COVID-19

GOVERNOR: SOME NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES CAN OPEN FRIDAY FOR CURBSIDE SERVICES

By Miriam Raftery

May 5, 2020 (Sacramento) – Due to progress made on flattening the growth curve of COVID-19 hospitalizations in California, Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday announced  plans to allow some (but not all) non-essential businesses in “Stage 2” of his reopening plan to resume business starting Friday, May 8.

The Governor also announced a plan to allow some counties to move quickly through Stage 2 by submitting a readiness plan that meets the state’s criteria for reopening more businesses and public spaces soon. Counties can also opt to retain more restrictive measures.


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IRAQI REFUGEE IN EL CAJON NOW SAVES LIVES MAKING MASKS FOR MEDICAL WORKERS, ASYLUM-SEEKERS AND NAVAJO NATION

By Miriam Raftery
May 4, 2020 (El Cajon) –“Helping other people was the only way that I survived through different rises and wars I went through,” says Kilian Colin, an Iraqi refugee in El Cajon who says he went through lockdowns in Iraq and Syria.  A long-time civil rights and labor activist, he has now started a mask-making campaign that is protecting thousands of the most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
His masks have been sent to protect healthcare workers in San Diego and in cities across the nation including had-hit New York City, as well as to farmers in the Midwest, farmworkers in Oregon, asylum seekers in Mexico, and tribal members of the Navajo Nation in Arizona.
 
How the effort began
 
“I was visiting Asia in January when the pandemic started,” says Colin, who began wearing masks in Vietnam and Taiwan.  Back home as a student at San Diego State University, he kept wearing a mask to avoid infecting others.  
 
But he recalls, “Both professors and students at SDSU were making fun of me…I had no option but to face some of those bullies and told them I was protecting them by wearing this mask, since I had no idea if I carried the virus with me home.” 
 
In mid-March, SDSU moved classes online. Without spending an hour daily commuting, Colin decided to make several masks instead and offer them online to whoever needed them, also replacing his own surgical masks that had been washed too many times to be protective.
 
“I looked online for patterns to make masks and I looked in my closet for clothes that I no longer use,” he tells East County Magazine in an exclusive interview. 

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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.

COUNTY LAUNCHES MOBILE COVID-19 TESTING AFTER CONCERNS RAISED OVER RACIAL DISPARITY; ALSO ANNOUNCES JOBS FOR TRACERS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Rev. Shane Harris, People’s Alliance for Justice

 

May 2, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego County will deploy mobile testing sites to at-risk communities. The vehicles will include a new Live Well Bus, bookmobiles and other County vehicles, the County announced on Thursday. The County also announced plans to dramatically increase tracing of contacts with each person who tests positive and announced job openings for tracers.


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SANTEE OPENS MAST AND WOODGLEN VISTA PARKS, INCLUDING DOG PARKS

By Miriam Raftery

May 1, 2020 (Santee) – The city of Santee today announced the reopening of Mast Park and Woodglen Vista Park, with some limitations to prevent spread of COVID-19. (see below)  All other parks remain closed, however all trails and walking paths remain open.

The city asks everyone to follow the regulations below “so we can keep these parks open, and hopefully open more parks in the near future.”


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TWO MAJOR SAN DIEGO HOSPITAL CHAINS SEEK 'URGENT' FEDERAL HELP ON BORDER

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

Photo:  A Scripps Health medical team. Group president/CEO says San Diego needs “PPE, pharmaceuticals and scarce medical equipment needed in this type of pandemic.” Photo courtesy of Scripps

May 1, 2020 (San Diego) - Executives with Scripps Health and Sharp HealthCare, two major San Diego hospital chains, have written to the federal government seeking “urgent action” to combat COVID-19 along the U.S.-Mexico border.


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FARMERS UNION CITES CONCERNS OVER EXECUTIVE ORDER ON MEAT PLANTS

By Mike Moen, Public News Service

Photo:  Unions across the country say the meat processing industry should have enacted adequate worker safeguards long before the pandemic. (Adobe Stock)

May 1, 2020 (Madison, Wis.) - At least 20 meat processing plants have closed temporarily across the country, including one in Wisconsin, following the spread of COVID-19 cases at these facilities.

And some say President Donald Trump was too quick to sign an order to keep all plants open during the crisis.


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REMINDER: MASKS REQUIRED FOR THESE ACTIVITIES STARTING TODAY

East County News Service
 
May 1, 2020 (San Diego) – Starting today, all San Diego County residents over age 2 must wear a face-mask when within six feet of others in public places, as well as when riding on public transit, shopping or certain other activities. However exercising with social distancing will be exempted from the order set for release this week, according to ECM news partner 10 News.
 
Here are examples of where you will be required to cover your nose and mouth:
 
  • Waiting in line to enter a store.
  • Shopping in a store or other essential business,
  • Picking up food at a restaurant,
  • Waiting on transit or riding on public transportation, such as a bus, trolley or train,
  • Riding in a taxi or rideshare vehicle,
  • At a healthcare facility or
  • Working at an essential job where you interact with the public.
 
Here are examples of where you will not have wear a mask:

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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.

COUNTY REOPENS PARKS AND GOLF COURSES, ALLOWS BOATING

By Miriam Raftery

April 30, 2020 (San Diego) – Starting tomorrow, a new county health order eases many restrictions on recreational facilities. Specifically:

  • All county parks will be reopened, with 50% parking capacity for social distancing.
  • Members of the same household can picnic or participate in sports or other activities in parks, but gatherings are still prohibited.
  • Recreational boating can resume at local lakes, bays and the ocean, however passengers must be in the same household.
  • Golf courses can also reopen, but golf carts are not allowed. Courses must provide physical distancing and conduct temperature screenings on all golfers.


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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.

GOVERNOR HEEDS LOCAL LEADERS’ REQUESTS, CLOSES ONLY ORANGE COUNTY BEACHES

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson at Pacific Beach
 
April 30, 2020 (San Diego) – After crowds packed Newport Beach in violation of social distancing mandates amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom today ordered Orange County beaches to shut down. But he backed off a broader order that Reuters News Service reported was under consideration, which could have closed all beaches statewide.

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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.

GOVERNOR ROLLS OUT FOUR-PHASE PLAN TO REOPEN BUSINESSES


By Miriam Raftery

April 29, 2020 (Sacramento) – Low-risk businesses and public spaces may be able to open, with modifications, in “weeks, not months” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a briefing yesterday . He laid out a detailed plan to reopen the state in four phases, with six key indicators to be met in order to lift restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 health emergency.


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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.

SCHOOL YEAR COULD BEGIN IN JULY OR AUGUST, SAYS GOV. NEWSOM

By Miriam Raftery

April 29, 2020 (Sacramento) – In a briefing yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom suggested California schools could reopen in July or August, provided keys steps are met. 

“We recognize there’s been a learning loss because of this disruption,” Newsom said of school closures since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those closures have impacted 6.1 million students statewide.  “We’re concerned about the learning loss even into the summer,” the Governor added.

Newsom outlined four phases to reopen the state, which is currently in phase one. Phase two would allow some low-risk businesses to reopen, ease restrictions on some public spaces, and potentially include plans to reopen some K-12 schools for either summer school programs or an earlier start to the 2020-2021 school year.


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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.

EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES HUNKER DOWN TO WAIT OUT PANDEMIC: CITY LEADERS SHARE VIEWS ON REOPENING

By Emmet Pierce

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

April 27, 2020 (San Diego’s East Count) -- Despite a growing desire to return to life as normal, East County residents and businesses are following the state’s COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, officials say.  But some mayors and local business leaders voice concerns over impacts on the business community from extended closures.


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SAN DIEGO FOUNDATION APPROVES $5 MILLION FOR INTEREST-FREE LOANS FOR NONPROFITS

Source:  San Diego Foundation

April 28, 2020 (San Diego) - Today the San Diego Foundation Board of Governors announced it approved $5 million to support short-term, interest-free loans to San Diego County nonprofit organizations impacted by COVID-19.  


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COVID-19 CASES IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY RISE TO 3,141; HUNDREDS OF CASES IN EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

April 28, 2020 (San Diego) – Over the weekend, 98 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by the San Diego County Health and Human Services department. The jump follows the trend in several cities where rallies were held to end shutdowns. The Sheriff arrested several local protesters over the weekend for violating stay-home orders.

The disease has spread rapidly in East County, where El Cajon now has 181 cases, La Mesa 71, Santee 29, Lemon Grove 28, Lakeside 22, Ramona 14, Jamul 6, and Alpine 4.  The communities of Ranchita, Boulevard, Potrero, Julian and Pala each have 2 cases; Borrego Springs, Descanso, and Tecate each have at least 1 case. View an interactive map with the latest updates on local cases by community.


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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.

NEW FINDINGS SHOW COVID-19 TIED TO DEADLY CLOTS , STROKES, AND LONG-TERM ORGAN DAMAGE IN SURVIVORS

By Jake Zawlacki

Blood clots can cause strokes, brain and neurological damage; cc image via Bing

April 28, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- There are still a lot of unknowns regarding COVID-19 and its effects. Over the past few weeks, patient developments have led researchers to investigate previously unknown risks of COVID-19, including blood clots, debilitating strokes in young people, and long-term damage in some survivors.

COVID-19 was the second leading cause of death in the U.S.from April 6-12. It killed an astounding 12,392 people during that period – ten times more than the 1,227 deaths from flu and pneumonia. The coronavirus killed more people than cancer nationwide. Over 50,000 Americans have died from COVID-19,  or roughly the same number killed during the Vietnam War. While the death toll of the 2019-2020 flu season will be unknown for a couple more months, the rates of infection and death are clearly more severe in coronavirus.


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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.

COUNTY'S TWO NEW TESTING SITES OPEN

Video shows some footage of trial site in Oceanside that is not currently open.
 
By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
April 27, 2020 (San Diego) -- Two new, appointment-only COVID-19 testing sites opened today in Escondido and Chula Vista, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.
 
One of the drive-up free testing sites is at the North Inland Live Well Center in Escondido, and the other is at the Live Well Center in Chula Vista.

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BEACH SHUT-DOWN PROTESTERS ARRESTED

By Miriam Raftery
 
April 25, 2020 (Encinitas) – The San Diego Sheriff arrested three protesters today for violating county and state orders against public gatherings during the COVID-19 emergency. The action follows several similar rallies around the county.
 
The protest at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas drew 75-100 demonstrators who called for beaches to be opened. 
 
According to Lt. Amber Baggs, “Several protestors walked onto the beach and sat as deputies began speaking to them regarding the County Public Health Order. The people were given multiple opportunities to comply with the state and county orders. Three attendees refused and were arrested.”

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FACE COVERINGS MANDATORY STARTING MAY 1, COUNTY ANNOUNCES

 

By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office

April 24, 2020 (San Diego) - The number of local COVID-19 deaths went up by two and total cases saw a record increase for a second day in a row with an additional 183 confirmed cases, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.


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COUNTY OPENING BEACHES TO SWIMMING, SURFING, OTHER WATER SPORTS ON MONDAY

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

Photo:  Lifeguards enforce the closure of city beaches. Photo by Chris Stone

April 24, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County officials announced Friday that coastal cities may reopen beach access for swimming, surfing, paddleboarding and kayaking on Monday.

“The ocean is a symbol of who we are as San Diegans, and it is appropriate at this point that we open up limited access to the ocean as a step in our continued progress,” said Fletcher at the county’s daily media briefing during the coronavirus pandemic..


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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.

NEW SMALL BUSINESS FUNDS APPROVED FOR SBA: APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED STARTING MONDAY, APRIL 27

East County News Service

April 24, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – After the first round of Small Business Administration (SBA) funds for businesses impacted by COVID-19 ran out, Congress approved a new round of funding just signed into law by President Donald Trump.  

The funding window for the new round of funding under the Paycheck Protection, which is designed to help small businesses retain workers, opens Monday morning and must be submitted through an approved lender.  Applications previously submitted before the earlier round of funding runs out are also eligible for funding.

Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration Jovita Carranza and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin issued the following statement today on the resumption of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP):


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READER’S EDITORIAL: NATIONWIDE VOTE-BY-MAIL NEEDED TO PROTECT OUR DEMOCRACY

By Al Chavarria

April 24, 2020 (Spring Valley) -- The most important element of our nation is our democracy. The right to vote is as basic of a right as we have. The right to have your voice heard in a nation of multiple voices shouting at the same time. The only way to decide on who will be our leaders is for the majority to decide and the only to do that is to vote! Simple and Patriotic, right?

So obviously with the current pandemic, the only safe way to achieve this in this coming election, is to VOTE BY MAIL. All  states need to prepare now and they should not be afraid to implement this strategy for fear of losing elections.


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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.

LOAN PROGRAM TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES IN UNINCORPORATED AREA AFTER SBA FUND RUNS OUT OF MONEY

By Miriam Raftery

April 24, 2020 (San Diego) -- The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a $5 million loan program to help small businesses in the unincorporated area that have suffered losses because of COVID-19.

After more than a month of mandatory shut-downs, promised relief has not arrived for many businesses and individuals.  Pam Garcia owns a hair salon in the unincorporated area of El Cajon.  “None of my self-employed people have gotten unemployment. I filled for small business help and have received not even a letter,” she posted on Facebook. “ I also have not received my stimulus.”


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READER’S EDITORIAL: PEOPLE’S LIVES TRUMP THE DOW JONES DURING PANDEMIC

By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH, retired epidemiologist
 
April 23, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- So Senator Jones claims America exceptionalism because our Constitution begins with “We the People,” in his recent editorial on restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nice sentiments, but what is the reality? 
 
According to Senator Jones, “‘We the People’ established a Constitution with a Bill of Rights that enshrines the liberties that cannot be permanently taken from us. Just because we’re in an emergency doesn’t mean we hand over our freedoms to the government absolutely and indefinitely.” 
 
First, no one is talking about handing over our freedoms indefinitely. However, if we rely on our “intuitive genius” President and people like Senator Jones rather than experts on infectious diseases we may actually hand over more than our freedoms--threatening our health and our lives.

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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.

COUNTY MOVES CLOSER TOWARD REOPENING, AS GROWTH IN COVID CASES SLOWS BUT DEATH TOLL MOUNTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilima Wooten urges everyone to wear masks in public to prevent spread of COVID-19.

April 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The growth curve for new  COVID-19 cases is showing signs of slowing locally, even as San Diego County reported 15 new deaths, bringing the total  deaths to 87. Meanwhile officials offered insights on what it will take to begin lifting local restrictions.


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FOOD INSECURITY, LACK OF RESOURCES TOP ISSUES FOR IMMIGRANTS DURING PANDEMIC

By Kendra Sitton for East County Magazine

Photo: Syrian refugee children in El Cajon, by Rachel Williams

April 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- While it may be true that a virus cannot discriminate, the structural inequalities already in place are exacerbated in a crisis. Groups already in a precarious position are more vulnerable than ever. Among these at-risk groups are immigrants and refugees. According to advocates working with immigrant and refugee communities, some of the top concerns they are hearing involve food insecurity and a lack of resources.


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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.

NEW COVID-19 CLINICAL TRIAL OF BIOTECH PRODUCT ANNOUNCED TO TREAT PATIENTS WITH UNDERLYING MEDICAL CONDITIONS

East County News Service

 

April 21, 2020 (Pasadena) -- A new clinical trial is being announced today that could significantly increase the rate of recovery for COVID-19 patients with underlying health conditions and save lives. Circularity Healthcares trial will help some of the most at-risk patients suffering from complications due to diabetes, poor circulation, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. The trial will involve the use of Circularity’s already FDA-approved drug and IDE device D’OXYVA® (deoxyhemoglobin vasodilator) - a non-toxicnon-invasive microcirculation transdermal device. 

 


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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.

CHIEF’S CORNER: EARTHQUAKE/DISASTER PREPAREDNESS MONTH

 
By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
 
One to Two Weeks With Nothing or One to Two Weeks With the Basics?
 
 
April 20, 2020 (San Diego) -- To say California has had a rough stretch the last number of years in the catastrophic loss world would be an understatement. But as we continue into 2020 and head into April it’s a reminder that April is California Earthquake Preparedness Month. Organizations and fire departments can take steps to lessen and mitigate the deadly and damaging effect of earthquakes by bringing awareness to communities.
 
Covid-19 is on the forefront of everyone’s mind, however, we cannot forget other potential disasters that threaten our state. Earthquakes, floods and fires are just a few.
 

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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.

SAN DIEGO SHERIFF AND POLICE WARN PROTEST ORGANIZERS AND DEMONSTRATORS CAN BE ARRESTED FOR VIOLATING COVID-19 BANS ON GATHERINGS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of Times of San Diego

April 20, 2020 (San Diego) – Over the weekend, hundreds of people held protests locally to call for reopening of parks, beaches and businesses shut down due to county and state health orders to prevent spread of COVID-19.   The protesters gathered in defiance of a county ban on all gatherings and failed even to provide social distancing or wear mask, putting themselves and anyone they come in contact with at risk of catching the highly contagious virus.

Today, the San Diego Sheriff and San Diego Police Department issued a statement which warns, “Although the protests were allowed to take place, we must not forget the public health orders were put in place to protect our communities from the spread of COVID-19. While no citations were issued at the protests, that does not mean prosecution will not be sought, especially to the organizers of these events.”


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IMMIGRANT ACTIVIST TO NEWSOM: OUTREACH NEEDED TO OVERCOME FEAR OF TESTING

By Chris Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

Photo:  Enrique Morones, shown at a Waterfront Park rally in 2018, reminds state officials: “By helping the undocumented community, you’re really helping yourself.” Photo by Chris Stone

April 19, 2020 (San Diego) - Among Gov. Gavin Newsom’s indicators to be used before stay-at-home orders can be eased (and the economy reopened) are testing and contact tracing.

But what if California’s 2 million undocumented immigrants are too fearful to be tested?


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INSURANCE COMPANIES MUST ISSUE REFUNDS TO CALIFORNIANS IMPACTED BY COVID 19 FOR AUTO, BUSINESS, AND OTHER POLICIES

By Miriam Raftery

April 18, 2020 (Sacramento) --  With many businesses closed or having employees work at home, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has found that risks of losses are reduced. So on April 13, the Commissioner ordered insurance companies to issue refunds or credits within 120 days to policyholders adversely affected by COVID-19 including:

  • Private passenger and commercial automobile insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Commercial liability insurance
  • Commercial multiple peril insurance
  • Medical malpractice insurance
  • Any other lines of coverage where risks have dropped due to the pandemic.

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