COVID-19

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: AIR FORCE SALUTES HEALTHCARE HEROES WITH SPECTACULAR FLY-BY

The view from east county

By Robert Gehr

Photo: Six F-16C/D Falcons

May 20, 2020 (El Cajon) -- The well known U.S. Air force Thunderbirds made a brief, yet impressive flyover in El Cajon on Friday, May 15th just after high noon.

Hearing the powerful jet engines off in the distance signaled their pending arrival, especially when the pilots lit the afterburners as they throttled up more power. Seconds later they were barely within sight, arriving from the East, flying in tight formation as they skimmed the blue sky above. A moment later they were gone, leaving just a fading echo of sound, and perhaps a thought of awe.

I was fortunate to capture this single, fleeting image of these six, F-16C/D Falcons when they made their appearance over the east county of San Diego as they honored first responders, health care workers, military members, law enforcement, and so many other essential service personnel.

I add my gratitude as well. Thank you everyone!


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SANTEE COUNCIL RESPONDS TO RACIST MASK INCIDENTS, SIGNALS CHALLENGE TO TERM LIMIT MEASURE

 

By Mike Allen

Video by Ana Nita: discussion on racial incidents

May 16, 2020 (Santee) -- In the wake of two nationally-publicized racial incidents inside local grocery stores earlier this month, the Santee City Council voted on May 13 to confront the issue by expanding a community police board that will develop strategies for addressing intolerance. The incidents involved shoppers who wore masks with hate symbols during a county health order mandating masks in stores to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Mayor John Minto, who publicly denounced the incidents soon after they occurred, said he spent many hours talking with residents about what happened, and is convinced the city cannot ignore or simply shrug it off.

“We have to understand why and where it’s happening,” Minto said. “We’re going to triage it, find out where most of the worst symptoms are, and bring people together.”


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SUPERVISORS TO VOTE ON ACCELERATED REOPENING PLAN AFTER GOV. NEWSOM ANNOUNCES NEW GUIDELINES

By Miriam Raftery

May 19, 2020 (San Diego) – Today, San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors will vote on a plan to allow reopening of the local economy at an accelerated pace in conformance with new state rules, the county has announced. The action follows Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement yesterday of new state guidelines that will allow the vast majority of California counties to move quickly through phase two.

You can watch the meeting online or join via phone to view the discussion on reopening, which is item 5 on the agenda.

If the state approves San Diego’s plans, among the first businesses to benefit could be retailers allowed to have customers inside stores. Dining in at restaurants could also resume in the near future. Both would require social distancing, masks, health and sanitation plans submitted by each business. In addition, Governor Newsom has indicated that hair salons, church gatherings and professional sports without spectators could start up again as early as June.

The Governor estimates that 53 of 58 counties could meet the new criteria, aimed at allowing those areas with lower levels of COVID-19 and that meet certain requirements to reopen sooner than those with high levels.  Requirements include:


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COUNTY AND STATE ADD MORE COVID-19 TESTING SITES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Creative Commons via Bing

May 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The region’s COVID-19 testing is expanding this week.  Starting Tuesday, May 19th, the public can get free testing at walk-up sites run by the state at two locations:  The County Assessor’s former office at 200 S. Magnolia Ave. in El Cajon and at the Tubman-Chavez Center, 415 Euclid Ave. in southeast San Diego.


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LOCAL COVID-19 RESOURCES CENTER

LOCAL COVID-19 RESOURCE CENTER

East County Magazine's Local COVID-19 Resource Center is your comprehensive guide to official health information on the coronavirus and local healthcare services.

Check back often! We are updating our local COVID-19 Resource Center regularly. If you have a suggested resource to add, contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

Our special section also has information on local businesses, restaurants and farms open or operating online. You can also learn where to get help for individuals, families, workers, immigrants,  businesses and organizations. Our guide lists help and resources through local cities, San Diego County, California tate and federal sources as well as private and philanthropic organizations.

Help includes grants, loans, stimulus funds,  emergency food distributions, rides, seminars for business owners, education resources, activities to do at home, working from home tips, financial relief for renters and homeowners, relief from utility and insurance bills, resources for crime victims, mental health, abuse and addiction services including virtual meetings, how to file for unemployment and other aid, scams to avoid, volunteer opporutnities, emergency alert services, and more.

We thank Grossmont Healthcare District for generously underwriting the creation of our Local Covid-19 Resource Center and the Facebook Journalism Project for funding expansion and updating of these vital resources.

To view our local COVID-19 resource center, click here or scroll down.


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LA MESA APPROVES REOPENING SOME PARKS, WAIVING BUSINESS LICENSE FEES, AND RELIEF WITH CARES ACT FUNDS

By Jake Zawlacki

May 17, 2020 (La Mesa) -- On May 12th, the La Mesa City Council unanimously approved three considerations brought to the Council to aid businesses impacted by COVID-19, reopen some parks, and allocate federal CARES Act funds to help the homeless and others.


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COMMISSIONER LARA EXTENDS ORDER FOR INSURANCE COMPANIES TO PARTIALLY REFUND PREMIUMS

East County News Service
Photo: creative commons via Bing
 
May 16, 2020 (Sacramento) – California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has issued a Bulletin extending his previous order requiring insurance companies to return partial insurance premiums to consumers and businesses and provide financial relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
The Bulletin now includes the month of May, having already included the months of March and April, covering at least six different insurance lines: private passenger automobile, commercial automobile, workers’ compensation, commercial multi-peril, commercial liability, medical malpractice, and any other insurance line where the risk of loss has fallen substantially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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LAKE JENNINGS CAMPGROUND REOPENS FOR RVS

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Lake Jennings, courtesy of Helix Water District

 

May 16, 2020 (Lakeside) – The Lake Jennings campground will reopen Monday, May 18 – but only for recreational vehicles (RVs).  No tent camping will be allowed yet, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the recreational side of the lake will remain closed.


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JAMUL CASINO TO BEGIN PHASED RE-OPENING ON MAY 18, 2020

Opening with enhanced cleaning protocols and technology after COVID-19 closure, casino also offers take-out dinners with phase-in of restaurants planned

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

May 15, 2020 (Jamul) -- After a two-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jamul Casino today announced a phased-in reopening.  On May 18, a soft reopening at 10 a.m. is planned for its Sweetwater Rewards Club VIP guests (amber level and above), followed by a public reopening on May 20. Hours will be limited from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. until May 21, when 24-hour gaming operations are slated to resume.


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LOCAL RANCHERS AND FARMERS GROW NEW BUSINESS MODELS DURING PANDEMIC

By Miriam Raftery

Updated May 14, 2020

April 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – “Zoom our Zoo is an online, real-time animal show tailored for your audience,” a message at the Oasis Camel Dairy website reads. Owners of the Ramona-based family ranch, like many local ventures that rely on agritourism, face high costs to feed and care for their camels, exotic performing birds, racing turkeys and other animals without public events during the COVID-19 pandemic. So now they are offering interactive programs online to liven up corporate events or entertain kids with virtual birthday parties featuring “camel capers and parrot pranks” through Zoom – for a fee.


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REAL ESTATE REALITY: THE NEW NORM: VIRTUAL HOME SALES

By Maryanne Jackson

Photo via Maryanne Jackson

May 14, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -

Dear Maryanne,

I was wondering what the status is with home sales now.

Are Realtors still listing properties and conducting business as usual?

--Mureen S., Casa De Oro, Spring Valley


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SHOPPING MALLS CAN REOPEN FOR PICKUPS: OTHER BUSINESSES TO REOPEN INCLUDE CAR WASHES, PET GROOMERS, GARDENERS AND OFFICES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine is among the local malls eligible to reopen for curbside pickups.

May 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego County officials yesterday announced several more types of businesses that can reopen, with modifications, ranging from shopping centers to landscapers. All must prepare and post a safe reopening plan to protect employees and customers.

Shopping malls, including outlet malls and strip malls, can offer pickup service with clearly marked curbside outdoor pickup locations, but customers are not allowed inside stores.  In East County, malls eligible to begin offering curbside sales include Grossmont Center in La Mesa, Parkway Plaza in El Cajon, and the Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine as well as smaller retail centers.

Other businesses allowed to reopen are car washes, pet grooming services, landscaping and gardening businesses, outdoor museums and offices, though telework is still strongly encouraged.


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COVID-19 DISRUPTS REGULAR HEALTHCARE, BUT ELECTIVE SURGERIES CAN RESUME

By Kendra Sitton

Photo:  Telehealth is increasingly being used to provide patients access to physicians (CC by NC-ND)

May 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Governor Gavin Newsom is lifting some hospital restrictions on elective surgeries, bringing parts of the healthcare system back online. COVID-19 has yet to overwhelm hospitals locally, but in preparation, only essential surgeries were conducted for the past two months. Other medical offices switched to telehealth options or shut down completely. For some patients, particularly in East County, health care has gotten harder to access.

In a survey of 1200 cancer patients and survivors, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) found half of them had care that was impacted by the virus. A quarter of those who were impacted had treatment that was delayed and 13% do not know when their care will be rescheduled.


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IN TOWNHALL, LOCAL LEADERS ANSWER QUESTIONS OVER COVID-19 AND REOPENING LOCAL VENUES

By Miriam Raftery

May 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Supervisor Dianne Jacob hosted a virtual town hall last Thursday along with El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus. They provided updates on the COVID-19 pandemic locally, addressed ideas for  more businesses, churches and other paces to reopen, and fielded questions submitted by constituents.


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EAST COUNTY RALLIES TO HELP THE NEEDY DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

By Emmet Pierce

May 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- While East County residents anxiously wait out the COVID-19 pandemic, community groups and concerned citizens are rallying to help those in need.


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ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

May 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) - East County Magazine's World Watch helps you be an informed citizen on important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:

U.S.

WORLD

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


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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NATIONAL COMEDY THEATRE RELEASES CAST VIDEO "ALL TOGETHER NOW"

Source:  NCT

May 11, 2020 (San Diego) - The National Comedy Theatre, San Diego’s professional improv comedy club and longest running show, has just released a cast video with a positive message.


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CHURCHES, GUN SHOPS AND IRATE BRIDES; ALL THE SHUTDOWN LAWSUITS AGAINST NEWSOM, EXPLAINED

By Ben Christopher | CALmatters 

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

Photo:  CalMatters is tracking lawsuits against California's shelter-in-place order and other pandemic responses. Photography by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters; elements via iStockkkkkkk

May 11, 2020 (San Diego) - Alongside the beach-goers denied, the indignant gun shop owners and the house-bound pastors, Gov. Gavin Newsom now has yet another ticked off challenger to face in court: an extremely disappointed bride-to-be.


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PANDEMIC FOOD BENEFITS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: cc via SA-Bing

May 10, 2020 (San Diego) – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) has provided the following information on new food benefits approved by Congress and the state of California to assist recipients of EBT, WIC and CalFresh programs during the pandemic. She also provides details on a new state program to enable restaurants to deliver meals to seniors, aid to food banks and more, with links to helpful resources.

Below is the information provided by her office:

As COVID-19 began to disrupt life in America, Congress moved swiftly and passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to help families impacted by the pandemic.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: LIVES LOST AMID PANDEMIC AREN’T ALL DUE TO COVID-19: SUICIDES RISE DURING QUARANTINE

By Bettie Wells 
 
Photo: Creative Commons by S.A. via Bing
 
May 10, 2020 (El Cajon) -- I am a mental health care professional. I have worked in the field in many arenas for 25 years. I have worked mainly in trauma-not something I picked for myself, it just worked out that way. I thought I had seen it all in my career until about three weeks ago...Suicide. 
 
As a therapist, I hear about suicide fairly often. It's an important question in a psycho-social interview. I have helped countless people work through their suicidal ideation. It's safe to say that I am not flustered by my clients needing to work though such a dark time in their lives. This last three weeks though, I have been hearing about someone suiciding on average about three times a day now. 
 
Think about that--on average three times a day, I hear about someone killing themselves. In my 25 years working in this field, I have never once experienced this much suicide happening all at once.

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COUNTY ALLOWS CAMPING AND SOME SPORTS GEAR RENTALS, CLARIFIES NEW RULES FOR BUSINESSES AND CHILDCARE FACILITIES

Toasty Campfire by Jack RiordanBusinesses must take temperatures, check for symptoms

Photo: Toasty Campfire by Jack Riordan

By Miriam Raftery

May 9, 2020 (San Diego) – Yesterday the county announced easing of more restrictions.  Effective today, campgrounds can reopen at 50 percent capacity, though campsites can be rented only to members of the same household and play equipment must stay closed.

Companies that rent recreational equipment such as bicycles, surfboards, boats, kayaks and other watercraft can also reopen after submitting a Safe Reopening Plan that includes sanitization with a disinfectant effective against COVID-19. Equipment for use by multiple people can only be rented to people in the same household.


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A WINNING BET? VIEJAS CASINO PREPARES TO REOPEN WITH CHANGES TO PROTECT GUESTS

By Miriam Raftery

May 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – With casinos, hotels and other tribal enterprises shut down since March due to COVID-19 as stay-home orders remain in effect statweide, San Diego’s Native American tribes have been hard-hit economically. In addition to losing gaming revenues, many tribal members also lost their jobs. For non-gaming tribes that depend largely on shared revenues from tribes with casinos, some tribal members still live below the poverty level, so the consequences of the shut-down have been severe.


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EL CAJON AND SANTEE MAYORS DISCUSSES LONG TERM SOCIAL COSTS AND IMPACTS OF COVID-19 IN GOP ONLINE TOWN HALL

Pandemic’s impacts on Live Nation, operator of The Magnolia performing arts center, also discussed

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

 

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells Video

 

Santee Mayor John Minto Video

 

May 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- “When people are bored and feel trapped, they often resort to using drugs and alcohol. We’re going to see a huge increase in drug and alcohol abuse that’s going to have a corresponding effect on domestic violence and other problems like that,” said El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells (R) as a part of an hour-long question and answer webcast presented and moderated by San Diego County Republican Central Committee Chairman Tony Krvaric last Tuesday. 


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DENTAL GROUP HELPS LOCAL SENIORS WITH HOME CARE ORAL HYGIENE KITS

East County News Service

May 8, 2020 (San Diego) - With seniors ’sheltering in place” and potentially doing so for many more months to come, the Gary & Mary West Senior Dental Center is making sure vulnerable San Diego seniors have the items they need to keep up their health and oral hygiene during this time.  The organization is in the process of preparing 5,000 Home Care Oral Hygiene Kits for vulnerable seniors in San Diego County.


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HOW CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOUNDATIONS ARE TRYING TO HELP STUDENTS

By Mikhail Zinshteyn, CalMatters

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

Photo:  A student walks back to her car after picking up eggs, milk, produce and dried goods from the weekly drive-thru food pantry at Santa Monica College. Photo by Mikhail Zinshteyn for CalMatters

May 8, 2020 (San Diego) - In the third week of April, Shannon Hill approved the donation of some $35,000 in emergency aid to 40 students at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.


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SHERIFF REVERSES COURSE, HALTS EVICTIONS AMID PANDEMIC

Action brings relief for renters, but fears for landlords facing mortgage payments

By Miriam Raftery

May 7, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore announced today that he is temporarily halting enforcement of evictions.    

Earlier this week, the Sheriff began issuing eviction notices to around 160 tenant for evictions already in progress before the COVID-19 shut-down orders. But after reportedly receiving political pressure from the Governor’s office and at least one Supervisor, the Sheriff reversed course.


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SANTEE BUSINESSES, INCLUDING AL’S SPORTS SHOP, BEGIN TO REOPEN

By Mike Allen
 
Photo: Al's Sports Shop, Santee
 
May 6, 2020 (Santee) -- It’ll be a lot different, but Rob Treadwell, the owner of Al’s Sports Shop in Santee, says things will work out.
 
“We’ve been here 40 years and I believe we’ll make it,” said Treadwell, interviewed a few days before his store partially reopens. 
 
County rules adopted earlier this week following a statewide easing of restriction require that qualifying businesses follow similar rules that restaurants have been operating under since March 19, when California enacted a shelter-in-place quarantine in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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COUNTY ALLOWS GOLF CART USE FOR SENIORS AND DISABLED

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: CC via Bing
 
May 5, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- On May 1st, several changes to the County's Order of Health Officer and Emergency Regulations went into effect. Including allowing reopening of public and private golf courses that meet certain requirements.  
 
Since then, there have been questions about a ban on use of golf carts. 
 
After consulting with the Public Health Officer, the following clarification is being provided regarding the use of golf carts. Golf cart use is limited to the following two groups: 
 
• Senior citizens over 55 years of age. 
• People of any age with disabilities that would prevent them from walking the course. 

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FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS RELEASE OF DOZENS OF MEDICALLY VULNERABLE PEOPLE AT OTAY MESA DETENTION CENTER

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo (Google): CoreCivic's Otay Mesa Detention Center
 
May 5, 2020 (San Diego) – Judge Dana Sabraw issued an order on April 30 directing the federal government to release more than 50 medically vulnerable individuals who are in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody at the Otay Mesa Detention Center. According to the ICE website, at least 105 detainees at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19.
 
Judge Sabraw wrote in his decision, “The Court HEREBY DECLARES that current conditions of confinement for Otay Mesa Medically Vulnerable subclass members held at the Otay Mesa Detention Center are unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment because the conditions of their confinement place subclass members at substantial risk of serious illness or death.”

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