Los Angeles

LAFD Firefighters Recovering After Positive Test For Coronavirus, Department Taking Extra Precautions

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Two Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters are recovering Wednesday after testing positive for COVID-19. Nearly 80 LAFD personnel have been tested for coronavirus starting last week, according to LAFD spokesman Nicholas Prange. Only firefighters who “had symptoms consistent” with COVID-19 were tested, Prange said. Both firefighters who tested positive are currently at home recovering. LAFD Capt. Erik Scott says COVID-19 is impacting the way the department responds to emergency calls. “If it’s a suspected COVID-19 patient, that 911 dispatcher will notify that member arriving on scene by ambulance or fire engine to don additional personal equipment to ensure they are safe,” said Scott. Once fire crews are dispatched, Scott says they will take additional steps to protect patients and themselves. “We will use a ‘one in, one out’ rule,” he explained. “What that means is one firefighter will be inside near that patient talking to them and asking questions and getting a history, doing that from 6 feet away.”

Actress Lori Loughlin, husband ask judge to toss college bribery charges, citing ‘extraordinary’ prosecutor misconduct

“Full House” Actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and other prominent parents urged a judge Wednesday to dismiss charges against them in the college admissions bribery case, accusing prosecutors of “extraordinary” misconduct. Defense attorneys for the the famous couple and other parents still fighting the charges say the case cannot stand because investigators bullied their informant into lying and then concealed evidence that would bolster the parents’ claims of innocence. “The extraordinary government misconduct presented in this case threatens grave harm to defendants and the integrity of this proceeding. That misconduct cannot be ignored,” the lawyers wrote. The U.S. attorney’s office in Boston declined Wednesday to comment. Loughlin and Giannulli are scheduled to go on trial in October on charges that they paid $500,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew recruits even though neither girl was a rower. Prosecutors say they snapped photos of the girls sitting on rowing machines to help make fake athletic profiles that portrayed them as star athletes. Six other wealthy parents accused of participating in the scheme will stand trial alongside them. Another six parents…

Volunteers deliver food and supplies to Boyle Heights seniors

Health officials are warning seniors, who appear to be the most vulnerable group to the novel coronavirus, to stay at home. While some stores are opening early to accommodate their old shoppers, many seniors are not able to leave their homes at all. Fred Huguez, a volunteer with LA City Kids, is working to help those seniors. With the help of the Los Angeles Police Department, the L.A. City Council and other community members, Huguez is putting together a list of vulnerable seniors in the Boyle Heights area who could use help getting groceries. “I just thought it was the right thing to do,” Huguez said. “They’re probably scared and worried.” People are donating food and supplies, and volunteers have delivered nearly 130 bags so far. A senior who had to walk home after getting her groceries had to choose between getting water or eggs, so she chose water. “When she saw we brought eggs, she started crying,” Huguez said. Matilde Vera is another volunteer who is thinking of those who don’t have family members to help them out. “I have the time. I know…

SoCal Navy vet freed from Iranian prison is sick with COVID-19 symptoms, seeks transfer to U.S.

A Navy veteran released from an Iranian prison last week on a medical furlough says he is sick with symptoms of the coronavirus and is requesting a humanitarian evacuation to the United States for medical treatment. Michael White was hospitalized Wednesday in a ward for coronavirus patients in Iran and has experienced fever, fatigue, a cough and shortness of breath since his furlough last week, according to a statement from Jon Franks, a family spokesman, to The Associated Press. White, of Imperial Beach, California, “is an immunocompromised cancer patient and his situation is urgent,” Franks said. White has been tested for the coronavirus but the results have not come back. #FreeMikeWhite has been admitted to the hospital in Iran with symptoms consistent with #covid19. Tonight, at Joanne’s request, @GovRichardson delivered the family’s request for an immediate medical evacuation directly to senior Iranian officials. pic.twitter.com/nmN07Fms6T— Free Michael White (@FreeMikeWhite) March 26, 2020 White was detained in July 2018 while visiting a girlfriend in Iran and was later convicted of insulting Iran’s supreme leader and posting private information. He is among tens of thousands of prisoners granted…

Los Angeles Man Accused Of Soliciting Investments For Fake Coronavirus Cure

EL SEGUNDO (CBSLA) — A Los Angeles man is accused of posting videos on social media fraudulently claiming that he developed both a pill that would not only cure, but prevent, the novel coronavirus in an attempt to solicit funds from investors. Federal investigators said 53-year-old Keith Middlebrook who claims to have homes in Newport Beach, Murrieta and Westwood promised investors massive profits for an unproven treatment he claimed to have created. Federal prosecutors allege Keith Middlebrook, 53, attempted to solicit funds from investors by posting on social media about a fake coronavirus cure. (Credit: Keith Middlebrook/Instagram) “Not only did I create the cure, but this pill right here is the prevention,” Middlebrook said in a video posted to Instagram. More than two million people watched Middlebrook’s YouTube and Instagram videos, where authorities said he falsely claimed to have developed a COVID-19 prevention pill and a cure for those already infected. RELATED: Coronavirus: 3 New Deaths In LA County, CDC Reviewing Lancaster Case United States Attorney Nic Hanna said via FaceTime that Middlebrook was a cruel scam artist who allegedly used fear of the growing…

Attorneys urge federal judges to free thousands of California inmates during outbreak

Attorneys representing California inmates late Wednesday filed an emergency motion asking federal judges to free thousands of infirm and lower-security prisoners to prevent what they predict will otherwise be the catastrophic spread of coronavirus through a vulnerable population. They want the judges to order the release of inmates who are at higher risk for complications from the disease, as well as nonviolent offenders who are within a year of being paroled. So far, one inmate and nine employees have tested positive. But every day without action is “another lost opportunity to mitigate the effects of what we know is going to be a severe calamity,” said Don Specter, director of the nonprofit Prison Law Office and one of the attorneys filing the request. Corrections officials and spokesmen for Gov. Gavin Newsom did not immediately comment. Newsom on Tuesday ended transfers into state prisons from county jails for 30 days, an order expected to reduce the population by more than 5,000 inmates. But he ruled out the release of violent offenders and said he fears other wholesale releases would add to problems in already strained community…

Officials: Missing couple found dead near Big Bear-area hiking trail both died of suicide

The deaths of a man and woman found along a trail near Big Bear Lake after they were reported missing earlier this year were ruled a double suicide, officials said Wednesday. Ria Gabriella Williams, a 27-year-old Santa Ana resident, and her boyfriend, 29-year-old Paul Arthur Stockwell Jr. of Big Bear, were found Feb. 3 about half a mile up the Cougar Crest Trail, on the north side of the lake. At the time, authorities did not reveal any information about what sort of injuries the couple had suffered. Autopsy results revealed Wednesday showed Williams died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Stockwell also died of a gunshot wound, and although coroner’s investigators were unable to determine his manner of death, detectives found evidence consistent with him also committing suicide, San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials said in a news release. A gun recovered at the scene was registered to Stockwell, deputies said. The pair was last seen in Big Bear on Jan. 29. A coworker reported Williams missing two days later when she failed to show up for work, and Stockwell’s father later reported him missing. At…

L.A.-area man arrested for lying about COVID-19 prevention pill and cure; charged in 1st federal case stemming from pandemic

A 53-year-old man was arrested Wednesday for falsely claiming to have developed a coronavirus prevention pill and an injectable cure for those infected, officials said. Keith Lawrence Middlebrook – who is associated with several addresses, including residences in Westwood, Newport Beach and Murrieta — was charged with one count of attempted wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said in a news release Wednesday. Middlebrook was arrested Wednesday after a criminal complaint was filed with the United States District Court in Los Angeles, officials said, alleging that he claimed to have personally developed a “patent-pending cure” and a treatment to prevent COVID-19, which he planned to mass produce. Health officials have said there is not yet an antiviral treatment or vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Middlebrook was arrested during an undercover operation, in which an agent was posing as an investor for the alleged coronavirus prevention pills, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He claimed to the undercover agent that a $300,000 investment would bring in $30 million, a promise that was allegedly secured by a “current $10 billion offer from…

Conejo Valley Unified School District, USC Fall Victim To ‘Zoombombing’

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Parents, students and board members were on a video conference call Tuesday night when hackers took over and posted lewd and racist content. “It was scary, to be honest with you,” Megan Goebel said. “You just didn’t know what was going to pop up next.” Goebel, a mother of two, was watching her local school board meeting on Zoom when a group of unidentified people joined the video conference call. “First they just said stuff like, ‘We’re just here to talk about racism,’” she said. “And then the screen started flashing things like swastikas and pornography.” The hackers were able to gain control of the computer screen and started targeting the school board members. “So they would say somebody’s name, and then they would say, ‘You know, if we were able to get in our your call, we can find out where you live. We can come to your house and do things to your kids.’” Conejo Valley Unified School District had publicized the link to the Zoom video conference online so anyone in the public could watch the board meeting,…

Garcetti Tells City Departments to Take Further Actions against Coronavirus

Share this article:Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday he has authorized city department heads to take “any action necessary within their budgets” to obtain materials, construction equipment, services and anything else that can help keep people safe during the coronavirus pandemic. “This might sound small, but this is a big deal,” Garcetti said. “We haven’t just reduced red tape. We’ve completely eliminated it. That means that (Recreation) and Parks staff at emergency shelters can get hand sanitizers more quickly. It means that workers at (Los Angeles International Airport) can get vital personal protective equipment as they interface with travelers coming in from around the world.” Garcetti said the city has no plans to lay off any of its staff, saying such a move would only exacerbate the crisis. The state of California announced Wednesday that more than 1 million people have filed for unemployment since the Safer at Home orders were issued. More than 1,000 city employees have been working during the pandemic as part of the Los Angeles Disaster Service Worker Program, Garcetti said. Garcetti said based on data he’s received, Los Angeles…

Cases Increase to 297 as City Council Halts Evictions

Share this article: The number of coronavirus cases in San Diego County reached 297 Wednesday, an increase of 55 from Tuesday, tying the highest day-over-day increase in COVID-19 cases so far. Of the nearly 300 positive-testing individuals, 59 have been hospitalized, with 29 of those patients listed as critical. The number of coronavirus deaths in San Diego County — two — remained unchanged. Dr. Eric McDonald, the county’s medical director of epidemiology, presented a bleak report at an afternoon briefing, stating that if social distancing is not maintained by the public, and cases double every three days, the county’s hospital beds will be filled by April 14. Even if the cases double every six days, healthcare providers are likely looking at full bed capacity by mid-May, he said. Of the 297 people in San Diego County with positive diagnoses, health officials said 277 are county residents and 20 are not. Men testing positive outnumbered women 185-112. Of the 59 patients who have been hospitalized, 57 are county residents. Twenty-eight of those hospitalized were in intensive care units, as was one non-county resident. Cases in patients…

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