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

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

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

News

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

By Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher
 
April 2, 2020 (San Diego) -- It's hard to recognize the world around us right now. Our daily routines have changed dramatically. We're physically away from our friends and family. We have to make sacrifices to protect our health and the health of the community. And we can't escape the constant news coverage.

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

By Miriam Raftery

April 2, 2020 (San Diego) – Over 849 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in San Diego County. Of those, 1.4%, or 15 people have died, according to  County health officials. The county has identified several cluster outbreaks, including an outbreak in East County linked to the PalmCare Pharmacy in El Cajon,  NBC-7 reports.

A 25-year-old pharmacy tech who worked there , and who  had hoped to become a doctor, died last week at his family’s home in Riverside County. The pharmacy’s customers included many in East County’s Iraqi Chaldean community.

TWO FATALITY CRASHES ON HIGHWAY 67 IN LAKESIDE IN PAST TWO WEEKS

By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
 
April 1, 2020 (Lakeside) – Two fatality vehicle accidents have occurred on State Route 67 in Lakeside in the past two weeks. Here are the details, provided by Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol.
 
The first occurred on March 17 at 5 a.m.  A Spring Valley man, 45, driving a silver 2002 Ford Explorer northbound on Highway 67 south of Foster Truck Trail lost control and veered off the side of the road.  It became airborne before overturning down an embankment, then hitting a large boulder.  Law enforcement and a fire crew responded, but the driver died at the scene of his injuries. It is believed that the driver was wearing a seatbelt; alcohol and drugs are not believed to have been factors in the crash.

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

East County News Service

April 1, 2020 (Sacramento) – Governor Gavin Newsom today said he expects that “schools will not reopen” this school year due to the coronavirus outbreak. Newsom also announced a partnership with Google to provide over 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots statewide to improve internet connectivity and help students with online learning.

ALPINE’S LIONS TIGERS & BEARS SEEK DONATIONS TO FEED THEIR ANIMALS DURING COVID-19 SHUTDOWN

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

File photos by Miriam Raftery

March 31, 2020 (Alpine) -- Local tigers and other rescued exotic animals at Alpine’s Lions Tigers & Bears Animal Sanctuary need your monetary help.  The tigers, and more, need to keep eating even during today’s economic hard times induced by the COVID-19 crisis.

With millions in stay-at-home lockdown locally and nationally, money from attendance at the sanctuary has evaporated. The facility is closed to the public due to the pandemic. The COVID-19 shutdown has also forced postponement or cancellation of fundraising events for the foreseeable future.

You can donate at https://www.lionstigersandbears.org.  

Founder Bobbi Brinks set up the rescue facility and dedicated it to providing a safe haven for abused and abandoned exotic animals for life.

Unlike the infamous facility featured on “Tiger King,” Lions, Tigers and Bears is a no-kill and no-breeding  sanctuary.

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

By Nicole Freeling, UC Newsroom  

April 1, 2020 (San Diego) -- Across California and the nation, students have been forced to adapt as measures to combat COVID-19 have closed schools, cancelled standardized tests and upended every aspect of their education. And many have faced a nagging concern: how will this affect my college prospects?

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

East County News Service

San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob will hold  an East County Virtual Town Hall on Thursday to discuss the novel coronavirus, and she is encouraging residents in her district to submit questions.

County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten will take part in the meeting, which will take place at 4 p.m.

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

By Miriam Raftery

April 1, 2020 (San Diego) -- After weeks of warning Californians about the deadly threat the coronavirus poses to nursing home residents, the State of California on March 30th ordered California nursing home operators to bring the virus into their facilities, “knowing full well it is likely to kill many residents,” says Michael Dark, staff attorney at California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR).

TWO HEARTLAND FIREFIGHTERS INJURED IN EL CAJON HOUSE FIRE

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo courtesy of ECM news partner 10 News
 
April 1, 2020 (El Cajon) – A burning section of a home collapsed early this morning, trapping two Heartland Fire & Rescue firefighters, ECM news partner 10 News reports.
 
One firefighter was treated and taken to a hospital with unknown injuries; the other firefighter’s condition was unknown, according to 10 News.

STATE SEEKS MEDICAL AND HEALTHCARE WORKERS

East County News Service

April 1, 2020 (San Diego) -- The California Health Corps Registration has put out an urgent request for volunteers who are health professionals or medical students during the COVID-19 crisis. An online registration has been set up here.

Participants will be paid and will be given malpractice insurance coverage. Locations will vary, but the staste-run organization will try to match your geographical preferences.

“As California responds to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are preparing for an increase in the number of people who urgently need health care in our communities. To serve Californians and support our health care system, we are preparing to open additional health care sites to provide medical services both for people who have symptoms of, or test positive for, COVID-19 and to relieve the pressure on our health care system by providing care for non-COVID-19 cases,” the site states.

“We need your help. To ensure adequate staff for these sites throughout the state, we’re calling on healthcare providers, behavioral health professionals, and health care administrators.”

The following healthcare professionals are among those sought, though additional occupations are listed in the actual application:

COUNTY LAUNCHES VIRTUAL RECREATION CENTER WITH INDOOR AND OUTDOOR HOME ACTIVITIES

virtual recreation
DPR_Logo_Square

March 31, 2010 (San Diego)--The County of San Diego's Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) has launched a Virtual Recreation Center! This is your one-stop-shop for tips, tricks and tales to help you pass the downtime caused by school closures, quarantines and other County advisories. From virtual hikes to daily home fitness challenges, the site has both indoor and outdoor activities to adults and  kids who are homebound.

"While our standard rallying cry is to encourage people to spend more time outside, we understand that recent realities may not make that feasible. We’re now poised to offer many of our incredible outdoor activities in an online environment, or in a manner that supports social distancing," the site states.

Bookmark this page and check back often for new content. Below are items posted as of March 31:

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

 

By Paul Kruze

March 31, 2020 (El Cajon)-- Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) Superintendent David Miyashiro, EdD and Board of Trustees have walked into a new controversy after reports by NBC San Diego and the San Diego Union-Tribune on pay raises authorized the district board.

Following a call to action by the Cajon Valley Employees Association (CVEA), some 100 CVUSD teachers wearing red t-shirt and coats gathered in the CVUSD boardroom on March 10, the last board meeting before the district shut down due to COVID-19. In no uncertain terms, employees let the Board of Trustees and district cabinet know of their unhappiness with recent pay raises given to Superintendent David Miyashiro, EdM and others.

Audio: 

WORKING AT HOME OR OUT OF WORK? YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR LOWER CAR INSURANCE

By Miriam Raftery

March 31, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – If you’re out of work, working from home,  not driving to school due to the COVID-19 crisis, or cancelled a driving vacation, you may be eligible to have your vehicle insurance rates reduced.  I called our insurer and was able to reduce our annual car insurance costs by around $260.

LOCAL COVID-CASES REACH 603: COUNTY RESTRICTS CRUISE SHIPS

Source: County News Service

By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

March 30, 2020 (San Diego) – Through March 30, a total of 603 COVID-19 cases have been reported in San Diego County, including 84 new cases today.

Of San Diego County’s cases, 345 (57%) were men and 256 (43%) were women. Of the known cases, 118 (19%) have required hospitalization, 51 (8%) had to be placed in intensive care and 7 (1.2%) have died.

Health officials today announced the County is restricting the acceptance of cruise ships with COVID-19 cases and has instituted new rules for the unloading of passengers and crew members off cruise ships arriving in San Diego.

EL CAJON MAYOR BILL WELLS HOLDS VIRTUAL TOWN HALL MEETING

Answers Wide Variety of Questions Submitted By Local Residents     

by Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Complete Video

March 30, 2020 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells on Tuesday evening held a first-of-a-kind virtual town hall meeting via the city’s website answering a wide variety of questions submitted by local residents on a live basis through the city’s website and social media sites.

The hour-long webcast addressed such subjects as the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, how the city is addressing the needs of the area’s homeless population during the crisis, the city’s refusal to shutter local gun shops, resident evictions and foreclosures, law enforcement response, and other topics.

AMAZON SHUTS DOWN ACCOUNTS OVER PRICE-GOUGING, BUT HOW DO YOU FILE A COMPLAINT?

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 30, 2020 (San Diego) – Earlier this month, Amazon.com announced that it had pulled over a million products off its online site for price gouging during the pandemic and/or false advertising regarding effectiveness of products against the COVID-19 virus. Now the company has suspended over 4,000 vendors for price gouging, CNN reports.

COX TAKES STEPS TO EXPAND INTERNET ACCESS TO HELP THOSE WORKING OR SCHOOLING KIDS AT HOME, ALSO AIDS CUSTOMERS WITH FINANCIAL STRESS DUE TO COVID-19

By Miriam Raftery

March 30, 2020 (San Diego) – Cox Communications recently announced steps to keep people and communities connected  during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many are working at home, educating children at home, or facing financial stress.  Those steps include increasing customer bandwidth free, suspending data usage overage fees, not cutting off phone or internet services for people who can’t pay bills due to the pandemic, and waiving late fees. Cox is also offering low-cost fees for new customers including families with children, opening outdoor WiFi hotspots, and more.

Cox assures that its network has capacity to handle a surge in usage trends from business to residential areas, allow quick emergency repairs, and protect employees and customers through social distance.

Below is Cox’s statement on keeping communities connected and helping those who most need connectivity:

REAL I.D. DEADLINE EXTENDED UNTIL OCTOBER 2021

By Miriam Raftery

March 30, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline for Americans to obtain a REAL ID has been extended by a year. The new deadline is October 1, 2021, avoiding the need for people to visit crowded DMV facilities during the pandemic in order to meet the prior deadline.

After that date, a REAL ID or a valid passport will be required for all airline flights in the U.S., as well as to enter federal facilities such as military bases.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf made the announcement on the agency’s website, which states:

NEW FUND SUPPORTS SAN DIEGO’S IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

 

 

Source: San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium

March 30, 2020 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC), a project of Alliance San Diego, has launched the SDIRC Immigrant Relief Fund to provide grants of up to $500 to immigrant families in San Diego who have lost part or all of their income due to the coronavirus pandemic, or other disasters. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes county and statewide shelter-in-place orders, many workers in San Diego County have had their hours reduced, are temporarily not working, or have lost their jobs altogether. Some immigrant workers are not eligible for certain federal and state benefits such as unemployment and food stamps. 

The fund will launch with $10,000 thanks  to a generous donation from Oxfam America, a confederation of 19 independent charitable organizations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty, and a donation from SDIRC, a coalition of over 50 organizations serving the immigrant community. The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium is asking those who can to consider donating to the fund.

For more information on the fund, click here

To apply for the fund, click here

To donate to the fund, click here

COUNTY PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS TO CONTINUE; RENEWALS, STATUS REPORTS DEFERRED

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
Photo courtesy: County of San Diego
 
Medi-Cal, CalWORKs, CalFresh and General Relief benefit payments for current customers will continue uninterrupted through April, May and June and certain paperwork is deferred until further notice.
 
The County began sending texts and calls Wednesday to San Diegans who receive the benefits to let them know about the change and confirm that benefits will continue through June.

TRUMP SIGNS STIMULUS BILL; U.S. NOW HAS MOST COVID-19 CASES IN WORLD

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- President Trump has signed a $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, the largest in American history, stating, “I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first.”  The package includes direct payments, loans and grants.

The action comes after the U.S. surpassed China and Italy with the most COVID-19 coronavirus cases of any nation on earth. Worldwide over half a billion people have been infected with the virus. In the US there are over 95,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,450 people have died.

The Senate coronavirus bill will include help for:

VEHICLE ACCESS CLOSED AT ALL 280 STATE PARKS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Lake Cuyamaca in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is among sites now closed to vehicle access.

March 29, 2020 (San Diego) – California State Parks announced today that vehicle access is shut down to all 280 state parks due to visitors not following social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 outbreak. In San Diego County, state parks include Cuyamaca Rancho, Anza Borrego Desert, and San Pasqual Battlefield state parks as well as state beaches at Cardiff, Carlsbad and Torrey Pines.

TONIGHT ON TV: ELTON JOHN AND OTHER STARS PERFORM IN “FOR AMERICA” CONCERT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Elton John in concert in San Diego

March 29, 2020 (San Diego) – Viewers around the world can tune in on their TVs tonight (Sunday 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Fox) to watch “Living Room Concert For America.” The free concert, organized by Elton, will feature music superstars and will encourage viewers/listeners to donate to benefit Feeding America and First Responder Cihldren’s Foundation.

The musicians will be performing in their own living rooms, since large gatherings such as concerts in arenas or stadiums are banned.  Participating musicians including Mariah Carey, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Alicia Keys, Tim McGraw and Billie Joe Armstrong as well as Elton John and many other performers.

Ellen DeGeneres, Lady Gaga, Ken Jeong, Ryan Seacrest, Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone will also be special guests during the “Living Room Concert.”

GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM ANNOUNCES MAJOR FINANCIAL RELIEF PACKAGE: 90-DAY MORTGAGE PAYMENT RELIEF DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

Newsom announces financial institutions will provide relief for vast majority of Californians; financial institutions agree not to negatively impact credit reports as a result of accepting payment relief

By Miriam Raftery

File photo during rally in Ramona to stop foreclosures during prior mortgage foreclosure crisis

March 29, 2020 (Sacramento) -- Governor Gavin Newsom announced on March 25 that financial institutions will provide major financial relief for millions of Californians suffering financially as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Newsom secured support from Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo and nearly 200 state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers to protect homeowners. (The order does not apply to commercial mortgages, however some cities have adopted broader protections.)

“Millions of California families will be able to take a sigh of relief,” said Governor Newsom. “These new financial protections will provide relief to California families and serve as a model for the rest of the nation. I thank each of the financial institutions that will provide this relief to millions of Californians who have been hurt financially from COVID-19.”

Under the Governor’s proposal, Californians who are struggling with the COVID-19 crisis may be eligible for the following relief upon contacting their financial institution:

GOVERNOR NEWSOM TAKES EXECUTIVE ACTION TO ESTABLISH A STATEWIDE MORATORIUM ON EVICTIONS THROUGH MAY 31

Renter must notify landlord within a week of when rent is due, if they can’t pay due to COVID-19, to be eligible for the eviction freeze

By Miriam Raftery

March 29, 2020 (Sacramento)--Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters in California affected by COVID-19 through May 31, 2020.

The order prohibits landlords from evicting residential tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions by law enforcement or courts.  It does not protect commercial tenants, however.

It also requires residential renters to declare in writing, no more than seven days after the rent comes due, that the tenant cannot pay all or part of their rent due to COVID-19 such as because of job layoff, cuts in hours, business closures, medical expenses, childcare due to school closures for parents still working in critical jobs, or other impacts related to the pandemic.

The tenant would be required to retain documentation that their inability to pay rent is due to COVID-19, such as termination notices, pay stubs, bank notices, medical bills, or other proof.

COUNTY’S STAY-HOME ORDER EXTENDED INDEFINITELY

By Miriam Raftery

March 29, 2020 (San Diego) – As local COVID-19 cases climb to 488, including seven deaths, the County has extended its existing public health order indefinitely. The order was originally issued only until March 31.

The newest deaths include a man in his 20s who died in Riverside County and a man in his 80s with underlying medical conditions.

 “Just these two deaths reflect the sober reality that we are facing, that COVID-19 can affect individuals of all ages,” said Nick Yphantides, County chief medical officer. Locally, the death rate is 1.4%, or 14 times higher than the death rate from flu.

In just the past 24 hours before yesterday’s press conference, 71 new cases were diagnosed locally.  Most, 57.4%, are in men and nearly 20% required hospitalization, with 8.6% in intensive are.

The public health order will require that non-essential business stay closed including bars, restaurants for dining in services, gyms, fitness centers and more. Schools must also stay homes.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY REFUGEE FAMILIES EMERGENCY FUND SEEKS DONATIONS TO HELP LOCAL FAMILIES DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

East County News Service

Photo by Rachel Williams: Syrian refugee children in El Cajon

March 29, 2020 (San Diego) – Refugees are among the hardest hit among our local residents impacted by COVID-19 shutdown orders. These are immigrants legally admitted to the U.S. after suffering war, famine, or other life-threatening hardships, primarily from the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

To help these new Americans, Partnership for Advancement of New Americans, in partnership with other refugee assistance organizations, has launched the San Diego County Refugee Assistance Fund.  Every penny will be donated directly to help a local refugee family.

You can donate here:  https://www.panasd.org/covidfund?fbclid=IwAR0sorX-O-fc-5H3hDa6fvN9TbmJqJ1fCEE3gPWR3_GRfDhyPl4mC8uB3-s

Their goal is to raise $100,000 so that they can support 100 families with grants of $1,000 each. In the first three days, over $80,000 has been raised.

According to their website:

"COVID-19 presents tremendous challenges for already struggling refugee families.

"The majority of San Diego’s refugee workers are in the restaurant, hotel, and transportation industries hardest hit by the pandemic. Even with the City of San Diego taking action to halt evictions, foreclosures, and utility shut-offs, people already struggling to make ends meet are now managing reduced work hours or furloughs, school closures, childcare challenges, and food scarcity. Community members have lost their jobs, drivers are facing major disruption with Uber and Lyft, and families have children that need to complete school assignments online, but don't have internet connectivity at home.

FIRE DESTROYS SPRING VALLEY HOME AFTER LIKELY LIGHTNING STRIKE

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: San Miguel Fire on Instagram
 
March 28, 2020 (Spring Valley) – A Spring Valley couple has been treated for smoke inhalation after escaping their Spring Valley home during a fire around 3:45 a.m. on Friday. The couple reported hearing a loud noise believed to be a lightning strike, followed by smelling smoke. 

A HAIRY PROBLEM: WHAT TO DO WITH BARBER SHOPS AND SALONS SHUT DOWN

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Creative Commons via Bing 

 

March 28, 2020 (San Diego) – As the COVID-19 stay-home order drags on, with barber shops and hair salons shut down, you may feel ready to pull a paper bag over your head and cut eyeholes to hide bad-hair-days that are now every day.  

Here are a few other options.

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