COVID-19 Update for October 26, 2020 - news, information, new small business grants available, personal care service guidance and more

ROUND 6 GRANT OPPORTUNITY FROM THE LA COVID FUND: Round 6 of the LA COVID Fund Grant opens on Monday, October 26th at 12:00 AM PST and closes Friday, October 30th at 11:59 PM PST.

Good news! If you applied in Rounds 4 or 5, there is no need to re-apply. All applications from Round 4 and 5 will remain eligible for an award in Round  6. If you have not yet been selected as a finalist, there is still an opportunity for your application to be selected!From Fair 

Applications will be received starting Monday, October 26th. Applications are competitive.

Here is the link to apply:







From Fair Warning: The US has tallied the most new coronavirus cases in a week since a major summer outbreak, threatening to overwhelm hospitals in parts of the country just as voters head to the polls for one of the most hotly contested presidential elections in modern history.

The worst-hit region in the latest spike continued to be the Midwest, where some of the key battleground states in the presidential campaign posted record one-day increases in new infections on Friday. Those jumps pushed the nationwide tally to 83,010 new cases, according to the Covid Tracking Project, a record one-day rise.

The fall surge has gripped the country, CNN reports, and with people spending more time indoors experts expect the next few months to be the worst yet. There have been more than 8.4 million coronavirus infections in the U.S. and more than 223,000 people have died from the virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. As Newsweek reports, that’s a higher U.S. body count than for the wars in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and World War I combined.

Thursday marked two weeks without a reported COVID-19-related death in Pasadena. Eight new infections were documented, although four of them were older cases that had been added to the official tally from a state backlog, according to Pasadena spokeswoman Lisa Derderian. The city’s totals stood at 2,721 known infections and 129 fatalities, according to city data. The last death in the city due to the virus was reported on Oct. 8.

Huntington Hospital reported treating 25 COVID-19 patients on Thursday.

Pasadena personal care services such as tattoo and body art shops, massage therapists, esthetician services, electrology services, skin care service and estheticians received the OK to reopen indoors Friday, with safety precautions in place, as a 25% capacity cap on barbershops, hair salons and nail salons was lifted, officials said. Most personal services were not allowed indoors or at all by the city’s Public Health Order until it was modified on Friday, when they were cleared to resume business, “subject to all applicable health protocols,” according to the revised order. The policy is in line with the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” officials said. Esthetic and Skin Care Services had previously been allowed to resume operations, but only indoors.

Pearls Before Swine cartoon
Los Angeles County public health officials announced 3,600 new infections and 18 additional deaths on Thursday, but said the number of cases was inflated by about 2,000 due to a backlog in the data reporting system over the past few days. Backlogged cases were expected to be added to the daily tallies over the coming days, as well.

From Fair Warning: With new coronavirus cases rising again around the country, the next few months may be the "darkest of the pandemic," Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, warned this week. There have been more than 8.2 million cases in the U.S. and more than 220,000 deaths from Covid, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

However, as The New York Times’ David Leonhardt points out, part of the reason for a case count as high as the summer peak is that increased testing capacity is catching more mild cases and giving a fuller picture of the pandemic. Hospitalizations are still not at the previous peak, and deaths are holding mostly steady. Of course, if case numbers continue to rise and the spread of the virus continues unchecked, hospitalizations and deaths will likely go up as well.

New Yorker Cartoon
Also: The number of global cases has passed 40.5 million, with more than 1.1 million deaths. Ireland has again closed nonessential businesses to curb the spread, the first European country to do so.

From The Wall Street Journal: The U.S. economy grew at a “slight to modest” pace in the early fall, the latest indication that the economic recovery from the pandemic is slowing, a Federal Reserve report said Wednesday.

The report found that the recovery was proceeding on separate tracks, with the man-ufacturing, residential housing and banking industries report- ing steady growth, while con- sumer spending and commercial real estate remained weak.

The report painted a picture of a disjointed employment situation, where many companies continued to lay off some workers, while struggling to recruit others. Employers blamed the labor situation on worker health concerns and on a lack of access to child care. Many companies have raised wages or offered flexible work arrangements in response.


From the California Center for Jobs and the Economy: As California resumes reporting the weekly results, initial claims in the regular unemployment insurance program were down for both the state and nation. Initial claims in the week of October 17 in California fell 9.8% from the newly reported prior week. Initial claims nationally dropped 8.8% from the revised unadjusted numbers that incorporate the California results.

In the new numbers now available to fill the 3-week data gap, initial PUA claims by the self-employed showed the strongest change, dropping to

Unemployment table by county tiers
a quarter of the claims filed in the week just prior to EDD’s pull back and 6% of the peak filing week. While at least some portion of the peak experienced towards the end of August in this program likely was from fraudulent or otherwise ineligible claims both intentional and unintentional—a situation that was a likely outcome as with any other government program offering new benefits in a hurried administrative roll out—there are other economic and regulatory factors that likely explain contributors to that surge as well as discussed in our prior weekly reports on the program. The extreme drop in the number of initial claims is likely the result of the new message of fraud enforcement surrounding this program, potentially reducing the number of otherwise eligible applicants for this new emergency assistance. In addition to self-employed, independent contractors, and business owners, eligible applicants are others who do not qualify for the regular UI program, including:

  • Persons who cannot work because they are caring for a dependent whose school or care facility has closed due to COVID-19.
  • Persons with a limited work history.
  • Persons who have used all their regular UI benefits as well as any extended benefits.
  • Persons who have been diagnosed or who are seeking a diagnosis for COVID-19, been told to self-quarantine, have a family member diagnosed with COVID-19, or have become the main income provider due to a COVID-19 death in their household.


Childcare responsibilities continues to be a significant source of voluntary unemployment as decisions on school reopenings remain in flux in

Unemployment claims chart
much of the state, especially for lower wage workers unable to sustain employment through telecommuting either due to the nature of their job or due to restrictions from California-only regulations. The number of persons exhausting their regular benefits is also looming as a more significant factor as long-term unemployment increases. The recently released EDD data shows a total of 709,904 applications over the past 4 weeks for the new Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation providing extended benefits.

The essentially stabilized level of total initial claims over the past four weeks is consistent with the recent September labor force numbers that show a slowing in the state’s economic recovery. Claims have leveled off around an average of about 190,000 a week as workers end temporary jobs, employers adjust employment levels to the lengthening of the crisis, businesses especially small businesses close, and as temporary layoffs continue to shift to permanent. Both employment and jobs growth have slowed in the last two months, and further progress in cutting the number of initial claims will require a stronger surge in jobs to employ these workers. In the latest results using the October 19 adjustments from the Department Public Health, 87.8% of unemployed workers in September are in counties under the top two, most restrictive tiers. Substantial changes in the current initial claims trends are unlikely until this situation eases.

As of October 21, EDD reported an initial claims backlog affecting 331,492 workers, down from 451,724 on October 7. At the current rate from

Change in umemployment claims chart
the prior 7 days, it would take 33 days to eliminate the backlog entirely. The backlog in processing continuing claims stood at another 773,928 workers, down from 889,871 from October 7. At the current prior week’s rate, retiring this backlog would take 196 days. The charts below contain the daily backlog numbers for unique claimants, with some workers having more than one claim in the backlog. EDD defines the initial claims backlog as those that have taken more than 21 days from filing to issue the first payment or disqualification, regardless of whether action by the claimant or EDD is required. The continued claims backlog covers those that have received at least one payment and are now waiting more than 21 days for processing of further payment or disqualification.