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December 20, 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 story, click “read more” and scroll down.


Ambulances turned away as emergency rooms overwhelmed (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Severe impacts on local emergency departments have forced paramedics to wait for hours before they can deliver their patients, prompting unprecedented changes to San Diego County ambulance bypass procedures Tuesday.

California wildlife officials reject proposal to put housing on San Diego ecological reserve (San Diego Union-Tribune)

A controversial and unprecedented land deal that would have allowed a housing development on 219 acres of ecologically prized land in San Diego County was defeated Tuesday. The California Wildlife Conservation Board voted five to one, with its chairman Chuck Bonham abstaining, to deny a proposed land exchange between the state and developer group GDCI Proctor Valley, L.P.

Tribal casinos tighten protocols, cancel some events, but remain open amid COVID-19 surge (MSN)

While much of California is in lockdown mode with many businesses ordered to close as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge, the nine casinos on tribal lands in San Diego County remain open.

Worsening pandemic is driving more San Diego County students back to online learning  (San Diego Union-Tribune)

More than three-quarters of all K-12 students in San Diego County are learning online now, as the raging COVID-19 pandemic shutters many schools a second time. 

Surging COVID cases placing strain on area hospitals, staff (EC Californian)

Sharp HealthCare had more than 300 COVID-19 patients in its system as of Dec.7. About 116 of those are at Sharp Grossmont Hospital…Sharp Grossmont Hospital CEO Scott Evans said this is a significant increase from where they were just a few weeks ago when they were seeing between 20 to 35 cases at any given time…”It has certainly been tripling if not quadrupling the numbers that we are seeing,” he said. “We have 75 licensed ICU beds at Grossmont…94% of our ICU beds are full.”

California National Guard sent troops to San Diego nursing homes (10 News)

On Monday, the California National Guard confirmed that its service members were recently sent to two San Diego nursing homes that needed help treating residents who were sick with COVID-19. “If you have an outbreak, you have staff that has to quarantine…,” Deborah Pacyna with the California Association of Health Facilities told ABC10 News. The CDPH reports that since the start of the pandemic, 50 healthcare workers have tested positive at the El Cajon facility where 91 residents have gotten the virus and 45 healthcare workers have tested positive at the Santee facility where 58 residents have contracted COVID-19.

Supervisors OK Permit For Planned Charter High School In East County (Times of San Diego)

The Board of Supervisors Wednesday, after a lengthy public hearing, gave the go-ahead to a charter high school being planned for the East County community of Rancho San Diego. Via teleconference, the board voted 3-2 in favor of a major use permit to allow Literacy First Charter Schools to build on a parcel located on Chase Avenue west of Jamacha Road, in the Valle De Oro Community Plan area. The board also denied an appeal from the Valle de Oro Community Planning Group and Save Our Students – Safety Over Sorry.

Alpine driver wins NASCAR truck series championship (10 News)

After 19 years behind the wheel of the 48 car, El Cajon native Jimmie Johnson stepped away from NASCAR following this past season. However, there is another east county driver who is scratching the NASCAR surface. Alpine native Sheldon Creed, who with the biggest season of his young career, captured the 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.


Some ICUs at California hospitals are completely full: ‘It is the worst we have seen’ (Los Angeles Times)

Some California counties on Tuesday saw intensive care units hit full capacity, and others were getting close to that level as COVID-19 cases continued to surge.

Drivers over the age of 70 no longer have to set foot in the DMV(NBC San Diego)

The governor ordered that in order to protect the elderly from being infected in conglomerated places, they be allowed to renew their license remotely.

Facing a ‘a grim set of weeks,’ California opens COVID field hospitals across the state (Los Angeles Times)

The field hospitals will care for non-ICU patients in places such as Costa Mesa, Porterville, Sacramento and Imperial; other facilities are on standby status in Riverside, Richmond, Fresno, San Diego and San Francisco.

California economy still staggering from COVID-19 shutdowns. And things could worsen (Sacramento Bee)

California’s economy continues to struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic, enduring business shutdowns ordered by Gov. Gavin Newsom and embarrassing defections to Texas by some bright lights of Silicon Valley. On Friday, the Employment Development Department released the latest snapshot of the state’s economy: California’s unemployment rate fell eight-tenths of a point in November, to 8.2%. However, job growth totaled just 57,100, a little more than one-third as many jobs as were created a month earlier, signaling a slowdown in the recovery.

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