coronavirus

COVID TESTING OF TEACHERS, STAFF HOTLY DEBATED AS CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS REOPEN

By Barbara Feder Ostrov, CalMatters

CalMatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  parents and students mill around the McGaugh Elementary School parking lot during morning and afternoon changeover on Sept. 17. Los Alamitos Unified School District has reopened its elementary schools for hybrid in-person instruction with students attending either morning or afternoon sessions in the classroom in addition to distance learning. Photo by Tash Kimmell for CalMatters

September 26, 2020 (San Diego) - As schools throughout California tiptoe toward reopening, decisions about whether to routinely test teachers, staff and even students for the COVID-19 virus are proving controversial – and potentially costly. 


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COVID-19 COULD ACTIVATE LATENT TUBERCULOSIS

Up to 13 million people may have latent TB in the U.S, which could be activated by COVID-19. It worries an SDSU researcher and TB expert.

By Padma Nagappan, SDSU News Center

September 24, 2020 (San Diego) - For most of us in the United States, our only awareness of tuberculosis (TB) may be the skin patch test required to work or volunteer in schools or health care facilities. But that could change during the pandemic.


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STATE REJECTS COUNTY REQUEST TO EXCLUDE SDSU COVID CASES THAT COULD TRIGGER NEW RESTRICTIONS

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 17, 2020 (San Diego) – An outbreak of COVID-19 threatens to push San Diego County from the state’s red to the purple tier, a shift that could force temporary closure again of indoor operations at businesses including restaurants, worship services and gyms, also reducing capacity of retail stores to 25%.

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NEW STATE DATA SHOWS COUNTY SLIPPING TOWARD 'WIDESPREAD' COVID-19 TIER

By Christine Huard, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego News Association

Photo:  Based on data released by the state Sept. 8, San Diego County is headed toward “widespread” status, which will bring back restrictions. Map via https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/.

September 9, 2020 (San Diego) - State data released Tuesday shows San Diego County is regressing in its fight against COVID-19, with the number of new cases per 100,000 people reaching 6.9 and the percentage of positive tests at 4.2%, perilously close to slipping into the “widespread” tier like much of the rest of the state.


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WITH 184 COVID-19 CASES AT SDSU, COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER TELLS STUDENTS “STAY HOME” THIS LABOR DAY WEEKEND

Update Sept. 9, 2020:  With cases up to 286, Dr. Wooten has ordered SDSU students to shelter in place through Sept. 14
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
September 4, 2020 (San Diego) – Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s pubic health officer, today urged San Diego State University undergraduates to “stay home within their living units this weekend” after 184 students tested positive for COVID-19 in 14 campus-related groups in housing and gathering locations since Aug. 24. “If you have been to parties and social events, you need to get tested, now. And isolate until you get results,” Dr. Wooten added.

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NEAR-DROWNING INCIDENTS INCREASE IN CHILDREN DURING PANDEMIC

By Jose A. Alvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

August 28, 2020 (San Diego) - An increasing number of San Diego children have had to be rescued from private pools after nearly drowning, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced.


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'THIS CHANGE IN POLICY WILL KILL': SCIENTISTS, MEDICAL EXPERTS WARN OF DANGEROUS LOOSENING IN CDC'S COVID GUIDELINES

"This is a stunning betrayal of public health that will spread the pandemic and lead to more unnecessary deaths." 

By Lisa Newcomb, staff writer, Common Dreams, reprinted under a Creative Commons license

Photo:  Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), testifies during a U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the plan to research, manufacture and distribute a coronavirus vaccine, known as Operation Warp Speed, July 2, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

August 26, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - As the number of Covid-19 cases in the United States nears six million, and with more than 176,000 Americans dead from the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has quietly altered its coronavirus guidelines, worrying public health experts and raising suspicions among healthcare advocates that the moves are politically motivated.


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'GREAT PLATES’ TO CONTINUE, EXPAND MEAL DELIVERY TO HELP MORE ADULTS WITH HEALTH CONDITIONS

Source: County of San Diego

August 25, 2020 (San Diego) - More than 2,000 older adults in the “Great Plates Delivered” program will continue to receive three free and healthy meals a day. Launched in mid-May, the program is a collaboration between the County and 31 local restaurants. Now the County is expanding the service, originally for seniors with health conditions, to include all adults with a disability or health condition that puts them at higher risk from COVID-19.


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LA MESA COUNCIL WEIGHS CARE ACT RELIEF FOR BUSINESSES AND RENTERS, PLUS POSSIBLE SALE OF PARKING LOT NEAR RESTAURANTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Some businesses have been hard hit by both the pandemic shutdowns and business disruptions from looting, fires and vandalism

August 10, 2020 (La Mesa) -- On Tuesday, August 11, the La Mesa City Council will consider topics of major public interest at a 5 p.m. closed session followed by a 6 p.m. public meeting. 

At the closed session, for which the public can email comments by 4 p.m., includes potential sale of a public parking lot with meters behind the burned Randall Lamb building and behind many restaurants and businesses on La Mesa Blvd.  

Also on the closed session, council will hear details of housing planned for the former police station site being leased for development, including affordable housing units.  

At 6 p.m., Council will consider how to spend CARES Act relief funds due to the pandemic.  Staff has proposed renter relief as well as grants for small businesses and city costs. The Council majority previously voted against aid to businesses, so Councilman Kristine Alessio is urging the public to speak out if they want to see help provided for struggling small businesses in La Mesa, as other East County cities have already provided.

Below are details.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

VIRTUAL COUNTY BUDGET HEARINGS BEGIN MONDAY

The recommended budget plan is part of a two-year operational plan that will help determine how the County spends its resources.

Following Monday’s budget hearing, an evening hearing will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Budget deliberations and formal adoption of the first year of the budget plan are scheduled for 2 p.m. on Aug. 25.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

BUSINESSES MUST DISCLOSE COVID-19 OUTBREAKS TO WORKERS, BUT NO LONGER HAVE TO TEST MOST RETURNING EMPLOYEES

By Miriam Raftery

July 31, 2020 (San Diego) – Employers across San Diego County must now disclose to all employees if an outbreak of COVID 19, defined as three or more cases within 14 days, occurs at the workplace. The mandate was issued by Dr. Wilma Wooten, the County’s public health officer, NBC 7 reports.


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SHOULD I QUIT MY JOB? CALIFORNIA PARENTS GRAPPLE WITH EDUCATION IN A PANDEMIC

By Ricardo Cano and Lauren Hepler | CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  Kyla Hill, 5, left, Rebecca Hill, center, and Kaden Hill, 7, right, sit for a portrait at their home in Chico on July 23, 2020. Rebecca has to balance what's best for her children's education with their safety and that of her immuno-compromised husband. Photo by Salgu Wissmath for CalMatters

July 27, 2020 (San Diego) - They worry about who will care for the children and how far their education will slide.

They anxiously await details on what distance learning will actually look like this fall, hopeful but skeptical that there will be more structure and support than a spring of crisis education that left many dissatisfied.


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COUNTY HIRING HUNDREDS OF CASE INVESTIGATORS AS COVID-19 INFECTIONS SURGE

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  San Diego County employee Esma Al Sabag is doing contact tracing in English and Arabic. Photo courtesy County News Center

July 21, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County public health officials announced Monday the hiring of hundreds of additional case investigators as COVID-19 continued to surge with 453 new cases.


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SURVIVORS OF TORTURE VULNERABLE DURING PANDEMIC

 

By Kendra Sitton

 

July 21, 2020 (San Diego) - An estimated 35,000 torture survivors reside in San Diego County. Only one torture treatment agency is accredited to serve this vulnerable population in our county: Survivors of Torture, International. East County Magazine spoke with Survivors’ Community Relations Manager, Katrina Pimental, about their clients’ experiences during the pandemic. 

 

Many are facing job loss without access to government help. Mental health issues such as PTSD are triggered by lockdown measures which remind them of house arrest.  Many don’t qualify for CARES Act benefits and are struggling financially. Some have gone without food for days. Their asylum claims are in limbo. 

 

Our interview delved into these issues, as well as how the nonprofit is responding. 


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

HOTEL INDUSTRY REQUIRES MASKS ACROSS U.S., RELEASES TOP 5 TRAVEL SAFETY REQUIREMENTS

Face coverings, physical distancing to be standardized at hotels nationwide

 

Source: American Hotel & Lodging Association

 

Photo:  CC-ND via Bing

 

July 20, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) today released the “Safe Stay Guest Checklist” for guests on how to travel safely, also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide. This checklist is part of AHLA’s Safe Stay guidelines --an industry-wide, enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees. 


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COMMUNITY OUTBREAKS AND DEATHS FROM COVID19 CONTINUE TO CLIMB: COUNTY FALLS BEHIND ON CONTACT TRACING

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 18, 2020 (San Diego) – For those hoping to see businesses reopen soon and children head back to school, the latest COVID-19 data from San Diego County does not look promising.

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LEMON AID: LEMON GROVE APPROVES CARES ACT FUNDING TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES AND RECOUP COVID-19 COSTS TO CITY

Council also votes to place cannabis tax on ballot

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

July 14, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – By a unanimous vote, Lemon Grove’s City Council on July 7 approved a staff proposal for allocation of federal CARES Act funding. The city will receive $480,774 through the county and another $334,243 through the state. The lion’s share will be spent to help small businesses. A substantial portion will also offset city costs related to COVID-19, while a small sliver of the funds will be spent on homeless services.

 


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TEACHERS PRESS NEWSOM TO DELAY PHYSICAL SCHOOL REOPENING

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service (CA)
 
 
July 14, 2020 (Sacramento) -- The California Federation of Teachers is urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to delay physical reopening of schools and direct districts to go to distance learning until COVID-19 infections drop and safeguards are in place.

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AHEAD OF PEAK FIRE SEASON, GOVERNOR NEWSOM ANNOUNCES MORE FIREFIGHTING SUPPORT AMID COVID-19 PANDEMIC

In early season fires, major changes to emergency operations and sheltering have been made to protect firefighters and evacuees

Source: Governor’s Office

July 13, 2020 (Sacramento) – Governor Gavin Newsom visited McClellan Air Force Base on July 9 to highlight the state’s wildfire mitigation capabilities and discuss new efforts to protect emergency personnel and evacuees from COVID-19 during wildfires. 


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

2-1-1 SAN DIEGO OFFERS HELP WITH FOOD, HOUSING, UTILITY BILLS AND MORE DURING PANDEMIC

ECM interviews Meg Storer, Vice President, community and government relations at 2-1-1 San Diego, on programs and services available

By Helen Horvath

 

July 11, 2020 (San Diego) -- The answer to resolving many COVID-19 roadblocks faced by our community members can be found at 2-1-1 San Diego through its Community Information Exchange (CIE) ecosystem.


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SPRING VALLEY HAS WORST RATE OF COVID-19 TEST RESULTS IN COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: cc via Bing
 
July 10, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego County has released data showing the percentage of people who tested positive per each 100,000 in the population, as of July 8th. 

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RESTAURANT IN A DAY: COMMUNITY PITCHES IN TO HELP POPULAR RAMONA EATERY MOVE OUTSIDE

By Miriam Raftery
 
Update: Photo, left: Marinade on Main's parking lot has been transformed into an outdoor dining patio, thanks to the generosity of community members.
 
July 8, 2020 (Ramona) – When San Diego County Health officials ordered indoor restaurants closed effective yesterday, Vineyard Grant James owner Susanne Sapier leaped int action to help Marinade on Main, a farm-to-table fresh restaurant in Ramona, remain viable.  So she sent out an email to community members asking for help to create a “restaurant in a day” – in the parking lot.
 
The email asked community members to donate pop-up tents, umbrellas/shade coverings, tables, chairs, café lights, misters, ground covering, wall coverings such as lattices or antique doors, plants, large pots to hold plants or trees, and old furnishings to serve as a hostess station and stand for dishes.

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SAN DIEGO COUNTY REPORTS RECORD 578 CASES, 12 DEATHS AS VIRUS SURGE CONTINUES

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  San Diego County healthcare workers conduct COVID-19 testing at SDCCU Stadium. Photo by Chris Stone

July 8, 2020 (San Diego) - The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported a record 578 new cases of coronavirus and 12 more deaths Tuesday as the recent surge in infections continued.


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SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT FREEZES NON-ESSENTIAL EXPENSES DUE TO COVID-19, WILL HEAR PROPOSED BUDGET JULY 10

By Miriam Raftery

July 5, 2020 (Spring Valley) – San Miguel Fire District’s board of directors will consider the 2020/2021 budget at a July 10th hearing due to COVID-19.  The finance committee has proposed freezing all non-essential and discretionary spending due to unanticipated costs of the pandemic estimated at less than $172,000.


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STATE ASKS SAN DIEGO-AREA CITIES TO CLOSE BEACH PARKING LOTS

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  The parking lot at Oceans Beach Pier. File photo by Chris Stone

July 4, 2020 (San Diego) - The California Office of Emergency Services sent a letter to city officials in San Diego, Imperial Beach, Coronado, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside imploring them to also close beach parking lots.


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SURVIVING ON THE EDGE: A LOCAL MUSIC COMPANY AND COMMUNITY NONPROFIT FIND INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS IN A COVID-19 WORLD

Part 1 of a 2-part interview with Dr. Leonard Thompson

 

By Helen Horvath

 

Photo:  Dr. Leonard Thompson, CEO and Michelle Thompson, Sr. Vice President, M.A.N.D.A.T.E Records

 

June 29, 2020 (San Diego) -- In this first of a two-part interview with Dr. Leonard Thompson III, CEO of M.A.N.D.A.T.E Records and Communications Director of the NAACP San Diego, Dr. Horvath and ECM discuss COVID-19’s impact upon his business and the mission of the NAACP. 

 

M.A.N.D.A.T.E’s acronym means “Making A Necessary Difference at the End.”


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PANDEMIC INFECTS SANTEE’S BUDGET, CAUSES $1 MILLION HIT TO SALES TAXES

By Mike Allen
 
June 28, 2020 (Santee) -- The city of Santee will sustain an estimated loss of $1 million in sales taxes in the coming fiscal year starting July 1, as a result of so many stores being closed or only partially open due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

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MLB, PADRES TO RETURN IN JULY

East County News Service

June 25, 2020 (San Diego) - Padres fans may soon have something to cheer about.

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has announced that the MLB will officially begin a 60-day season, starting around July 24, according to ESPN.


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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER COMMANDER ADDRESSES HEALTHCARE ACCESS DURING PANDEMIC

By Helen L. Horvath
 
June 23, 2020 (San Diego) -- In an interview with Captain Bradford Smith, Commander, Naval Medical Center San Diego*, East County Magazine explored the issues and challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic for eligible active duty, veterans and family members residing in San Diego County. One of the greater challenges in the community is determining how healthcare can successfully be accessed by the community.

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SAN DIEGO COUNTY REPORTS JUMP IN COVID-19 CASES TO NEW DAILY RECORD OF 310

By Christine Huard, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego News Association

Photo:  A man is tested for coronavirus at a drive-up site. Courtesy County News Center

June 22, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County public health officials reported a daily record of 310 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, but no additional deaths from the disease.


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