Sundays, 9am to 3:30pm

 

Appointment-Based Testing – Walk-up:

·        Sunnyvale, Murphy Park, 260 N. Sunnyvale Ave., Sunnyvale

  • Monday, January 119:30am – 4pm

·        Morgan Hill, Council Chamber Building, 17555 Peak Ave., Morgan Hill

  • Tuesday, January 129:30am – 4pm

·        Santa Clara, Central Park Library, 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara

  • Wednesday, January 139:30am – 4pm

·        Saratoga, Friendship Hall, 19848 Prospect Road, Saratoga

  • Thursday, January 149:30am – 4pm

·        Milpitas, Milpitas Sports Center, 1325 E. Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas

  • Friday, January 159:30am – 4pm

 

Additional Community-Based and State-Operated Testing Options

Roots Community Health Center and Gardner Health Services continue to organize free, community-based drop-in COVID-19 testing events every Wednesday.  Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) provides similar community-based testing every Friday at their Story Road site.  See below for specific testing locations.  No appointments are necessary and all individuals are served regardless of insurance or immigration status.  In addition, there are 4 testing sites now operated OptumServe, a State contractor.  The drive through sites previously run by Verily’s Project Baseline at Independence and Mount Pleasant High Schools have been transferred to OptumServe.  These sites are free, but require appointments. 

  • Roots Community Health Center: Antioch Baptist Church parking lot, 268 E. Julian St, San José, 95112. COVID-19 testing offered every Wednesday from 10am to 3pm. For more information or to pre-register see here or call 408-490-4710.
  • Gardner Health Services: Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1700 Alum Rock Avenue, San José, 95116. Testing offered every Wednesday from 1pm to 7pm. For more information, call 408-457-7100.
  • AACI Health Center: Story Road Clinic: 749 Story Rd, #50, San Jose CA 95122. Testing offered every Friday from 9am-12pm. For more information, call 408-975-2763.
  • OptumServe Sites - Visit here or call (888) 634-1123 to schedule an appointment:
    • Independence High School (drive through): 617 N. Jackson Ave., San José. Testing offered Sunday through Friday from 7am to 7pm.
    • Mount Pleasant High School (drive through): 1750 S. White Road, San José. Testing offered Monday through Saturday from 7am to 7pm.
    • Gilroy Civic Center: 7351 Church St., Gilroy.  Testing offered Friday through Tuesday from 7am to 7pm. 
    • James Lick High School: 2951 Alum Rock Ave., San José. Testing offered Tuesday through Saturday from 7am to 7pm. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Free Flu Shots

 


President Trump in Tough Race Despite Strong Support from His Base

 


With two weeks to go, the presidential election for the soul of America is on its final leg.   The incumbent, President Donald Trump, has 4 years to prove that he can lead this nation in time of peace and crisis.

Mimicking the old playing book of former President Ronald Reagan " Let's Make America Great Again",  Trump lost the general election by almost 2% (about 3 million) in 2016 but won key states that were traditionally Democrat.  He dealt Hillary Clinton a crushing blow with a landslide in electoral votes, 232 to 306.  

He won Wisconsin by 0.7%, Michigan by 0.3% (11,000 votes out of 5.1 million ballots cast) and Pennsylvania by 0.7%.   If he had lost these three states, Clinton would have won, 278 to 260.  The black turnout in Michigan and Pennsylvania felled more than 7%.  In her new documentary, "To Become",  Michelle Obama lamented: "...So the day I left the White House and wrote about how painful it was to sit on it [inauguration] step. Many of our people did not vote. It was almost like a slap in the face. "   

So after 4 years of constant hard ball politics from the Oval Office and the privilege of a presiding president with a hard core and enthusiastic base of voters,  the reality is settling in.  LSI is seeing the following trends:

Barring anything extraordinary and Biden coming down with viral infection and cannot campaign accordingly,  President Trump is in for a tough race.  All national polling shows he is about 8% behind.  But what about the key states that will ultimately determine the necessary electoral votes needed to win.  Trump is trailing in Wisconsin  by 11% , Michigan by 7% and Pennsylvania by 6%.  These three states alone if Biden wins will give him 278 votes.  This is with the assumption the blue states in 2016 will hold for Biden.  The candidate only needs 270 votes to win.

What makes it more challenging is AZ is leaning for Biden and Florida is a dead heat.  North Carolina, a bastion of Republican strong hold, is also up for grab.  

The groups that Trump has relied on, white seniors and household women are not convinced he can provide the stability that the country needs.  The Vietnamese American voters are the only Asian-American group that has shown strong support for him.  But most are living in California and Trump is 31% behind in the state. 

 Trump's command of shrewd political tactics and his pop cultural understanding of the white's sentiments have propelled him into a historical president and presidency.

Whether the voters will allow him to continue, it will be decided on November 3rd and Las Vegas odds are against him for now.  But for a man who filed bankruptcy 6 times in his career to wipe of his debts, he still has many tricks up his sleeve to file bankruptcy another time to run the table on Biden and wins his second term.

 









Santa Clara County COVID-19 Vaccine Update

  COVID-19 Cases in Santa Clara County This past week, the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department reported 65 more individuals in th...