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CA Health Director Steps Down as Ongoing Testing Data Questions Leave Many in Limbo

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Plus: Redbird’s brunch is back, an update on Thai Town’s food hall, and an upstart bakery heads for Santa Monica next month

California Faces First Case Of “Community Acquired” Coronavirus
Dr. Sonia Angell
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California’s top public health leader, Dr. Sonia Angell, abruptly resigned her position over the weekend, causing a late-Sunday stir and raising further questions about the state’s ongoing issues to effectively track coronavirus testing data. Dr. Angell is the director of the California Department of Public Health and “was considered a key player in the coordination with local public health departments across the state,” per the LA Times, often appearing alongside governor Gavin Newsom in statewide press conferences.

But with ongoing issues surrounding the processing and dissemination of crucial testing data between the state’s database and county officials — leading to a “significant” undercounting that could number in the hundreds of thousands — it now appears that Angell has moved on. California Health and Human Services Agency secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said on Friday that an investigation into the stalled data flow was ongoing, with results that could have a massive impact on how counties handle ongoing closures and slow reopenings in nearly every industry, particularly restaurants and hospitality. Now Ghaly, Newsom, and the state’s governing body will have to find a new public health director, too.

And in other news:

  • There’s long been word of a food hall meant for Thai Town, one that would offer food from local chefs eager to expand inexpensively into something more. Those plans have taken years to develop and are on shaky ground now as a result of the pandemic, but The LAnd Magazine says the dream is still alive for the woman who has been pushing the idea for nearly 15 years.
  • Homeboy Industries has been given a $2.5 million award from the Hilton Foundation, ensuring the food-focused non-profit can remain in business for the foreseeable future.
  • Young Westside at-home bread baker Jyan Isaac is opening his own retail location soon, according to What Now LA. The address is 1622 Ocean Park; expect arrival next month.
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  • Prepared food vendors at LA’s many farmers markets have been hit particularly hard by the ongoing pandemic, reports the LA Times.
  • Colin Kaepernick has donated 4,500 Impossible faux meat patties to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, per Black Enterprise.
  • Brunch is back at Redbird in Downtown, perhaps the restaurant with the most available patio space anywhere in the neighborhood. The return happens this Sunday and runs weekends only from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Here’s the brunch menu.
  • Botanica in Silver Lake has a new pivot, this time to kabob-focused party packs for takeaway, along with continuing to sell produce and lots of natural wine through the summer. Hours are noon to 8 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.

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