We’ve got a few friends and family members involved in health care.

A favorite cousin is employed at a big midwestern hospital, in the cardiology department. She isn’t directly involved in care of COVID-19 patients, but she is there and sees and hears what’s going on. And it’s scary.

Healthcare professionals are getting burned out, worn out, used up. It doesn’t matter if they add a hundred beds to a facility to handle more coronavirus cases if you don’t have healthy, capable nurses and doctors to do the caring.

The thing I wonder about is, the healthcare industry is huge -- hospitals, nursing centers, clinics, etc. How does anyone in the U.S. or any other developed country not have some family member or friend who is involved in healthcare and could elicit some empathy? Could spread the word amongst their family about why they shouldn’t flout the protocols for flattening this latest curve?

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Adventist Health is joining up with a hundred other top healthcare systems -- representing thousands of hospitals, including Adventist Health/Rideout -- to make an urgent plea for all Americans to mask up.

“Because wearing a face mask is our nation’s best chance at slowing the surging COVID-19 pandemic now,” it was stated in a news release from Rideout.

“This is critically important for Yuba-Sutter,” said Adventist Health/Rideout President Rick Rawson in the press release. “People we love in our community are falling sick and are at risk of dying due to the coronavirus. Let’s all do our part and wear masks to protect each other.”

The current trends are daunting and frightening, and if the nation stays the current course hospital leaders are concerned that facilities will be overwhelmed as shortages of caregivers make it difficult to handle a rapidly increasing number of patients.

“The country has reached a tipping point. The power to do what is right is now in the hands of everyone everywhere.”

It was stated without reserve that masks slow the spread of COVID-19. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points to recent studies that have shown face masks successfully limit spread of the COVID-19 virus. Wearing face masks protects in key ways: by protecting the wearer against inhalation of harmful pathogens and particulates and by preventing exposure of those around the wearer.

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We feel confident that the Yuba Water Agency is doing what it feels it has to do in filing a lawsuit in state and federal courts recently to vacate requirements set by the State Water Resources Control Board.

YWA is in the process of relicensing its hydroelectric operations along the Yuba River. Those are the facilities that Yuba County voters went out on a limb for more than half a century ago; the hydropower facilities were turned over to the agency four years ago and are bringing 10s of millions in revenue to the county. And the county earned that revenue.

The requirements of the state board could winnow away that revenue -- uselessly, according to YWA. They say that the requirements could cost from $500 million to $1 billion over the next 50 years, the usual length of a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

YWA personnel say the requirements are unfair and that they have reached out to the board to settle the dispute with no response. A state board spokesperson said the lawsuit came as a surprise, and hopes to avoid expensive litigation ...

We’re sure YWA would like to avoid litigation, too. We’re also sure YWA is doing all it can to maximize benefits to Yuba County and is taking steps it deems appropriate.

Hopefully the filings will garner the attention from the state needed to actually resolve the conflict.

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Ugh: I’m working ahead on my list of New Year’s resolutions and I’m thinking of adding this: I’m going to practice being less condescending. (“Condescending” is when you talk down to people.)

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