COVID-19

EAST COUNTY BUSINESSES HAVEN’T LOST HOPE DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

By Emmet Pierce
 
Photo, left: La Mesa’s historic downtown village, courtesy of La Mesa Village Association 
 
April 15, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- East County businesses are making the best of a challenging situation as they look for ways to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
“The people I’m talking to are in pretty good spirits,” said Theresa Favro, who chairs the La Mesa Village Association’s governing board. “We’re looking forward to getting our doors open and our neighborhood back. Each day we are getting closer to the ending.”

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SAN DIEGO HUMANE SOCIETY INVITES YOU TO WATCH PUPPIES AND KITTENS GROW UP IN FOSTER HOMES

East County News Service
 
Ready, Set, Grow! gives the public a behind-the-scenes glimpse into caring for foster animals
 
April 16, 2020 (San Diego) --  While families are staying home, San Diego Humane Society is inviting them to watch litters of puppies and kittens grow up in foster care. This baby season, Ready, Set, Grow! will introduce the public to litters of adorable baby animals through regular updates and photos on social media and the Ready, Set, Grow! web page. 
 
SDHS kicked off Ready, Set, Grow! by introducing a puppy each day on Facebook and Instagram from a litter of Chihuahuas currently living in a foster home. Updates on the Chihuahua pups will continue to be posted to the website so the public can follow along and watch their progress. Next week, SDHS will introduce the community to a litter of foster kittens – stay tuned!
 
With springtime upon us, baby season is approaching, and San Diego Humane Society expects to see an influx in animals over the coming weeks, from cats and dogs to wildlife.
 

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SENATOR BRIAN JONES NAMED TO SPECIAL SENATE COMMITTEE ON COVID-19 RESPONSE

East County News Service
 
April 15, 2020 (Sacramento) -- State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) has been named to the Senate Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response.  Jones and ten other Senators were appointed to the committee earlier today by Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego).
 
“I am ready to serve on this committee to review how we responded as a state to the COVID-19 pandemic and, more importantly, work to better prepare ourselves for any similar emergency we may face in the future,” stated Jones. He adds, “We’ve lost over 750 Californians, another 23,000 have been diagnosed with Coronavirus, thousands of businesses have been decimated, and hundreds of thousands of Californians have lost their jobs." Jones continued,

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PUBLIC RELATIONS PROS OFFER FREE STRATEGY SESSIONS TO HELP BUSINESSES AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

San Diego-based Falcon Valley Group joins Gray Public Relations in launching “Back to Business” initiative with complimentary strategy sessions

East County News Service

April 15, 2020 (San Diego) -- The disruption to businesses from the coronavirus pandemic is staggering. According to a Goldman Sachs survey of 1,500 business owners, 96 percent say they have been impacted by the outbreak. Only 13 percent feel confident about their contingency plans to maintain business. Fifty-three percent say their employees do not have the ability to telecommute, and 51 percent say their business cannot operate beyond three months.

Public relations and communications professionals from across the U.S. including San Diego have joined forces to offer support through a new initiative, “Back to Business.” Business owners will be matched with an agency volunteering a complimentary strategy session to assist them in addressing their most pressing challenges both during and after the pandemic.

Among the participants is San Diego base strategic communication consultant Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, Fellow PRSA, owner of Falcon Valley Group. “This is not the time for businesses and organizations to run silent,” said Falkenthal. “This is the time to work on new ways to communicate with customers and reposition their organization for a comeback in the post COVID-19 era. Only the prepared will survive. A smart communication strategy is a must.”


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GOV NEWSOM LISTS 6 STEPS NECESSARY BEFORE ENDING STAY AT HOME ORDERS

By Chris JenneweinTimes of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
Photo: East County Magazine news partner 10News 
 
April 14, 2020 (Sacramento) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday California is “bending the curve” of the coronavirus pandemic and outlined six indicators to be met before stay-at-home orders can be eased.
 
Newsom offered no specifics on when any of the orders will be lifted or softened, only saying the six indicators provide a framework for how the decision will be made.
 
“I know you want a timeline but we can’t get ahead of ourselves,” Newsom said in a live-streamed press conference. “Let’s not make a mistake by pulling the plug too early.”
 
The six indicators Newsom cited were:
 

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REP. SUSAN DAVIS ANNOUNCES $137 MILLION IN EMERGENCY COVID-19 FUNDING AWARDED TO LOCAL COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

At least $71 million will be distributed to displaced students   

Source: Congresswoman Susan Davis

April 14, 2020 (San Diego) -- Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA-53), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development, announced that colleges and universities in San Diego County will receive more than $137 million in emergency funding as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Congress passed on March 27. At least $71 million of the funding each institution receives will be distributed to students in the form of emergency cash assistance grants to help pay for housing, food, and other basic essentials.


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ACLU DISMISSES LAWSUIT AFTER ICE RELEASES 4 IMMIGRANT DETAINEES VULNERABLE TO COVID-19

Otay Mesa ICE facility has at least 16 COVID-19 cases, highest of any  U.S. detention site

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

April 13, 2020 (San Diego) – After the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed lawsuits in 13 states demanding release of detained immigrants at high risk due to COVID-19, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sent a letter to Congress on April 7 announcing it had identified 600 medically vulnerable detainees and to date, had released 160 of them.

Today, local ACLU representatives asked the court to dismiss a suit filed earlier this month on behalf of four medically vulnerable people detained at the ICE Otay Mesa Detention Center and Imperial Regional Detention Facility, after ICE released all four  plaintiffs.

“Our clients, Yusuf Ozdemir and Jane Doe, were released Thursday night; and Miguel Angel Benitez and Issis Yoselin Zelaya Sagastume were released Friday night,” states a press release issued today by  the ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties, ACLU Foundation Immigrants' Rights Project, ACLU Foundation National Prison Project and ACLU Foundation Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & HIV Project.


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GOV. NEWSOM ANNOUNCES $42 MILLION TO PROTECT FOSTER YOUTHS IMPACTED BY COVID-19

Rev. Shane Harris, local advocate for foster children, calls on Governor to extend foster care 180 days for youths aging out of the system

By Miriam Raftery

 

File photos:  Gov. Gavin Newsom and Rev. Shane Harris



April 13, 2020 (San Diego) – Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $42 million investment to protect foster youths and foster families impacted by COVID-19over the next three months, including $40.6 million in state general fund money and $1.4 million in federal funds.

 

The Governor is making more than $27 million available to help families stay together, nearly $7 million to support social workers and $3 million to support Family Resource Centers, among other expenditures.


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HOW EAST COUNTY REALTORS GROUP IS COMMUNICATING WITH ITS MEMBERS DURING COVID-19

East County News Service

April 13, 2020 (El Cajon) – The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), one of San Diego’s largest real estate trade associations for San Diego-area realtors with an office in El Cajon, is making efforts to keep its members informed during the coronavirus crisis.


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SAN DIEGO COUNTY LOCKDOWN 'FLATTENING THE CURVE' BUT OFFICIALS URGE PATIENCE

 
By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
Photo (pay special attention to new cases in orange) Prepared by County of San Diego, Emergency Operations Center, 4/12/2020. Data are preliminary and subject to change
 
April 12, 2020 (San Diego) -- San Diego County health officials on Saturday reported progress in flattening the curve of new coronavirus cases but urged residents not to get impatient to return to normal life.
 
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher reported 68 more cases for a total of 1,761 and one more death — a man in his early 80s — for a total of 45.
 
If the number of coronavirus cases in the county continued to increase at Saturday’s rate of just under 4%, they would double after 18 days.
 

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READER'S EDITORIAL: SHARING HOPE

By Dadla Ponizil
 
April 9, 2020 (San Diego) -- As we grind through the difficult days of the pandemic, I'd like to share some hope.  My daughter, the fashion designer, is making protective masks--dyed with turmeric and beet juice, and they are lovely.
 
In every city around the nation, feats of valor, creativity and grace are being accomplished every day. We will win this battle. This gives me hope: the power of our teamwork and solidarity. 

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SANTEE EXTENDS EVICTION BAN TO COMMERCIAL TENANTS

By Mike Allen

Photo, from top left: Rob McNelis, Laura Koval, Stephen Houlahan, John Minto, Ronn Hall, and Bill Maertz, Santee Community Services director.

April 9, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee’s City Council amended a law it passed earlier this month banning evictions of residential tenants hurting from effects of the coronavirus. The amended version now includes commercial tenants.


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COLLEGE DISTRICT HELPS COMMUNITY DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

Source:  Re:  Fresh

April 9, 2020 (El Cajon) - Loaning ventilators, aiding stranded cruise ship passengers, and stitching home-made face masks are ways that Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District employees are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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SOME INSURERS OFFER REBATES AS PEOPLE DRIVE LESS DURING PANDEMIC

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

Photo:  Creative Commons via Bing

April 8, 2020 (Sacramento) - Two car-insurance giants, Allstate and American Family Insurance, have just announced they'll refund $800 million to the drivers they insure.

The companies say the rebates are possible because people are driving so much less during the COVID-19 crisis and, thus, collision claims have fallen off dramatically. Other companies say they may follow suit.


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POWAY CITY COUNCIL APPROVES COMMERCIAL EVICTION MORATORIUM, OPEN SPACE ACQUSITION, AND LOANS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

By Miriam Raftery

April 8, 2020 (Poway) – “We looked different, but got things done as usual,” Poway Mayor Steve Vaus posted on Facebook, with a masked photo, following last night’s city council meeting. The Council met in Council chambers, but without an audience. To comply with social distancing requirements, the public could watch live online, call in or send comments in ahead of time.

By a unanimous vote, the Council approved a moratorium on commercial evictions due to COVID-19 impacts until May 31, provided the commercial tenant notifies the landlord promptly. The documentation may be as simple as a statement signed under penalty of perjury stating that the tenant has suffered financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency. Tenants would still owe the rent after May 31, unless they negotiate long-term repayment or other arrangements with their landlord.


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A SCOURGE REVISITED: 1952 POLIO EPIDEMIC IN THE GROVE AND A GREAT ARTIST

The Way We Were: A look back at Lemon Grove 68 years ago. History is repeating itself as it often does.

 

By Helen Ofield (photo, left), Board member and Historian, Lemon Grove Historical Society

 

April 7, 2020 (Lemon Grove) –  First, a Couple of Songs

 

The hills are alive with the sound of spraying

the germs that will live for a thousand years;

The hills fill our lungs with corona virus and

We yearn to spray every germ that we fear(s).

 

Our hearts want to beat like the wings of a bat,

But we don’t want to eat every dog, pig or cat;

Our hearts beat and sigh like a virus that flies

And lands on a door handle and a door mat;

 

We go to the hills whenever we’re sneezing;

We know we will hear what we’ve heard before,

Folks trying to escape from the sound of spraying

As we promise ourselves we will sing once more!


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS: INCUDING LATEST COVID-19 RESEARCH FINDINGS AND NEWS

April 7, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future—including the latest breakthroughs impacting COVID-19.

HEALTH

SCIENCE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.


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FEDERAL MEDICAL STATION TO OPEN ATOP PALOMAR MEDICAL CENTER IN ESCONDIDO

Article and Picture: County News Service

April 6, 2020 (San Diego) --- On Sunday, April 5, 2020, San Diego County public health and elected officials, joined by leadership of Palomar Health, announced that a 250 bed Federal Medical Station was being loaned to the county and would be installed in two vacant floors of Palomar Medical Center Escondido. The action came in response to a county request on March 21. The equipment is expected to arrive in the next 10 days and will be operational within 48 hours of its installation by a federal team. Announcing the news were County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, Palomar Health President and CEO Diane Hansen, and Palomar Health Board of Directors Chair Dr. Rick Engel.


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LOCAL FARMS OFFER FRESH MEATS, EGGS, FRUITS, VEGGIES AND MORE DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR – OR PICKUP CURBSIDE

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Creative commons via Bing

April 5, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) - If you’re looking to avoid grocery store lines and support local farmers while enjoying fresh, locally grown foods, there are now dozens of local farms and ranches eager to meet your needs.

The San Diego Sustainable Living Institute has a website listing dozens of local farms, including locations, that provide curbside service,shipping, and/or delivery during the COVID-19 shutdown.  View their site here: https://www.sdsustainable.org/san-diego-farms 


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COUNTY ASKS RESIDENTS TO TAKE “STAY HOME, SAVE LIVES” PLEDGE: LOCAL CASES REACH 1,209

By Miriam Raftery

April 5, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego County health officials yesterday encouraged area residents to take an online pledge and commit to helping stop the spread of COVID-19. 

The Stay Home, Save Lives pledge asks San Diegans to stay home, use a face covering and physically distance when leaving the house for essential reasons, and pledge to help stop the spread of the virus.


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FLABBY OR FIT? YOUR QUARANTINE EXERCISE OPTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

Images: Public domain via Bing

April 4, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On the Next Door discussion forum, a resident asked others staying home due to COVID-19.  “Anyone else getting fat?”  He opined that watching movies while eating Doritos and guzzling root beer was taking a toll on his waistline.


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LOCAL LAVENDER FARM HAS SCENTED HAND-SANITIZERS

By Miriam Raftery
 
April 4, 2020 (Valley Center) – Keys Creek Lavender Farm is now producing hand sanitizer sprays and gels that are ethanol alcohol based with citrus extracts and essential oils.
 
Products are available in multiple sizes and can be shipped directly to customers.
 
The company also offers lavender-based home and beauty care products such as bath salts, moisturizers, hand soaps, sugar scrubs and candles.

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U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL NOW URGES ALL AMERICANS TO WEAR FACE MASKS IN PUBLIC PLACES

By Miriam Raftery
 
April 4, 2020 (Washington D.C.) --  On Friday, the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidance around the wearing of face coverings, such as cloth masks, in community settings. 
 

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BOATING, WATER SPORTS, SURFING AND SWIMMING BANNED: CITATIONS NOW BEING ISSUED FOR VIOLATING ALL COUNTY HEALTH ORDERS INCLUDING GATHERINGS AND NON-ESSENTIAL OUTINGS

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photos: Creative Commons images via Bing
 
April 4, 2020 (San Diego) – The County has amended its health order to prohibit recreational boating, outdoor water sports, swimming and surfing in public waterways. All county and state beaches are closed. 

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INMATE AND FOUR SHERIFF EMPLOYEES TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

East County News Service
Photo: Creative commons via Bing
 
April 3, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego Sheriff’s department announced that yesterday, an inmate tested positive for COVID-19.  Four Sheriff employees have also tested positive.
 
The Sheriff’s department declined to release details on which facilities the inmate and employees were in, citing privacy laws, but says that the employees are thus far “doing fine.”  However, news reports indicate one of the cases is a nurse who works at the Las Colinas detention facility in Santee. 

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LOCAL WINERIES JUICE UP MARKETING EFFORTS AMID COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

April 3, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The statewide COVID-19 order shutting down non-essential businesses has forced wineries to close their tasting rooms.  But customers can still order wine to pick up at their favorite local winery, or have wine shipped to them. Many are offering specials, making this a good time to stock up your wine cellar, indulge in a few bottles of locally produced vintages, or mix up your own wine cocktail version of a “quarantini.”


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BEAUTIFUL AMALFI, IN BETTER TIMES

East County News Service
 
April 3, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove artist Jack Ofield’s painting of fabled Amalfi on the Italian Mediterranean coast recalls that ancient enclave in happier times, before the COVID-19 pandemic devastating Italy and much of the world.
 
“It was January years ago when we stayed in a tiny B & B with a view of the sea, run by a mother and daughter,” Jack and his wife, Helen, recall in an email sent to ECM and others. “While at breakfast (delicious coffee, eggs, toast, preserves), with the  windows open to let in brilliant sunshine, a local band marched across the square followed by a priest, who blessed the sardine fleet setting sail for the day's catch.”

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READER’S EDITORIAL: HOW I COPE DURING THESE UNPRECEDENTED TIMES

By Daniel J. Smiechowski, San Diego
 
Photo:  Invasion and bombing of Normandy, France, which the author’s mother survived during World War II (CC by SA image)
 
April 3, 2020 (San Diego) -- I understand the gravity of our situation in maintaining personal health, finances and a host of other considerations during this unprecedented time of national and global catastrophe. I have not changed one single behavior except for perhaps understanding more acutely the folly of mankind.
 
My entire life has been devoted to personal philosophical reflection, social psychology and participating in athletics, the past forty years traveling the earth in search of triathlon. A couple of weeks ago, I was at my second home in France just exiting the country before all hell broke loose. I ran in an event and placed first in my age group. It was a happy time being among friends and family, respected by the French nation. 
 

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SAN DIEGANS URGED TO COVER MOUTH AND NOSE IN PUBLIC; ESSENTIAL WORKERS REQUIRED TO WEAR MASKS

 

 

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

Photo: San Diegans are strongly encouraged to wear a facial covering while in public.

April 2, 2020 (San Diego) - A woman in her late 90s is the 16th COVID-19 death reported in the region, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

To prevent the spread of the virus and potential future deaths, San Diegans who are out in public are strongly encouraged to cover their nose and mouth to flatten the curve, County health officials recommended. Businesses, including grocery stores, convenience stores and restaurants, are required to have employees wear face coverings.


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FEDS ALLOW DISCLOSURE OF PROTECTED HEALTH INFO FOR PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH OVERSIGHT ACTIVITIES DURING COVID-19 NATIONAL EMERGENCY

East County News Service

 

April 2, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- Today, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that effective immediately, it will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for violations of certain provisions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule against health care providers or their business associates for good faith uses and disclosures of protected health information by business associates for public health and health oversight activities during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. 


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