COVID-19

EL CAJON CITY MANAGER DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS, WILL LIVESTREAM PUBLIC MEETING MONDAY

By Miriam Raftery

 

March 13, 2020 (El Cajon) – El Cajon City Manager today declared a state of emergency for the city. The City Council must meet to ratify the declaration.  A special meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 16 at 11:30 a.m. and will be livestreamed so that people can attend the meeting remotely.

 

BIDEN AND SANDERS OFFER COVID-19 RESPONSE PLANS; WILL DEBATE ISSUES ON SUNDAY EVENING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden

March 13, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the Democratic presidential contenders, criticized President Donald Trump's handling of the COVID-19 panedemic and offered plans of their own to address the crisis.

Biden and Sanders will also square off in a debate Sunday on CNN starting at 4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. The debate was moved from Arizona to CNN's studio in Washington D.C. due to the coronavirus outbreak.  You can tune in via cable TV, as well as on the CNN website, the Univision website, and both networks’ mobile apps.

LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS CLOSING DOWN DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: cc via Bing

March 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Over half the school districts in San Diego have announced plans to shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak until sometime in April.

East County districts that are shutting down include Alpine Union, Grossmont-Union High School District, Cajon Valley, Dehesa, Jamul-Dulzura, La Mesa-Spring Valley, Lakeside Union, Mountain Empire, and Vallecitos. 

County Health and Human Services asks parents, We recognize the difficulty that these school closures present for working families. It is important to remember that closing schools is an effort to maintain at least six feet of distance between people and to reduce the number of individuals gathered into a given space to prevent the spread of the virus. While there are still public spaces open and available, including malls, parks, movie theaters, etc., we would ask parents to strongly consider keeping their children home or limited to small groups at this time.”

Nationwide, school closures due to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, are impacting over 8 million K-12 students, according to EdSource, or nearly a quarter of the 50 million K-12 students in the U.S.

Here are schools locally announcing closures so far:

COUNTY AND STATE BAN NEARLY ALL GATHERINGS; FIVE NEW LOCAL COVID-19 CASES REPORTED

Many major events closed or cancelled across our state and region

By Miriam Raftery

March 13, 2020 (San Diego) – In response to the fast-spreading COVID-19 outbreak, effective immediately, the state of California and San Diego County have ordered that from today through March 31st: Violators are subject to fines or imprisonment.

  • all gatherings of over 250 people be cancelled or postponed, including concerts, conferences, and sporting events;
  • Smaller events of 10 may be held only if social distancing space of 6 feet between people can be provided;
  • Gatherings of people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while following social distancing guidelines. This includes gatherings at retirement facilities, assisted living facilities, developmental homes and support groups for people with health conditions.
  • Visitors should be restricted at medical facilities with people at high risk of COVID-19 complications, such as nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and hospitals providing acute in-patient care.

The ban on gatherings generally does not apply to workplaces, shopping malls, grocery stores, or emergency shelters such as those for the homeless.

View:  Governor Gavin Newsom’s message, Calif. Dept. of Public Health directiveCounty press release, County health office order,  World Health Organization director’s statement on pandemic

VIRUS SPREADING LOCALLY WITH FIVE NEW CASES IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

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

Photo:  San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer speaks at county press conference on Covid-19 response, with major officials arrayed behind him. Photo via Kevin Faulconer on Twitter

March 12, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County officials said coronavirus now appears to be spreading in the community with five new cases reported Thursday, and officially banned gatherings of over 250 people.

SDSU ATHLETICS, ALL MAJOR SPORTS LEAGUES CANCEL SEASONS AND TOURNAMENTS DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

UPDATE AS OF 5:09 PM:  ALL SDSU SPRING SPORTS HAVE BEEN CANCELED

East County News Service

March 12, 2020 (San Diego) - After Utah Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell tested positive for Coronavirus, the National Basketball Association and several other professional sports leagues have suspended their seasons, the NBA's announcement coming on Wednesday night.  The NBA announced it was suspending games while it determined its next steps.

TRUMP BANS TRAVEL FOR FOREIGN NATIONALS FROM EUROPE DUE TO COVID-19, PROPOSES ECONOMIC RELIEF FOR AMERICANS IMPACTED

Update March 13: The President today declared a national emergency, freeing up some $50 bilion in federal aid for states.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Airport medical screening; CC by SA

March 11, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump today announced a travel ban on most foreign nationals from Europe and also proposed economic aid to Americans impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DECLARES GLOBAL PANDEMIC; STOCK MARKET DROPS TO BEAR TERRITORY

By Miriam Raftery

March 11, 2020 (San Diego) – The World Health Organization today declared a global pandemic.  More than 115,000 cases of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, have been confirmed worldwide, with more than 4,200 deaths.

In the U.S., 1,237 people have tested positive for the virus and 37 have died.  The fast-spreading virus has reached 41 states and the district of Columbia, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The COVID-19 crisis has contributed to a stock market crash.The Dow Junes plunged over 1,400 points today, officially into bear territory. The Standard & Poors index has fallen over 600 points in the past three weeks, erasing more than half the gains since Trump became president.

CALIF. DEPT. OF EDUCATION RECEIVES SPECIAL FEDERAL APPROVAL: ENABLES SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO FEED STUDENTS DURING CORONAVIRUS-RELATED CLOSURE

East County News Service

March 10, 2020 (Sacramento) - The California Department of Education (CDE) has received a special waiver called CA COVID19 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that will enable a school district that had previously been approved to operate the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) or Seamless Summer Option (SSO) to provide meals to students during a coronavirus-related closure. 

COVID-19: BE PREPARED

 

Cases of the novel coronavirus disease are on the rise across the United States and the world. The uncertainty of what to expect has many feeling anxious and panicky. You can minimize your stress about COVID-19 by taking some simple steps to make sure your family is protected and prepared.

Get more information on how to prepare and protect yourself at coronavirus-sd.com.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY WARNS BUSINESSES, CONSUMERS OF PRICE GOUGING LAW IN WAKE OF CORONAVIRUS

 

Spiking Prices During a State of an Emergency is a Crime

East County News Service

Photo: Cc by ND via Bing

March 10, 2020 (San Diego) – After California and San Diego County each declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 virus, The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office has issued a warning to businesses and scammers not to take advantage of consumers by price gouging.

During a declared state of emergency, it is illegal for a business to increase its prices for essential goods or services by more than 10 percent, unless they can show their own costs have been increased. "The statute would theoretically apply to online retailers as well as brick and mortar—as well as individuals who might be selling on an app like Offer Up,"  says Steve Walker, communications specialist at the District Attorney's office.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in California on March 4 and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors extended its countywide state of emergency for an additional 30 days on February 19.

“We want county residents to know that we stand ready to protect their consumer rights under the law,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “We will strictly enforce violations related to price gouging.”

STATE DEPARTMENT URGES AMERICANS NOT TO TRAVEL ON CRUISE SHIPS, WARNS OLDER PEOPLE TO AVOID CROWDED PLACES AND NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons by NC via Bing

March 9, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory that states, “U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship.” 

The advisory cites the Centers for Disease Control’s warning that a cruise ship environment increases the risk of COVID-19 infection.

The State Department advises that many nations have denied port entry rights to ships and prevented passengers from disembarking to curb the spread of COVIC-19. Some passengers have been quarantined overseas. Although the U.S. has evacuated some cruise ship passengers recently, the State Department now warms, “repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.”

The State Department also urges older adults and travelers with underlying health issues to avoid other situations that put them at risk. This includes avoiding crowded places and avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips or cruises.

SHARP HEALTHCARE TAKES STEPS TO PROTECT PATIENTS, VISITORS AND CAREGIVERS FROM COVID-19, OFFERS TIPS FOR PUBLIC

East County News Service
 
March 7, 2020 (La Mesa)--Sharp Healthcare, which operates Sharp Grossmont Hospital and other medical facilities in our region, has set up a webpage on the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) with information on steps Sharp is taking to protect against the virus and what the public should know.
 
There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, which is spreading around the world.  Here are tips to help stop spread of the respiratory virus:
 

GOVERNOR DECLARES EMERGENCY AS MORE COVID-19 CASES DIAGNOSED, INCLUDING IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

March 5, 2020 (San Diego) – Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency yesterday amid news of 53 COVID-19 cases diagnosed in California and the first COVID-19 death in our state.  New cases include an LAX airport screener, cruise ship passengers, a South Korean flight attendant at LAX, and an AT&T store employee in Otay Mesa here in San Diego County.

California health officials are now monitoring 9,400 cases in 49 counties statewide.

U.S. DRAWS CRITICISM AS POLITICIANS, NOT SCIENTISTS, LEAD RESPONSE TO COVID-19

California outbreak may be tied to botched federal response

By Miriam Raftery and Jonathan Goetz

Photo by Mikael Häggström, M.D. https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87223640

March 1, 2020 (San Diego) --  President Donald Trump is facing criticism for disbanding the team of scientific experts in 2018 who would have been tasked with preparing for and handling pandemics in the United States, to cut costs. He left vacant key posts at the Centers for Disease Control in charge pandemics and further sought to slash CDC funding. His administration also allowed some exposed cruise ship passengers back into the U.S.without waiting for test results.

Now Pres. Trump has put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 outbreak, instead of health officials, the New York Times reports.  Pence will also handle all White House messaging on the virus, a move that has critics concerned that health and science experts could be muzzled.  Pence has previously drawn criticism for his handling of an HIV epidemic in Indiana that slowed efforts by public health officials to contain the disease.

Trump has drawn sharp bipartisan criticism as well as Senate Republican committee chairs and global health officials for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.  The disease to date has infected over 85,000 people in 60 nations, killing nearly 3,000. The first U.S. death occurred in Kirkland, Washington, where an outbreak is suspected at a skilled nursing facility at which dozens of residents and healthcare workers have fallen ill.

COVID-19 VIRUS IS MORE DEADLY THAN FIRST BELIEVED; FIRST U.S. DEATH CONFIRMED

141 people are being monitored in San Diego County for possible exposure

By Miriam Raftery

March 1, 2020 (San Diego) – Over 85,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide on every continent except Antarctica, causing approximately 3,000 deaths, the World Health Organization reports. The first U.S. death has occurred in Washington state and at least 30 cases have been identified in California, the Los Angeles Times reports. These include cases among people who did not travel overseas recently and it is unknown how they were exposed to the virus.

San Diego County has 141 people  being monitored who may have beene exposed .  Mexico also reported its first case this week.

Now, a broad study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reveals that the COVID-19 virus has a death rate nearly as high as the 1918 influenza epidemic, which killed 50-100 million people worldwide and infected a third of the world’s population, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The standard flu kills only about 0.1% of those infected. By contrast, the 1918 epidemic had  fatality rate of 2.5%.  As for COVID-19, out of 72,314 cases in China studied, JAMA reports a death rate of 2.3%--but much higher in older people and patients with underlying health conditions. 

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