Butte County Latinos hit hardest by pandemic City of Gridley now claims 35 percent of county's total cases

Butte County Public Health says 41 percent of the total COVID-19 cases, through June, were people identifying as Hispanic.

by Leslie Layton

Butte County’s Latino residents are becoming infected with COVID-19 at an alarmingly disproportionate rate, a reflection of the disparities surfacing throughout the nation that show low-income, immigrant and other minority communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

Figures released earlier this week to ChicoSol in response to a Public Records Act request show that people identifying as Hispanic comprised 41 percent of 164 Butte County residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 through June 28. Latinos and/or Hispanics make up less than 15 percent of the county’s population, according to estimates, but belong to what is by far the county’s largest minority group. read more

Ineligible for government relief, unauthorized workers suffer Nonprofits overwhelmed by need

photo courtesy of NorCal Resist
A volunteer for NorCal Resist delivers food to an immigrant family.

by Leslie Layton

Until disaster struck, Susana and her husband were employed by two Chico restaurants, supporting their three children by working in food preparation and dishwashing.

They paid social security and other taxes, but when the restaurants that employed them were closed two months ago as part of the state-mandated shelter-in-place, there was no government relief available for the family.

As undocumented immigrants, they were ineligible for unemployment insurance or a stimulus check. Financial assistance to undocumented immigrants nationwide – many of whom perform services deemed essential, and in doing so, are subject to possible virus exposure – has largely been left to grass-roots, charitable organizations that struggle to keep up with a deluge of requests for help. read more

Caravan to Butte County will assist immigrants Many will receive no relief from the government

photo courtesy of NorCal Resist

Sacramento-based NorCal Resist is asking for food and cash donations and gift cards for its May 16 Car Caravan to Butte County that will provide emergency pandemic assistance to immigrant families ineligible for government aid.

NorCal Resist organizer Autumn Gonzalez said many of the immigrant families that will be assisted with cash for rent or in other ways are Camp Fire survivors who contacted the organization’s hotline. read more

Farmers Market keeps many vendors in business Some are struggling with the effects of the pandemic

photo by Karen Laslo
Emma Harris works her Pine Creek Flowers booth April 25, abiding by public health guidelines Farmers Market has adopted.

by Leslie Layton

For Emma Harris, the past five weeks of pandemic have meant a hard hustle.

She’s had to fashion a new business model in just weeks to keep her Chico flower farm, Pine Creek Flowers, afloat.

As the pandemic set in, she saw that her market sales were going to plummet; the spring opening of the Thursday Night Market was postponed and the Saturday crowd at the downtown Farmers Market was smaller. She says she didn’t qualify for a loan from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program; Pine Creek Flowers doesn’t have a payroll. read more

COVID-19 stimulus package produces mixed results for those in dire need No relief yet for undocumented immigrants

EMS photo
Stacie L. Walton

by Sunita Sohrabji
EMS Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, signed into law last month, offers little relief to millions of vulnerable immigrants and low-wage workers, said panelists during a media briefing here.

The CARES Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump March 27. It was intended to help millions of workers who have lost their jobs as shelter-in-place orders are implemented around the nation to mitigate the community spread of the novel coronavirus. The relief package also provides small businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program, allowing them to keep employees on payroll for up to eight weeks. read more

ChicoSol journalists capture 5 state awards Waddell honored for police shooting, Sites stories

photo courtesy of Sites Project Authority
A conceptual rendering of the Sites reservoir west of Maxwell. Dave Waddell’s first-place story was supported by an Ethnic Media Services fellowship.

ChicoSol contributor Dave Waddell has won four honors, including two first-place awards, and ChicoSol Editor Leslie Layton was named a second-place winner in the 2019 California Journalism Awards competition.

The results were announced Tuesday by the sponsoring California News Publishers Association, which cancelled its planned spring awards gala because of coronavirus risks.

Waddell captured top honors in the in-depth reporting category for a series of stories on law enforcement killings in Butte County. He also placed first in land-use reporting for an extensive story on the proposed Sites reservoir. read more