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For California Health Centers, Access to Power Remains Open Question

Doctors used headlamps to see patients during most recent round of blackouts in Northern California communities. It may not be the last time.

Power outages continued this month for residents of Northern California. Health facilities in the area have faced challenges for patients depending on power, and suffering health consequences with a lack of it. (Photo by Pok Rie from Pexels)
Power outages continued this month for residents of Northern California. Health facilities in the area have faced challenges for patients depending on power, and suffering health consequences with a lack of it. (Photo by Pok Rie from Pexels)

This week, 144,000 residents in Northern California were knocked off the grid in the latest round of planned public safety power shut-offs by utility PG&E. Last month, the company cut power to more than 2 million customers in a move to prevent wildfires. The sweeping outages had unanticipated consequences, particularly for people’s health.

On this episode of our podcast, we sit down with Direct Relief journalist, Paul Sherer, who reported on the effects last month’s outages had on health centers. He spoke with multiple health centers in rural California that struggled to keep the lights on —and the water running.

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