Health/Fitness

COUNTY BOARD RATIFIES COVID-19 EMERGENCY DECLARATION

Illustration of 2019 novel coronavirus
Image Credit: CDC
 
By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
Feb. 20, 2020 (San Diego) - The Board of Supervisors yesterday voted to ratify the County’s declaration of a local health emergency and proclamation a local emergency to deal with the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
 
The move is meant to reassure the public that local health authorities are proactively working to stay ahead of any challenges that may arise. The local health emergency will last for 30 days, the local emergency for 60 days. The Board will consider whether each action should be extended at its respective time interval.

STATE EXTENDS DEADLINE TO MARCH 31 FOR HEALTHCARE COVERAGE BEFORE HEFTY FINES KICK IN FOR NOT HAVING INSURANCE

Subsidies are now available for families earning up to $154,500 or individuals earning up to $74,940 a year
 
By Miriam Raftery
Photo: creative commons via Bing
 
February 19, 2020 (Sacramento) – Many people don’t know that although the federal government waived fines for not having healthcare coverage, the state did not.  Fortunately for those without insurance, California has extended the deadline from Jan. 31 to March 31 to get insurance or pay stiff penalties.
 

MEDICARE FOR ALL SAVES $450 BILLION AND PREVENTS 68,000 DEATHS

By Common Dreams staff, cc

Photo: Members of National Nurses United (NNU), along with a broader coalition of pro-Medicare for All organizations rallied outside of the national headquarters of PhRMA in support of Medicare for All on April 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo: NNU/flickr/cc)

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday applauded a new study published today by a team of epidemiologists in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet, which found that Medicare for All will save Americans $450 billion and prevent 68,000 unnecessary deaths each and every year.

ROBERT KENNEDY, JR.'S LEGAL TEAM SUES FCC OVER WIRELESS HEALTH GUIDELINES

Robert Kennedy Jr.’s Legal Team Sues FCC – The team includes RFK, Jr., IRREGULATORs’ Attorney Scott W. McCollough & Dafna Tachover, CHD’s Director of Stop 5G & Wireless Harms
 
Reprinted with permission from Children's Health Defense, Inc. 
 
February 18, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Robert Kennedy, Jr., Chairman of Children’s Health Defense (CHD), is committed to be proactive on the concerns regarding excessive exposure of our children to 5G and wireless radiation. To fulfill this promise, CHD submitted a lawsuit on February 2, 2020 against the FCC for its December 4, 2019 decision to decline to review its 1996 guidelines, and for its determination that the guidelines are protective of human health.

MOUNTAIN CHILD MUSINGS: THE HUMAN OIL CHANGE

By Jake Zawlacki
 
February 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Last week, I received a call from the local blood bank and was told there was a current patient in need of my blood. I made an appointment, and days later I gave my donation. As the nurse was taking down my information, I heard my name mentioned outside the door with a couple people using the word “special.” My nurse then informed me, as well as two other nurses throughout my short visit, that it was indeed a rare event in which a donor would be donating their blood to a predetermined patient. I happened to be that rare event.
 
I asked what happened to the rest of the blood, imagining huge tanks of boiling human blood lined up in a high-ceilinged warehouse where spigots would fill empty barrels and buckets held by black rubber gloved hands.

ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: DRINKING ALCOHOL CAN INCREASE RISK OF CANCER

By David R. Shorey
East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies
 
February 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Let’s say you stop at a bar on the way home from work on Friday evening to take advantage of happy hour. You have a couple of beers or cocktails and that’s it. The next day you have a couple of glasses of wine with your Saturday night dinner and no more. Then during Sunday morning champagne brunch, you have a mimosa or two. Does that make you a problem drinker? Probably not.
 
But research shows that the more you drink, the more at risk you are of getting cancer. A direct link has been found between drinking alcohol and cancer risk, mostly cancer of the head and neck, the esophagus, and liver. Notably, breast cancer in men and women is also included.

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

GET A BLOOD PRESSURE SCREENING AND SCORE A DEAL ON GULLS TICKETS

 
By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
February 11, 2020 (San Diego) -- When was the last time you had your blood pressure checked? If it’s been a while, this month might be a good time to turn your attention to this matter of the heart.
 
On Valentine’s Day, residents can get their blood pressure checked for free at any of about 450 locations across San Diego County, the U.S. and Mexico for Love Your Heart Day.  Many faith-based organizations are getting in on the action by hosting blood pressure checks Feb. 11-16.

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

POSSIBLE CORONAVIRUS CASE IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY TEST RESULTS COME BACK NEGATIVE FOR 2019-nCoV

By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
Photo credit: publicdomainvectors.org
 
January 31, 2020 (San Diego) - A San Diego County resident who visited Wuhan, China and developed a respiratory illness after returning home has tested negative for the novel (new) coronavirus, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced Thurday.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday confirmed the results and San Diego County currently has no other patients under investigation.
 
Click "Read more" for the current local danger estimate, common symptoms, and a quick reminder on how to protect yourself and others from illness.

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

STATE ISSUES WARNING ON DANGEROUS VAPING PRODUCTS SEIZED FROM UNLICENSED CANNABIS SHOPS

Officials Urge Californians to Avoid Unlicensed Cannabis Retailers, as More Than 10,000 Illegal Vape Pens Seized

Source: Calif. Bureau of Cannabis Control

Image: Creative Commons

January 29, 2020 (Sacramento)-- A random sampling of the cannabis products seized from unlicensed retailers during a major enforcement operation in Los Angeles last month were found to contain undisclosed additives, some of them potentially dangerous, and significantly lower amounts of THC than claimed on the label.  Vaping pens containing ingredients linked to sudden respiratory illnesses and deaths were among those seized. 

POSSIBLE CORONAVIRUS CASE IN SAN DIEGO; CDC URGES TRAVELERS TO CANCEL VISITS TO CHINA

By Miriam Raftery

January 28, 2020 (San Diego) – A traveler to San Diego who recently visited China may have contracted a new coronavirus tied to a global outbreak of respiratory illness. County health officials have sent a sample to the Centers for Disease Control for testing.

Today the Centers for Disease Control issued a travel advisory urging travelers to cancel all non-essential travel to anywhere In China, where 25 to 50 million people are now quarantined in multiple cities.  The CDC broadened its warning, which formerly only applied to the Wuhan province where the disease was first identified in December.

Screenings of airline passengers from China are also being expanded to 20 airports with quarantine facilities. 

Hong Kong has announced it will stop issueing permits to travelers from mainland China. Inside China, transportation out of impacted cities is shut down, leaving some Americans stranded  Yahoo News reports.

TWO CASES OF WUHAN CORONAVIRUS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA; VIRUS ALSO SPREADS TO AUSTRALIA, EUROPE, AND ACROSS ASIA

By Miriam Raftery

January 27, 2020 (San Diego) -- Public health officials in Los Angeles and Orange County have confirmed the first cases of the new Coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. Both cases in Southern California are in air travelers who recently returned from Wuhan, China.  There are now five U.S. cases of the virus, including cases confirmed in Arizona, Illinois and Washington state.

The California Department of Public Health issued a statement which reads, “The state will continue to monitor the situation, work with partners to identify any possible cases, provide information and consultation to ensure that possible cases are managed safely, support laboratory testing, and implement recommendations from the CDC.”

Health authorities are tracking around 100 people nationwide who may have been exposed to the travelers, but risk to the general public is considered low.

The disease has been diagnosed in Australia, France, the U.S. and many Asian countries including Hong Kong, China, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Korea, Vietnam and Macao.  The Centers for Disease Control recommends travels avoid CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Hubei Province, China, including Wuhan.

TOXIC PFAS “FOREVER CHEMICALS” FOUND IN WATER SUPPLIES ACROSS U.S., BUT TRUMP THREATENS TO VETO REGULATORY BILL

PFAS chemicals have been used in some fire-fighting foams, cookware, carpets, clothing,  and fast-food wrappers

By Miriam Raftery and Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo, left: Poster for 2019 Dark Waters movie

January 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The 2019 movie “Dark Waters” alerted the public to health hazards posed by perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS, also know as PFOA and PFOS) that contaminated water and groundwater around manufacturer DuPont’s facility in Parksburg, West Virginia. The chemicals have been linked to deaths, cancer and more--and they are pervasive, found in 97% of Americans tested, PBS reports, citing a U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination study in 2015.

Pollution nationwide

Recent tests by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found PFAS in water supplies of major cities across the U.S. – far more than revealed in federal tests.  Yet the federal government has failed to take action to protect public health. A bill seeking to regulate PFAS has passed the House of Representatives and faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Even if it passes,  President Donald Trump has threatened to veto the measure.

California contamination

In California, a 2019 study found drinking water sources for 74 community water systems serving 7.5 million Californians are contaminated with PFAS, according to an EWG review of the latest state data, as the Los Angeles Times reported.

All PFAS found in California water systems’ sources exceeded 1 part per trillion, or ppt, the safe level recommended by the best independent studies.  At the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base, a combined concentration of 820 ppt for seven different PFAS chemicals was measured in a single well in 2017.

CHINA CANCELS LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS, TRIES TO QUARANTINE 25 MILLION PEOPLE: WUHAN CORONAVIRUS SPREADS TO U.S., OTHER NATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

January 23, 2020 (San Diego) – A new coronavirus first identified in December in Wuhan, China, a city of 11 million people, is rapidly spreading across the globe, including the first U.S. case diagnosed in a traveler in Washington state this week.

China has shut down travel including planes, trains, buses and ferries among several major cities including Beijing and Wuhan, attempting to quarantine 25 million people, the Washington Post reports.

Guan Yi, a virologist who helped identify the sever acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, says the epidemic of this newly discovered virus could be 10 times bigger than the SARS outbreak. Comparing it to past outbreaks of other viruses, Guan said that “this time, I’m petrified,” the Washington Post reports.

To date, the new coronavirus has been confirmed in China, the U.S., Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Macao, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.  Officially, Chinese officials report 835 people infected and at least 26 deaths, though experts indicate the number of cases is likely far higher.

In the U.S., all flights from Wuhan are being routed through five airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Atlanta, where all passengers are being screened for the disease.

The timing could hardly be worse; the Lunar New Year holiday, a week-long celebration when millions of Chinese travel to their hometowns in what the Washington Post reports is the biggest human migration on the planet, begins this Saturday, January 25.

CACTUS MICE TEST POSITIVE FOR HANTAVIRUS IN SANTEE AND VALLEY CENTER

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications 
Image Credit: shutterstock
 
January 16, 2020 (San Diego) -- Two cactus mice collected separately in routine monitoring in Santee and Valley Center have tested positive for hantavirus, marking the first appearance in San Diego County in 2020 of the potentially deadly virus.
 
County officials said people should never sweep up or vacuum, but use “wet cleaning” methods instead, to clean up rodent droppings or signs of rodent infestation if they find them in their living spaces — homes, garages, sheds, cabins and outbuildings.
 
Infected rodents shed hantavirus in their urine, feces and saliva. If people stir that dry matter into the air by sweeping or vacuuming, they can inhale the virus and get sick.

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

SUPERVISORS APPROVE ONE-YEAR BAN ON SALES OF VAPING PRODUCTS, ALSO TARGET SMOKELESS TOBACCO

By Miriam Raftery

January 14, 2020 (San Diego) – By a 3-2 vote, San Diego County Supervisors today tentatively approved a moratorium on sales and distribution of electronic cigarette or vaping devices, flavored and smokeless tobacco products. but exempted hookahs.  The board majority also voted to ban outdoor smoking at restaurants. 

If final approval is made on Feb. 28, the regulations will take effect July 1 and run through Feb. 28, 2021. The ban on vaping items could be lifted sooner if the U.S. Center for Disease Control changes its directives, which currently advise consumers to avoid all vaping/e-cigarette use due to sudden and severe lung illnesses.

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January 6, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future.

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TWO FLU DEATHS AND NEARLY 1,400 LOCAL CASES REPORTED IN PAST WEEK

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

January 5, 2020 (San Diego) -- Influenza cases reported last week in San Diego County rose to a season high of 1,390 cases, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced on January 2nd.

Two additional flu deaths were identified in the region, bringing this season’s total to 10.  A 77-year-old man died Dec. 24, and a 75-year-old man died Dec. 21. Both died from influenza A, and both had underlying medical conditions.

TYPE O BLOOD DONORS URGENTLY NEEDED

December 31, 2019 (San Diego) – The San Diego Blood Bank has put out an urgent plea for both Type O positive and O negative blood donors due to a shortage.

"Coming out of the holiday season, we typically see a decrease in donations of all types at this time due to schools being out of session for the holidays and seasonal illnesses like the flu," said David Wellis, the San Diego Blood Bank's CEO.  "The need for type O blood has hit a critically low level and we need the community to help us keep a safe supply for local hospital patients."

Type O positive, the most common blood type, is often needed for hospital patients. Type O negative, the universal donor blood type, can be given to any patient and is often used in emergency rooms when there is no time to test a patient’s blood type. 

AREA HOSPITALS WORK TOGETHER TO IDENTIFY SAN DIEGO'S TOP HEALTH NEEDS

Aging, behavioral health, and chronic conditions among greatest priorities

Source: Grossmont Healthcare District

Photo:  seven area hospitals brought together more than 100 regional healthcare and social service stakeholders at National University’s central campus to release the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment findings earlier this month.

December 19, 2019 (San Diego) – How well does your local hospital know the everyday health needs of your community? Seven area hospitals and health systems are taking significant strides to do just that, with the release of a report Wednesday detailing San Diego County’s top health and social needs.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL RAISES FINES FOR ILLEGAL TOBACCO SALES; REJECTS BAN ON VAPES AND FLAVORED TOBACCO

“My responsibility is to keep these extremely dangerous devices out of the hands of our children…This is a disaster in the making.” – Councilman Gary Kendrick

“I’m very afraid of a trend I see in our country of slowly giving away our freedoms for safety,” – Mayor Bill Wells

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo from City of El Cajon presentation

Watch complete coverage with public participation

Watch council members discussion before voting

December 13, 2019 (El Cajon) – The El Cajon City Council took up Councilman Gary Kendrick’s proposal last month to increase fines for illegal tobacco sales to minors and to ban flavored tobacco and vapes disguised as USB memory sticks, lipstick tubes, pens and other objects. The hike in fines passed, along with added teeth to the ordinance, including suspension of a retailer’s business license for numerous violations.

But despite many El Cajon residents and others voicing concerns over health impacts of vaping, Kendrick fell short of the votes needed to enact a ban on flavored vapes and vaping devices attractive to minors. Councilmen Steve Goble, Phil Ortiz, Mayor Bill Wells prevailed with “no” votes, over Councilmen Gary Kendrick and Bob McLellan who voted “yes.”

DEADLINE SUNDAY TO GET COVERED CA INSURANCE BY JAN. 1: ALL RESIDENTS MUST HAVE COVERAGE OR PAY A PENALTY

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

December 12, 2019 (Sacramento) - This Sunday is the deadline for people to sign up for Covered California health insurance and have the coverage begin on Jan. 1.

Starting in 2020, the state will require everyone to get coverage or pay a penalty.

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December 11, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future.

 

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LOCAL METH DEATHS SET RECORD

 

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

Video by Jose Eli Villanueva

December 10, 2019 (San Diego) - A total of 483 San Diegans died from meth last year, a record number for the region.

That’s the key finding of the San Diego County Methamphetamine Strike Force’s latest report, which was released today at the Medical Examiner’s Office.

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

December 4, 2019 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future.

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SEVEN SAN DIEGANS DIED FROM INFECTION LINKED TO BLACK TAR HEROIN

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

December 4, 2019 (San Diego) - Seven San Diegans died in the last two months from the bacterial infection myonecrosis, which is associated with black tar heroin use, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

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