MENTAL HEALTH ASSISTANCE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

COVID-19 OUTBREAK LINKED TO PHARMACY IN EL CAJON; COUNTY DEATH TOLL RISES TO 15

SCHOOL CLOSINGS DUE TO COVID-19 PRESENT POTENTIAL FOR INCREASED RISK OF CHILD EXPLOITATION

GOVERNOR AND STATE SUPERINTENDENT CALL FOR SCHOOLS TO STAY CLOSED THROUGH END OF SCHOOL YEAR

UC EASES ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS IN RESPONSE TO EDUCATION DISRUPTIONS; SUSPENDS LETTER GRADE AND TESTING REQUIREMENTS

CALIFORNIA ORDERS NURSING HOMES TO ADMIT RESIDENTS WITH COVID-19; EXPERTS CALL DIRECTIVE A “DEATH SENTENCE”

SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB WILL HOLD VIRTUAL TOWN HALL ON COVID 19 THURSDAY

STATE SEEKS MEDICAL AND HEALTHCARE WORKERS

SPECIAL EDITION: BREAKING NEWS APRIL 1, 2020

COUNTY LAUNCHES VIRTUAL RECREATION CENTER WITH INDOOR AND OUTDOOR HOME ACTIVITIES

TEACHERS PROTEST PAY RAISE FOR CVUSD SUPERINTENDENT; MIYASHIRO GETS SALARY FAR HIGHER THAN STATE AND NATIONAL AVERAGES FOR SIMILAR-SIZED DISTRICTS

LOCAL COVID-CASES REACH 603: COUNTY RESTRICTS CRUISE SHIPS

REV. SHANE HARRIS AND PEOPLE'S ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE LAUNCH "WISH LIST SENIORS FUND” TO DELIVER FOOD AND TOILETRIES TO SENIORS’ HOMES

East County News Service
 
March 26, 2020 (San Diego) - Civil rights activist and President of People's Alliance for Justice Shane Harris has launched a new fund to serve vulnerable seniors countywide during the COVID-19 Coronavirus public health crisis.  Starting today, volunteers will deliver toiletries and food to seniors age 65 and older at their homes.

SHARP REES-STEALY TEMPORARILY CLOSING SOME FACILITIES IN LA MESA AND CHULA VISTA

By Miriam Raftery

March 26, 2020 (La Mesa) – Sharp Rees-Stealy has announced that due to the COVID-19 emergency, starting March 26 it will temporarily close its La Mesa West facility on El Cajon Blvd. (though the Grossmont facilities will remain open).  The medical group will also temporarily shut down most services at its Chula Vista facility, except for occupational medicine, pharmacy and urgent care, starting March 27.

297 LOCAL COVID-19 CASES: COUNTY OFFERS ADVICE ON HOW LONG TO STAY ISOLATED IF YOU’VE HAD SYMPTOMS

East County News Service

 

March 25, 2020 (San Diego) – With COVID-19 testing availability limited and 297 local cases confirmed, County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten is advising people who experience mild to moderate symptoms of possible COVID-19 to stay at home for at least seven days after symptoms appear and three days after respiratory symptoms have improved (such as cough and shortness of breath) and fever is completely gone, without the use of fever-reducing medications

GARNISHMENT OF SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS FOR STUDENT LOANS IN DEFAULT SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY, AMAC SAYS IT WILL FIGHT TO MAKE IT PERMANENT

Source:   Association of Mature American Citizens 

Image by 3D Animation Production Company on Pixabay

March 25, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - The Trump Administration has put a timely halt on the ability of the government to garnish Social Security benefits to pay for defaulted student loans for an indefinite period during the COVID crisis, reports the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC]. 

LOCAL WRITER OFFERS FREE ONLINE CLASS AND FREE LIFE COACHING SESSIONS

East County News Service

March 25, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Local author and life coach Dianna Bellerose is offering a free mini-class “created as a result of having to reinvent myself during the last economic downtown, and with reports of a global recession underway the content is more important than ever." Click here to download your free copy

MORE PUBLIC PLACES SHUT DOWN DUE TO VISITORS CROWDING ATTRACTIONS, IGNORING SOCIAL DISTANCING

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) – As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread in San Diego and people eager to exercise or socialize crowd into outdoor public spaces, more are shutting down including most local beaches as well as many parks and trails.

Here’s the latest on what’s open and closed.

While it's best to stay home if you have space to exercise and get fresh air there, if you do venture out to public spaces, be sure to maintain social distance of six feet from anyone not in your famliy and so that the few remaining places to enjoy nature won’t be shut down, too. No groups of 10 or more are allowed anywhere in the state.  The Sheriff has said that those violating social distancing rules may be arrested, fined, and jailed.

THESE RESTAURANTS IN EAST COUNTY ARE OFFERING TAKE-OUT AND/OR DELIVERY

Note: This story is being updated as we learn of more restaurants with takeout or delivery options.  If you own a restaurant in East County, email your info to editor@eastcountymagazine.org. All readers and restaurants are also welcome to post comments in our comments section below. 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Hacienda Casa Blanca in El Cajon posted  these images of some take-out and delivery options

March 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Since yesterday’s county order for restaurants to stop dine-in service through March 31 due to the COVID-19 emergency, many owners are adapting by switching to curbside take-out (curbside) service and a few are also offering home delivery through services such as GrubHub, UberEats, or through their own delivery service.

While this is by no means a complete list, here are many restaurants confirmed as offering take-out and/or delivery services.

Call or check the restaurant's website for details on hours and how to place orders, which vary at each location and may change.

If you know of any we missed, please post in the comments section below!

COUNTY NOW HAS 242 CASES OF COVID-19, INCLUDING TWO INFANTS

Cases expand countywide including more East County communities

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) – The number of COVID-19 cases in our region continues to grow at a steep pace.  San Diego County now has 242 confirmed cases, of whom 226 are county residents. Two of the new cases are in infants. Heath experts warn the actual number of cases could be ten times higher, since not enough tests are available and thus testing is being done primarily on those hospitalized with respiratory distress.

'WE LIVE PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK': UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS STRUGGLE AS ECONOMY GRINDS TO A HALT

By Jacqueline Garcia and Jackie Botts

Jacqueline García is a reporter with La Opinión. CalMatters reporter Jackie Botts contributed to this article. This article is part of The California Divide, a collaboration among newsrooms examining income inequity and economic survival in California.

Photo:  undocumented immigrants often work in construction. Photo by La Opinión

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) - More than 2 million undocumented workers, who do not quality for many state and federal benefits, are among the hardest hit Californians as the economy is battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

MAN KILLED, ANOTHER INJURED IN EL CAJON SHOOTING

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 24, 2020 (El Cajon) – Two young men, both 20-year-old El Cajon residents, were shot during a confrontation March 20 shortly before 8 p.m., near the intersection of Applewood Drive and Cedar Street. One man was shot in the torso and died at a hospital. The other was shot in the leg and is expected to survive, according to Lieutenant Jeremiah Larson with El Cajon Police department.
 
Police responded to calls reporting gunshots heard with several people fleeing the area at 7:55 p.m. Witnesses described the confrontation. The names of the victims are not being released at this time pending notification of the families.

COUNTY REPORTS SECOND DEATH; SHERIFF SEEKS CLARIFICATION ON STATUS OF GUN STORES

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

Photo:  Sheriff Bill Gore speaks at Tuesday’s media briefing. Image from live stream

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) - Health officials reported Tuesday a second death from coronavirus disease involving a San Diego resident, and said two new cases involve infants.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s Public Health Officer, said the latest victim was a man in his late 70s. The death of a man in his early 70s was reported Sunday.

MOUNTAIN CHILD MUSINGS: LOGIC IN AN ILLOGICAL TIME

By Jake Zawlacki

March 24, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- I love watching zombie movies. They’re gruesome and grotesque and impossible. For all their entertainment value, I could never take them seriously. I knew that people didn’t act like that. They didn’t lose their minds when a slow-moving threat came into the world. They didn’t raid everything and kill people out of fear. I knew those things, until I went into a supermarket yesterday.

The current global situation is a unique one, but it’s not one that has to scare everyone to scurry like rats in their holes. It can also allow us to unite and do our part to help mitigate this phenomenon, to not act selfishly, and to leave food and supplies in the aisles for everyone else.

AZTECS MULTI-USE STADIUM PROJECT RECEIVES KEY APPROVAL FROM CSU BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) - The California State University Board of Trustees today approved the design and financing plan for San Diego State University’s new multi-use stadium in Mission Valley. The board’s approval enables SDSU to continue preparation for the 35,000-capacity Aztec Stadium, which will be among the first projects to be constructed as part of the SDSU Mission Valley campus.

BORED AT HOME? FREE CLASSES ONLINE IN WRITING, ART, SCIENCE AND MUSIC

Some of history’s greatest works were created during past epidemics

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Playwright William Shakespeare and physicist Isaac Newton are among those inspired to creative endeavors while in quarantine (public domain images via Wikipedia)

March 24, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Creativity can blossom out of hardship. As you’re hunkered down at home due to the COVID-19 epidemic, consider this: during historic epidemic eras, some of the world’s most famous writers, artists and scientists drew inspiration for their greatest works. We've provided a few of their stories, along with some links to free online classes in writing, art, science and music to spark your own creative impulses.

COVID-19 PROMPTS PRISONER RELEASES, COURT CLOSURES, SUSPENSION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

 

Update: All jury trials in Calif. Superior courts have been delayed for 60 days, per an order issued today by California's Chief Justice and Chair of the Judicial Council

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Scales of justice, Creative Commons via Bing

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) – The COVID-19 emergency is having major impacts on the criminal justice system. 

Locally, the Superior Court is shut down for all but emergency procedures.  Trials are suspended. Public defender lawyers are barred from visiting defendants in county jails.  The Sheriff and District Attorney have announced plans to release some prisoners awaiting arraignment and some medically vulnerable inmates.

 At the federal level, the Department of Justice has asked Congress to grant federal judges  sweeping new powers to detain people indefinitely during emergencies even if they have not yet been charged with a crime, halt court proceedings, and prohibit anyone with COVID-19 from seeking asylum in the U.S., among other changes that concern civil liberties experts. The Trump administration has also indicated it will arrest anyone who crosses the border seeking asylum.

FREE AP TESTS AND PREP CLASSES FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS OFFERED BY AP COLLEGE BOARD DUE TO COVID-19: CLASSES ONLINE START MARCH 25

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) – Students who want to take the Advanced Placement (AP) exams and be prepared, despite school closures, can now take free AP review classes online.  The AP College Board is giving students free live and on-demand.  They are also developing a new at-home testing option.

AP  tests are college-level exams on specific subjects and are normally administered in May upon completion of an AP course at a student's high school. At many colleges and universities, a high enough score will earn the student college credit. In some instances, earning college credit can mean an overall lower college tuition bill.

You can learn more or sign up at https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/coronavirus-updates.

A message on the AP College Board website states, “We surveyed 18,000 AP students to see if they still wanted the opportunity to test this year. Their answer: a resounding yes.”

FREE RIDES FOR SENIORS AND OTHERS IN NEED

East County News Service
 
March 23, 2020 (San Diego) – Supervisor Dianne Jacob has asked that we share this information with seniors and others in need.  In light of the coronavirus crisis, a local nonprofit, FACT, is offering free transportation for seniors, persons with disabilities, students, veterans and other residents with essential needs. 
 
Call 888-924-3228 between 8am and 3pm, Mon thru Fri.
 

SUPERVISORS GASPAR AND DESMOND SEEK RELIEF FOR RESTAURANT INDUSTRY

East County News Service

Photo: Jeff Rossman, president, California Restaurant Association, estimates 60% of local restaurants have shut down.

March 23, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Supervisor Kristin Gaspar and Supervisor Jim Desmond announced Monday they will ask County staff to defer all environmental health fees for restaurants for the next six months at their Board meeting Tuesday. This includes permit fees, late fees and plan check correction fees associated with plans submitted prior to March 1, 2020. Since the Governor implemented a ban on all indoor dining, the President of the California Restaurant Association Jeff Rossman, estimates that 60% of local restaurants have shut down.

EL CAJON RELEASE BODY CAM VIDEOS OF SHOOTING

 

By Miriam Raftery

View video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjF2UYCYNcw&feature=youtu.be . Warning: video contains graphic images and language, viewer discretion advised.  

March 23, 2020 (El Cajon)—El Cajon Police have released body camera footage from multiple officers of the non-  lethal shooting of a car theft suspect, Keith Crenshaw, 21, on February 12th. The videos confirm that after waking up the suspect sleeping in the vehicle, officers repeatedly warned him to put his hands up, even after the suspect repeatedly said, “Shoot me!”

The incident began after Phoenix Police called to request that ECPD recover a stolen car identified via an auto-license reader.  Officer Stanley and his trainee, Officer Jabrael, arrived at 544 South Johnson and Officer Sandoval along with a civilian approached from the rear.

After verifying the license, Officer Jabrael approached the driver’s side but the door handle was missing. When the suspect awoke, Officer Stanley repeatedly ordered him to put his hands up and not to reach into his shirt. At one point he asked for a less-lethal weapon. But before he could obtain one, the suspect repeatedly stated, “Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me!”

Officer Stanley and another officer can be hear continuing to try and convince the suspect to put up his hands.  Officer Stanley stated, “No, I do not want to kill you. Let me see your hands.”

STORMS TO BRING RAIN, COLD AND SNOW DOWN TO 4,000 FEET

East County News Service

March 23, 2020 (San Diego)--A storm system will bring light showers today through Wednesday, with a new storm system forecast for Wednesday afternoon into Thursday.  This will be a colder storm, with snow levels possibly falling to 4000’ or lower.

There will be less moisture, but nevertheless, some accumulating snowfall is likely in the mountains. Roads may be slippery due to rain and snow, with chains potentially required at higher elevations.

STATE EXPANDS AND CLARIFIES “ESSENTIAL” JOBS AND BUSINESSES THAT CAN STAY OPEN

By Miriam Raftery

March 23, 2020 (Sacramento)—The State Public Health Officer has listed a detailed 14-page list of “essential critical infrastructure workers” allowed to continue working under the Governor’s executive order, which mandates that most Californians stay home due to the COVID-19 emergency.  

View the full list:  https://covid19.ca.gov/img/EssentialCriticalInfrastructureWorkers.pdf

The list provides much more detail than the original executive order.  For example, appliance repair stores, mortuaries, mental health and substance abuse workers, cannabis clinics, veterinary and animal care facility workers, postal and shipping companies, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, auto repair shops, home improvement and appliance stores, attorneys and accountants helping to meet statutory requirements, farm workers, food suppliers and farmer’s markets, laundry services, IT professionals/computer repairs, construction workers, critical tribal positions, suppliers of critical industries and manufacturers of critically needed products such as hand sanitizers are among the many occupations added on the expanded list of businesses that can remain in operation.

SOME BEACHES, PARKS AND TRAILS SHUT DOWN AS CROWDS DEFY ORDERS, 205 LOCAL COVID-19 CASES CONFIRMED

By Miriam Raftery

March 22, 2020 (San Diego) – This weekend, crowds of mostly young people defied orders by the Governor and San Diego County banning groups of 10 or more and requiring social distancing of six feet.  As a result, police shut down parking lots at city beaches, some parks were ordered closed, and Cleveland National Forest closed down trails to Cedar Creek and Three Sisters Falls in East County.

Tonight County health officials announce that 205 people in San Diego County have tested positive for COVID-19, including 178 county residents and 16 non-residents. The first death of a San Diego resident from the new coronavirus occurred after the man, who was in his 70s, traveled to Hawaii and was being treated in Santa Clara County.

Cases have been confirmed in the cities of Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Del Mar, El Cajon, Encinitas, Escondido, La Mesa, National City, Oceanside, Poway, San Diego, San Marcos, Santee, Solana Beach and Vista, as well as the unincorporated areas of Fallbrook, Lakeside, Ramona and Rancho Santa Fe.

FEMA AID FOR CALIFORNIA

Source: FEMA

March 22, 2020 (San Diego) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced that federal emergency aid has been made available for the state of California to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing.

The President's action makes federal funding available for crisis counseling for affected individuals in all areas of the state of California.

Federal funding is also available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures (Category B), including direct federal assistance under Public Assistance, for all areas affected by COVID-19 in the state of California. The federal cost share is 75 percent.

HUNGRY OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS? EMERGENCY FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS ANNOUNCED COUNTYWIDE

March 22, 2020 (San Diego) -- In addition to emergency food distributions, Feeding San Diego offers food assistance at many sites throughout San Diego County including rural, mountain, desert and urban communities. Click here to find a location near you.

 Feeding San Diego is working on adding additional distributions based on community input and the needs of specific populations. Listings of available emergency distributions will be updated daily and published at feedingsandiego.org/coronavirus.

NOTE: There are NO REQUIREMENTS to accessing any of Feeding San Diego’s food distributions.

SAN DIEGO MAY RUN SHORT OF VENTILATORS IF PEOPLE DON’T STAY HOME

By Miriam Raftery

March 22, 2020 (San Diego) – The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that hospitals countywide (not counting the military) have 826 respirators – and around 500 are now in use.  While some additional respirators may be available by tapping into our nation’s emergency strategic supplies, if the growth in severe COVID-19 cases continues to grow at the rate it has recently, supply could soon outstrip demand, meaning life-saving treatment would not be available to all who need it.

Fortunately, we may all be able to prevent that from happening. The UT reports, “Hospital impact models suggest that it’s quite possible to make it through the coming spread of disease across the region without outstripping ventilator and hospital bed capacity, but only if a significant percentage of the populace actually follows through with the social-distancing measures that have been ordered.”

Around 1% of COVID-19 patients need ventilators –but among those patients, severe respiratory symptoms tend to appear rapidly.  With immediate access to a ventilator, pressure can be applied to open up collapsed air sacs in the lungs before irreversible lung damage or death occurs. With this intervention, the patient can get enough oxygen for their own immune system to have time to kick in and start fighting off the virus.

GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE CEO ASKS FOR DONATIONS OF MASKS, INCLUDING HAND-SEWN; ALSO PROVIDES RESOURCE LINKS ON COVID-19

 

Update: Grossmont has secured a supply of masks and no longer asks for public help to sew masks, though donations of N95 masks are still appreciated.

By Miriam Raftery

March 22, 2020 (La Mesa) – Grossmont Healthcare District CEO Barry Jantz announced today on Facebook that while Sharp Grossmont Hospital currently has an adequate supply of masks, those supplies are expected to dwindle as ability to replace them becomes difficult nationwide. 

“Therefore, the district will be accepting donations of regular paper and hand-sewn masks,” he states. “On Monday a central donation site will be established for the various hospitals in the Sharp system, including Grossmont. A phone number may also be established for coordination of donations. Instructions on hand sewn masks will be included.”

The announcement follows inquiries from community members.  “Thanks so much for the community stepping up on this in such a significant way! You are all so much appreciated!,” Jantz concludes.

In an email sent to ECM, Jantz also provided links to information he’s been reading about on COVID-19, along with this note:

CORONAVIRUS SILVER LINING: POLLUTION DROPS AROUND THE WORLD

By Miriam Raftery

March 22, 2020 (San Diego) – With people around the world sequestered at home due to the COVID-19 virus, factories shut down and freeway traffic jams virtually gone, satellite images and photos are revealing sharp drops in pollution across the globe.

In Los Angeles, early data from the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-5P Satellite shows that levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air, mainly produced by vehicle emissions, dropped sharply in the first two weeks of March, the New York Times reports.

SAN DIEGO DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR, OTHER PROMINENT DEMOCRATS HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID-19

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Update March 30:  Rodriguez-Kennedy has been released from the hospital and contiues his recovery at home.

Three members of Congress, including Republican Senator Rand Paul, also test positive

Photo: Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, Kelvin Barrios and Steve Padilla are all hospitalized with COVID-19

Update March 26, 2020  - Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, the county Democratic Party Chair, is now out of the V.A. hospital after being ill for 13 days including nearly a week "fighting for my life"  in the hospital, including "terrifying periods where I struggled to breathe." On Facebook, he thanked his medical team adding, "If there is anyone out there who is not taking this seriously, change your opinion now. COVID19 could have killed me.

March 21, 2020 (San Diego) – Following a troubling national pattern of younger patients being hospitalized with COVID-19, three prominent local Democrats are currently in intensive care units after testing positive for the disease.

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, Chairman of the San Diego County Democratic Party, is hospitalized in an intensive care unit at the Veterans Administration Medical Center. Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Padilla, who also chairs the California Coastal Commission, has also been hospitalized and on a respirator after testing positive. Kelvin Barrios, a candidate for San Diego City Council in District 2, is on a respirator as well.

LA MESA CHAMBER CELEBRATES THEIR HEROES AT SYCUAN CASINO

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

March 21, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) Before the state of California shut down all but essential businesses in an effort to contain coronavirus, the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce held a dinner celebrating their local heroes on March 12 at Sycuan Casino – Resort. The event was their 12th Annual Salute to Local Heroes.

At that time, gatherings were limited to 250 and the attendance was reportedly 167.

 “We’re celebrating the strength of our community,” said the Chamber’s President and CEO Mary England. “I have seven heroes.”

 

 

Those seven heroes selected to receive awards were:

NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES NOT GETTING AID TO FIGHT COVID-19: FEDS OFFER EXPIRED RESPIRATORS TO TRIBAL HEALTHCARE WORKERS

By Miriam Raftery

March 21, 2020 (San Diego) – Health clinics at Native American reservations as well as urban Indian healthcare centers are running dangerously low on medical supplies needed to combat the COVID-19 crisis and protect healthcare workers, Politico reports

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