BRUSH FIRE ENGULFS HOMES IN RANCHO SAN DIEGO

POWER OUTAGES ACROSS EAST COUNTY COULD LAST DAYS AMID HIGH WINDS, RED FLAG WARNING

REPORT: COVID SOARS IN NURSING HOMES WITH MORE PATIENTS OF COLOR

AUTOPSY CONFIRMS PEDESTRIAN KILLED BY VEHICLE IN EL CAJON INCIDENT DISPUTED BY FAMILY

SAN DIEGO COUNTY EXPECTS INITIAL ALLOCATION OF 28,000 VACCINE DOSES IN DECEMBER

CAMPO MAN CHARGED WITH BURNING HISTORIC RANDALL LAMB BUILDING IN LA MESA DURING RIOT

HOLIDAY COOKING DISASTERS TO AVOID

PEOPLE AT HOLIDAY GATHERINGS URGED TO GET TESTED FOR COVID-19

GOV. NEWSOM ANNOUNCES HELP FOR BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19 INCLUDING TEMPORARY TAX RELIEF AND $500 MILLION IN GRANTS

COVID-19 VIRUS FOUND IN WASTEWATER AT UCSD: THOSE WHO USED RESTROOMS IN 5 AREAS SHOULD GET TESTED AND WATCH FOR SYMPTOMS

SAN DIEGO COUNTY REPORTS RECORD 1,802 NEW COVID CASES, BUT NO DEATHS

UP IN SMOKE? LEMON GROVE LEADERS WEIGH RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA APPROVAL AND TAXATION TO EASE FISCAL CRISIS

News

BRUSH FIRE ENGULFS HOMES IN RANCHO SAN DIEGO

 

Update 12:32 a.m. Dec. 3:  San Diego Sheriff's Office issuing evacuation orders for following locations: Brabham St. at Jamacha, Wind River Rd. at Sonnett. Dr., Sea Pines R. and Congressional Dr., Sawgrass St. and Medinah Dr. Residents on Hilton Head Rd. east of Jamacha have also been advised to prepare for evacuation.

Update 11:50 p.m.:  A temporary evacuation center is being set up at the Edwards Cinemas at 2951 Jamacha Rd.

The Sheriff reports that the following road closures are in effect: Brabham St/Wind River Rd, Brabham St/Jamacha Wind River Rd/Sonnett St Sea Pines Rd/Congressional Dr Sawgrass St/Medinah Dr

By Miriam Raftery, East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Photo: Screenshot, ECM news partner 10 News

December 2, 2020 (11:25 p.m.) – A wind-whipped brush fire has engulfed at least three homes in the Rancho San Diego area of El Cajon tonight. At least 15 acres have burned and the incident commander has reportedly indicated that the fire has the potential to reach 200 acres.

Night-flying helicopters have been dispatched by San Diego Fire & Rescue, joining ground crews from Heartland Fire, Cal Fire, and San Miguel Fire Departments.

The #WillowFire started around 10:30 p.m. in the 2800 block of Willow Glen Drive near Hillsdale Road. Evacuations are in place from Wind River Road to Lim Rock Road.

The SDG&E outage map indicates power has been shut off to portions of Rancho San Diego and nearby communities of Spring Valley, Jamul and Dulzura.


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POWER OUTAGES ACROSS EAST COUNTY COULD LAST DAYS AMID HIGH WINDS, RED FLAG WARNING

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

December 2, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – SDG&E has shut off power to 22,000 homes tonight as winds up to 76 miles per hour have been recorded in parts of East County.  A red flag warning is in effect starting tonight through Saturday at 10 p.m. for inland valleys and mountains countywide due to low humidity and strong winds with gusts of 60 miles per hour or more.

SDG&E earlier  warned 88,700 customers of potential for prolonged public safety shutoffs that could last several days. Tonight, power has been shut off to thousands of residents in areas that include Alpine, Boulevard, Campo, Deerhorn Valley, Dehesa, Descanso, Jacumba, Jamul, Julian, Pine Valley, Potrero, Ramona, Rancho San Diego, Spring Valley, Valley Center, Warner Springs, Wynola and more. Power could be off through Sunday or Monday, according to SDG&E.

Brian D’Agostino, SDG&E’s director of fire science and climate adaptation, will provide a video briefing daily before 3 p.m. for the duration of the weather event. These video briefings will be available on SDG&E’s YouTube channel. The link to today’s briefing is available here. SDG&E will also be posting hourly updates on its NewsCenter at sdgenews.com, as needed.


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REPORT: COVID SOARS IN NURSING HOMES WITH MORE PATIENTS OF COLOR

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service
 
December 2, 2020 (Sacramento) - A new report pinpoints why COVID-19 spread so fast this summer in California nursing homes.
 
The study found skilled nursing facilities that meet recommended staffing levels for Registered Nurses had half the infections compared to those that don't meet the standards. And the novel coronavirus infection rates are three times higher at facilities with large numbers of African-American patients.
 
That's according to Kristof Stremekis, director of market analysis and insight with the California Health Care Foundation, which commissioned the report.
 
"Black and Latinx people in California are disproportionately impacted by this virus," said Stremekis. "And we need to make sure that those facilities which are serving Black and Latinx patients have the resources that they need to keep people safe."

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SAN DIEGO COUNTY EXPECTS INITIAL ALLOCATION OF 28,000 VACCINE DOSES IN DECEMBER

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

Photo:  Creative Commons via Bing

December 2, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County will get 28,000 doses of the new Pfizer vaccine in the next week or two, but it will be March or April before coronavirus vaccines are widely available, public health officials said Wednesday.


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CAMPO MAN CHARGED WITH BURNING HISTORIC RANDALL LAMB BUILDING IN LA MESA DURING RIOT

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos and video by Jake Rose

December 2, 2020 (La Mesa)—La Mesa Police announce the arrest of Daniel Sandoval, 43, of Campo.  He is charged with arson and felony vandalism of the historic Randall Lamb building, which was set on fire during a riot on May 30-31 in downtown La Mesa, says Lt. Greg Runge.

The building had been designated a historic structure by the La Mesa Historical Society. Due to the extensive damage, it was declared a total loss.

Sandoval was arrested near his home yesterday, according to a news release issued by LMPD. He has been booked into San Diego County Jail on the warrant with bail set at $500,000.


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PEOPLE AT HOLIDAY GATHERINGS URGED TO GET TESTED FOR COVID-19

Source: County News Service

Photo credit:  Shutterstock

November 30, 2020 (San Diego) - If you traveled or gathered with people outside your household over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, you were at higher risk of having contracted COVID-19 and could inadvertently be spreading it.


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GOV. NEWSOM ANNOUNCES HELP FOR BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19 INCLUDING TEMPORARY TAX RELIEF AND $500 MILLION IN GRANTS

East County News Service

Today’s announcements include the Main Street Hiring Tax Credit, which authorizes $100 million in hiring tax credit for qualified small businesses. The credit is equal to $1,000 per qualified employee, up to $100,000 for each small business employer.The application opens tomorrow, December 1. A full list of existing state support for businesses can be found here.

Nov 30, 2020  (Sacramento) -- As the federal government fails to provide additional financial stimulus support to main street businesses, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that California will provide temporary tax relief for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

The temporary tax relief entails an automatic three-month income tax extension for taxpayers filing less than $1 million in sales tax, extends the availability of existing interest and penalty-free payment agreements to companies with up to $5 million in taxable sales and provides expanded interest free payment options for larger businesses particularly affected by significant restrictions on operations based on COVID-19 transmissions. In addition, last week the Governor announced short-term loans for small businesses available through the new California Rebuilding Fund. The state also launched $500 million in grants for impacted businesses and nonprofits.


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COVID-19 VIRUS FOUND IN WASTEWATER AT UCSD: THOSE WHO USED RESTROOMS IN 5 AREAS SHOULD GET TESTED AND WATCH FOR SYMPTOMS

East County News Service

 

November 29, 2020 (San Diego) – A campus notice advises that the COVID-19 virus (also known as SARS CoV-2) has been detected in the wastewater in five campus areas at the University of California, San Diego. 


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SAN DIEGO COUNTY REPORTS RECORD 1,802 NEW COVID CASES, BUT NO DEATHS

 
Photo courtesy: San Diego County News Center
 
November 28, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County health officials reported a record 1,802 new COVID-19 infections Friday, raising the region’s total to 78,159 cases, but no additional deaths.
 
Friday marked the 17th consecutive day that more than 600 new cases were reported. The county’s death toll remains at 996.
 
The virus is surging across the country in a second wave. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported 324,358 new cases and 3,668 more deaths for a total of 262,673 nationwide.

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UP IN SMOKE? LEMON GROVE LEADERS WEIGH RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA APPROVAL AND TAXATION TO EASE FISCAL CRISIS

By Helen L. Horvath, PsyD

 

November 28, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – One of the hottest topics on the November 17th Lemon Grove City Council meeting held via Zoom was how to develop revenue streams to decrease Lemon Grove’s budget deficit. This need to increase the City’s financial strength has led to many hard choices and a community desire to find innovative methods to raise tax revenues. 


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BOARD APPROVES MORE FUNDS FOR BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS IMPACTED BY COVID-19

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

November 28, 2020 (San Diego) -- The County Board of Supervisors this week voted to provide more stimulus funds to businesses forced to close indoor operations after the region was placed in the Purple Tier.

At a special meeting, the Board gave the green light for $20 million in general funds to be added to the Small Business Stimulus Grant Program established in May.

The funds will be available to businesses and nonprofit organizations in the following industries:

  • Restaurants
  • Gyms and fitness centers, including yoga studios
  • Movie theaters
  • Museums
  • Zoos and aquariums
  • Event planners (weddings, festivals, fairs, etc.)


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ARMED ASSAULT SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LAKESIDE, WITH HELP FROM MOTORIST, AFTER PURSUIT

East County News Service

November 27, 2020 (Lakeside) – An assault suspect is behind bars after leading deputies on a short pursuit in Lakeside Tuesday, says Sergeant Dane Wiesner.

Deputies from the Lakeside substation responded to an assault call around 11:30 a.m. near the 11500 block of Bridle Path Lane. The reporting party told deputies the suspect fled the scene in his vehicle.

Deputies located the suspect and tried to conduct a traffic stop, but he sped off and a short pursuit ensued.

The suspect slowed down and almost came to a stop in the 10400 block of Paseo Park Drive, where deputies in their patrol cars and a nearby citizen in his car surrounded the suspect's car and caused him to stop.


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LATEST UNEMPLOYMENT SCANDAL: STATE PAID INMATES $1B IN FRAUDULENT CLAIMS

By Emily Hoeven, CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo via iStock

November 25, 2020 (Sacramento) - California may have paid up to $1 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims filed on behalf of prison and jail inmates in what prosecutors are calling “the most significant fraud on taxpayer funds in California history.”


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COUNTY RENTAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO ADDITIONAL 10,000 HOUSEHOLDS

By Jose A. Alvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

 

November 25, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County residents who are economically impacted by COVID-19 could qualify for assistance of up to $3,000 to pay for past-due or upcoming rent.


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AS PANDEMIC AID ENDS, CALIFORNIANS FACE BRUTAL NEW YEAR

By Nigel Duara, CalMatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  Jacques Gene at his home in Cool, near Sacramento, with his 7-year-old son Wyatt. They are among the hundreds of thousands of Californians who are bracing for pandemic aid to end, as federal unemployment benefits expire and the state lifts its eviction moratorium. Photo by Hector Amezcua for CalMatters

November 25, 2020 (Sacramento) - In late 2017, a house fell on Jacques Gene. 

The construction foreman in Cool, east of Sacramento, was inside a half-finished home when the rolling trusses that make up the underside of the roof fell, collapsing the whole house. Gene, 46, suffered broken ribs, a punctured lung and a concussion. When his coworkers sorted through the rubble, he says, they didn’t expect to find him alive. 


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SDG&E WARNS 2,700 CUSTOMERS OF POTENTIAL PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFFS AFTER THANKSGIVING

East County News Service

Nov. 25, 2020  (San Diego’s East County)  – Stock up on coolers to keep your Thanksgiving leftovers chilled.  Due to a Red Flag Warning  issued by the National Weather Service and forecasted Santa Ana winds, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has notified approximately 2,700 customers in the communities of Alpine, Campo Reservation, Crestwood, Descanso, Julian, La Posta Reservation, Manzanita Reservation, Pala, Santa Ysabel, Santa Ysabel Reservation, Valley Center and Viejas Reservation, that it may have to turn off power to reduce wildfire risk beginning early Friday morning.      

 “The last thing we want to be telling any of our customers right now is that we may have to shut off power given the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and the ongoing COVID pandemic,” said SDG&E’s Chief Customer Officer Scott Crider. “Public Safety Power Shutoffs are a last resort to prevent wildfires, and our employees are dedicated to doing everything we can to minimize impacts should it come to that. We’re hoping Mother Nature cooperates, but in an abundance of caution we have reached out to our customers so they can be prepared.”

Several hundred SDG&E linemen, troubleshooters and support personnel will be working on Thanksgiving Day and through the holiday weekend to ensure that power can be restored as quickly and as safely as possible, should safety power shutoffs occur.


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RED FLAG WARNING THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING: HIGH FIRE DANGER

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

November 25, 2020 (San Diego's East County)-- The National Weather Service in San Diego has issued a Red Flag Warning, which is in effect from Thursday, Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. through Saturday, Nov. 28 at 9 a.m. for the inland valleys and mountains of San Diego County. The Red Flag Warning has been issued due to strong gusty winds and low humidity.

Areas are forecast to have winds from 25 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. Higher gusts are possible in the windiest locations.

Any fires that develop may spread rapidly with extreme fire behavior, threatening life and property. Be prepared to evacuate if needed. Be sure your cell phone is registered with AlertSanDiego, the county’s regional notification system to receive alerts directly to your mobile device.


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“ALARMING” SURGE IN COVID CASES AS HOSPITALIZATIONS CLIMB

By Miriam Raftery

November 25, 2020 (San Diego) – Yesterday, County health officials confirmed 1,546 new COVID-19 cases – surpassing the prior record of 1,478 set just last Friday. The past week also saw 73 community outbreaks, with 15 more on Tuesday alone. Hospitalizations have increased 15.5% and ICU capacity is now 30%, with 50% ventilator capacity going into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend when officials warn gatherings could overload our healthcare system and cost lives.

“The continuing spike in cases ahead of this week’s holiday is alarming and it is vital that All San Diegans commit themselves to the public health guidance,” says Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, County Public Health Officer. “The sooner we lower our case rates, the sooner we will be able to lift restrictions and reopen our businesses.”

San Diego remains in the state’s most restrictive purple tier. Statewide, COVID-19 cases surged more than 81%, state health officials reported yesterday.  San Diego’s adjusted case rate is 13.1%.


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RENTAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO ADDITIONAL 10,000 SAN DIEGO COUNTY HOUSEHOLDS

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

Photo credit: Charles Marlin, Rent Past Due

November 24, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County residents who are economically impacted by COVID-19 could qualify for assistance of up to $3,000 to pay for past-due or upcoming rent.

The County will be accepting new applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program starting December 1, 2020. Interested people can find more information about the program and apply starting at www.SDHCD.org.

Because of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many residents have been unable to pay rent, which can cause them to be evicted and lead to an increase in homelessness.

Understanding the financial burden for both tenants and landlords, the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors allocated $27 million in funding for an Emergency Rental Assistance Program to ease that burden for thousands of county residents.


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TRUMP ADMINISTRATION AGREES TO BEGIN TRANSITION TO PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN'S TEAM

By Miriam Raftery

November 23, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – Today, President Donald Trump acknowledged that he has instructed his administration to begin the transition to President-Elect Joe Biden and his team.

The announcement came on Twitter, after Michigan and Georgia certified their electors and a judge dismissed Trump’s challenge in Pennsylvania.  Biden won the popular vote by more than 6 million votes and has 306 electoral votes; 270 are needed to win.

In a Tweet today, Trump stated that he was recommended that General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy “do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”


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HOPES RESTORED FOR DREAMERS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Dreamers rally; CC by SA-NC

November 23, 2020 (San Diego) – The fate of some 650,000 young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, or “Dreamers,” has been in limbo during four years of the Trump administration.  But now a court ruling and a proposed key appointment by President-Elect Joe Biden give Dreamers hope of avoiding deportation.


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JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS REACTS TO MASSIVE PROPOSED ENERGY PROJECT, ASKS FOR LOCALS TO SUBMIT CONCERNS IN WRITING BY DEC. 7

By Rebecca Person

November 23, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) --  Residents of quiet Jacumba Hot Springs, a longtime retreat destination for traveling nature lovers and health seekers worldwide, are raising their voices to object to a proposed solar farm directly adjacent to the town. At a meeting Nov. 11 in town, they gathered to learn more about the proposed project and weigh in on its impact on their lives.

Locals say the project, which would cover an area of 643 acres, 6 times the area of their town, will impact its economic base and atmosphere. It could destroy the town’s travel appeal on historic Old Highway 80 where tourists, bicycle, motorcycle and classic car clubs venture, hikers explore the scenic high desert known for its boulder formations, desert washes and native plants, oaks, sunsets and sunshine.  


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CONGRESS APPROVES BILL TO ALLOW FREE ACCESS TO NATIONAL PARKS FOR WOUNDED VETERANS

By Miriam Raftery

 

November 23, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - The House of Representatives passed the Wounded Veterans Recreation Act to provide all veterans with a service-connected disability a National Parks and Federal Lands Pass free of charge. The bill already passed the Senate and after House approval, now heads to the President’s desk to await signature.


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ANOTHER COVID RECORD: 1,478 NEW CASES IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY AS VIRUS SURGES

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

Photo:  Coronavirus testing at San Diego State University. Courtesy of the university

November 23, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County public health officials Saturday reported a record-high 1,478 new COVID-19 infections and six new deaths, raising the region’s totals to 70,709 cases and 966 deaths.


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COVID OUTBREAKS IN COUNTY DETENTION FACILITIES PROMPT QUARANTINES

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2020 (San Diego) – Several dozen COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in inmates at the George Bailey and East Mesa Detention facilities in San Diego, the Sheriff’s office reports.

On Nov. 16, the Sheriff reported that nine inmates tested positive the prior week at George Bailey in Module 1C, prompting more tests which returned 46 more positive test results.  Those who tested positive were transferred to isolation units and one was hospitalized. Fifteen tested negative but were isolated and monitored for symptoms.  Two asymptomatic inmates were released before their test results were available.


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DRY WEATHER, FIRE DANGER RETURNS LATE THIS WEEK

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Dry weather is forecast this week, with fire weather conditions over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Temperatures will be at or slightly below normal with patchy dense fog tonight and gusty westerly winds Monday across mountain passes and in the deserts.  By late Thursday, moderate Santa Ana winds could bring gusts up to 50 miles per hour.


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SENATOR FEINSTEIN COSPONSORS RECOVERY ACTS FOR BUSINESSES AND THEATERS, BUT COMMITTEES STALL ACTION

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Ron Logan

November 22, 2020 (San Diego) – Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) is cosponsoring two measures aimed at helping struggling businesses as other benefits run out, as well as a measure specifically aimed at helping arts organizations such as theaters.

Senator Feinstein states, “More assistance is clearly needed.  Artistic and cultural institutions are struggling for their survival.”


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GIFTS FROM THE EAST: SPECIAL 2020 EDITION

By Miriam Raftery

November 19, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – This holiday shopping season amid a pandemic, we’ve scoured the shops and online stores across San Diego’s East County to find our recommendations for gift items unique to our region.  Our picks include many artisan and locally hand-crafted treasures, farm-fresh humanely raised foods, delicious sweet treats, warm and stylish wearables, and gifts that benefit local nonprofits including a wildlife sanctuary. This year, we’ve chosen many places offering online ordering  as well as locations allowing ample social distancing.


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FREE TURKEYS, FOOD AND HOME ESSENTIALS FOR HOMEBOUND SENIORS AVAILABLE THROUGH PEOPLE’S ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE

By Miriam Raftery

November 18, 2020 (San Diego) – At a press conference held yesterday,  the People’s Alliance for Justice (PAJ) and partnering organizations announced that through their COVID-19 senior health outreach task force, at least 1,000 homebound seniors countywide will be delivered free turkeys, non-perishable groceries and home supplies such as toilet paper, cleaning products and toothpaste.

How to get help, volunteer, or give: To sign up for delivery to a homebound senior, or to volunteer, call the PAJ hotline at 619-354-8051. You can also donate to support this worthy cause at  www.peoplesallianceforjustice.net.

“Seniors are still our most at risk population and we must take every precaution to protect them throughout the difficult winter months ahead,” says Rev. Shane Harris, President and CEO of the People’s Alliance for Justice, noting that San Diego County is now in the state’s purple tier due to rising COVID-19 cases. It is one thing to provide information that makes the holiday season look dark, but it is another thing to bring a ray of light that can shine up a dark situation."   


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TIPS ON CARING FOR SOMEONE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHO HAS COVID-19

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Image by Engin Akyurt at Pixabay

Nov. 21, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The number of COVID-19 positive cases in the San Diego region is increasing.  Currently the County of San Diego reports 68, 203 cases and 952 deaths. Chances are increasing that you will be taking care of someone in your household, or even monitoring your own symptoms if you were exposed.

Should you do laundry with gloves? Spray disinfectant on handles and doorknobs? Wear masks inside? How do you isolate someone in your family? Check with your doctor for details and consider the tips below.

According to the guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) here are the tips they suggest


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