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March 31, 2020 (San Diego) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego's inland regions, published in other media.  This week's round-up stories include:  



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


San Diego’s Mesa Biotech gets approval for 30-minute coronavirus test (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Mesa Biotech, a privately held San Diego startup that designs point-of-care flu tests, has received emergency authorization from federal authorities to provide a molecular test for the COVID-19 coronavirus. The company, which employs 50 workers, said its palm-size COVID-19 tests deliver results in as little as 30 minutes.

FDA approves San Diego company’s coronavirus test kit (10 News)

As more people grow weary of the coronavirus pandemic, the race is on to get more test kits in the hands of medical professionals. Sorrento Valley's Hologic Diagnostic Solutions is making a big dent in the test kit shortage.

One by one, prominent San Diego hotels shutting down amid coronavirus lockdown (San Diego Union-Tribune)

With occupancies at record lows, Manchester Grand Hyatt, Paradise Point, L’Auberge Del Mar and others will temporarily shutter, leaving many jobless

Coronavirus: Scripps Health to temporarily shut down Santee clinic (Patch)

Scripps Health will temporarily close three of its clinics by the end of the week to provide a safe environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

San Diego County to restrict cruise ship disembarkation after Tuesday (Times of San Diego)

The county announced two new public health orders Monday focused on cruise ships, one giving the county public health officer discretion on disembarkations if a passenger or crew member on the ship has tested positive for coronavirus and the other banning all cruise ships from disembarking in San Diego after Tuesday.

San Diego Magazine folds after 72 years (Times of San Diego)

Voice of San Diego quoted publisher Fitzpatrick as saying he intended to reopen when “the crisis passes.” “San Diego Magazine is a 72-year-old brand and I will not let it die,” he wrote Voice. “This is hopefully a short pause.”


California closes vehicular access to all 280 state parks  (Mercury Star-News)

After seeing another surge of visitors at California’s state parks this weekend, the state announced Sunday that it is temporarily closing off vehicular access to all 280 parks in hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus.  

California got 170 broken ventilators from feds; Silicon Valley is fixing them, Newsom says (Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday said the federal government sent Los Angeles County 170 ventilators that arrived “not working,” and now a Silicon Valley company is fixing the equipment amid the coronavirus outbreak. California and other states have been stocking up on ventilators in anticipation of a shortage at hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

California governor: 5 big banks suspend mortgage payments (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Five of the nation’s largest banks have agreed to temporarily suspend residential mortgage payments for people affected by the coronavirus, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

California beer, wine and weed companies get creative during coronavirus stay-at-home order (Sacramento Bee)

As Californians shelter at home due to the coronavirus, wineries, breweries and cannabis dispensaries are trying to figure out how to get their products to the customers. Breweries and wineries have been feeling the pinch ever since the Gov. Gavin Newsom directed them to close tap rooms and tasting rooms to slow the virus’ spread. Since then, businesses have had to get creative to find ways to get their products out. Businesses have branched out into online ordering, home delivery, curbside pickup, special discounts and other offers.

California is asking state workers to consider changing jobs during coronavirus outbreak (Sacramento Bee)

…Newsom said that the state has sent out surveys to employees designated as having a “non-essential” capacity, asking them whether they would be willing to be re-assigned to another position. He said many of them are saying they’re open to a temporary job change. “Rather than just send these employees home, they’re willing through these surveys to say, ‘You know what, I have this skill on applications that I can apply.’ And we’re shifting them over, for example, to begin the process of helping us with unemployment insurance,” Newsom said.

California restaurants plead for insurance help during coronavirus closures (Politico)

After shutting their doors and laying off staff amid the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of California’s panicked business owners are confronting another head-spinning crisis: insurance firms rejecting their loss claims.

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley urges Governor Newsom to suspend AB-5 amid the coronavirus pandemic (KUSI) – Assemblyman Kevin Kiley has been working to repeal California’s Assembly Bill 5 since it became law.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Kiley is urging Governor Gavin Newsom to suspend AB 5 because “it would be a great help to countless Californians as well as our managing of this (COVID-19) crisis.” So many Californians are currently stuck at home, and unable to make money freelancing because of AB 5.Assemblyman Kiley wants Californians to be “allowed” to work as freelancers, especially since they could currently be making money while quarantined at home. Kiley’s most recent effort to repeal AB 5, AB 1928, failed to receive enough votes.

PG&E to plead guilty to 85 counts in 2018 Camp Fire and pay victims $13.5 billion, court filings show (CNN)

California utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company has agreed to plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of unlawfully starting the Camp Fire…The company is sentenced to a maximum fine of "no more than $3,486,950," and it must reimburse the Butte County District Attorney's Office $500,000 for the costs of its investigation…Among other provisions, PG&E must establish a trust, compensating victims of the 2018 Camp Fire and other wildfires to the tune of $13.5 billion…It has to pay hundreds of millions to the town of Paradise and Butte County and cooperate with prosecutors' investigation, the plea deal says.


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