Health/Fitness

COUNTY TO SPEND $100 MILLION TO PROVIDE 24,000 COVID VACCINATIONS DAILY

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

Photo:  A man is vaccinated while in his car at the “super station” downtown. Courtesy County News Center

January 15, 2021 (San Diego) - San Diego County officials announced plans Wednesday to spend up to $100 million on a mass vaccination program that will target 24,000 people a day beginning Feb. 1.


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NEW VACCINE STRATEGY EXPOSES BIG CHALLENGES

Some counties low on doses

By Emily Hoeven, CalMatters

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

Image via iStock

January 15, 2021 (Sacramento) - Six million Californians 65 and older are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine — a major shift in strategy that could help accelerate the Golden State’s sluggish vaccine rollout even as some counties say they’re unprepared to handle increased demand.


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CONGRESSWOMAN SARA JACOBS TO HOST INFORMATION SESSION ON COVID-19 VACCINES THURSAY AT 2 PM

 

Source: Congresswoman Sara Jacobs

January 14, 2021 (Washington D.C.) -- Today,, East County's newly elected Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-A-53) will host an informational session on the COVID-19 vaccine featuring local public health experts. The virtual event, entitled “Learn the Facts: COVID-19 Vaccine Truths with Congresswoman Sara Jacobs,” will take place on Thursday, January 14 at 2:00 PM Pacific Time. Members of the public can register to attend the virtual event here.

During the event, Congresswoman Jacobs will talk about her experience receiving the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine as part of the President Policy Directive to maintain continuity of government. She will then be joined by community and public health leaders who will discuss the science behind COVID-19 vaccines, their safety and efficacy, and offer an update on when members of the public can expect to be vaccinated.


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COVID-19 VACCINATION CLINIC OPENS AT PETCO PARK AS COUNTY SEEKS MORE VACCINATORS

Photo: The Vaccination Super Station at Petco Park is expected to administer 5,000 doses daily to health care professionals (credit: County of San Diego)

January 13, 2021 (San Diego) -- The County's first-of-its-kind COVID-19 Vaccination Super Station opened Monday at Petco Park, where about 3,500 health care professionals were scheduled to get their first dose of the vaccine in their vehicles.

The operation is the result of a partnership between the County, UC San Diego Health, San Diego Padres and the City of San Diego to help vaccinate thousands of the 500,000 people in Phase 1A of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.


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COVERED CALIFORNIA OPEN ENROLLMENT THROUGH JANUARY 31

East County News Service
 
January 11, 2021 (San Diego's East County) -- Access to affordable, quality health care is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Californians can sign up for health insurance or make changes to their existing plans through Covered California during open enrollment. Open enrollment for health care through Covered California began on November 1 and ends January 31, 2021.
 
Coverage may be more affordable than you think. Find out more about your health care options at https://www.coveredca.com/
 
Free help is available. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, you can request a call back to speak with a licensed agent.

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ELECTIVE SURGERIES ORDERED CANCELLED FOR REGION; SAN DIEGO REPORTS RECORD NUMBERS OF COVID CASES AND DEATHS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons by ND

January 9, 2021 (San Diego) – Faced with the grim reality of hospitals turning away ambulances and critically ill patients due to staggering numbers of COVID-19 cases, the state of California has ordered all elective and non-life saving surgeries cancelled for at least three weeks in 14 counties including San Diego. 

The state’s order does not impact surgeries for life-threatening conditions such as cancerous tumors or heart bypass procedures, but does require cancellations ranging from cosmetic surgeries to pain relief procedures.

Locally, 16% of people tested were positive for COVID-19, or about one in every eight people, according to the most recent San Diego county data. In Los Angeles, a staggering 20% - one in every five people – are testing positive.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: COVID TESTS SHOULD NOT BE FASTER FOR THOSE WHO PAY MORE

By Spencer Powell
 
January 7, 2021 (San Diego) - So I decided to test the COVID-19 testing system here in East County. I require my employees to test often in order for them to work. Yesterday I went and got a rapid test at great expense, I was in and out in no time. Today I’m here trying to get a free rapid test and I’m still here in a parking lot waiting to be tested let alone results. 

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VACCINATIONS BEGIN AT LOCAL NURSING HOMES

By Miriam Raftery
 
January 5, 2021 (Santee) – COVID-19 vaccines for nursing home patients and staff have arrived in our region. Yesterday, vaccinations were provided at Edgemoor Skilled Nursing Facility in Santee.
 
Edgemoor, run by the County Health and Human Services Agency, was recently named best facility of its kind in California and San Diego by Newsweek magazine for the second year in a row, out of over 15,000 nursing homes in the U.S. 
 
The pandemic lockdown has been particularly difficult on seniors and disabled individuals in nursing homes, who have been barred from having visitors for months.

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JAMUL INDIAN VILLAGE OF CALIFORNIA DONATES $75,000 TO REGIONAL HEALTHCARE AGENCIES

Tribe seeks to alleviate effects of pandemic

Source:  Jamul Indian Village of California

Photo:  Erica M. Pinto, Chairwoman of Jamul Indian Village of California

January 5, 2021 (Jamul) - Today, the Jamul Indian Village of California (JIV or Tribe), owner and operator of Jamul Casino®, announced its 2020 year-end donations totaling $75,000 to local healthcare agencies, including $45,000 to Sharp Grossmont Hospital, $15,000 to Southern Indian Health Council, and $15,000 to Indian Health Council, Inc.  JIV provided these year-end healthcare donations in addition to its annual fall philanthropy and community outreach campaigns, which included contributing more than $40,000 to non-profits for breast cancer research and awareness, veterans’ programs, and other local causes. These donations reflect JIV’s desire to give back to the community in impactful ways, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that has particularly challenged front-line workers in the healthcare industry.


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TASHA WILLIAMSON, EX-MAYOR HOPEFUL, AT HOME AFTER COVID BOUT: THANKS ICU

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  At a La Mesa press conference in June, Tasha Williamson called for the firing of Matt Dages, the arresting officer of Amaurie Johnson “because he lied on his report.” On Monday, the District Attorney’s Office charged him. Photo by Chris Stone

January 4, 2021 (San Diego) - Tasha Williamson, the social justice activist who ran for San Diego mayor and who also organized racial justice protests in La Mesa, San Diego and other communities, was recovering at home Monday after a frightening bout of coronavirus that saw her thanking ICU staff.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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SPORTMIX DOG AND CAT FOODS RECALLED AFTER 28 DEATHS

East County News Service

 

December 31, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – Sportmix dog and cat foods have been recalled after 28 dogs died and at least 8 were sickened, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday.  Tests found very high levels of aflatoxin, a toxin produced by mold on grains used in pet foods.

The products were sold through major retail stores and online nationwide.The Sportmix products are made by Midwestern Pet Foods. So far, nine lots are being recalled, but testing is being done to determine if more may also need to be recalled; ECM advises against using any Sportmix products.

These are the products recalled so far:


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SAN DIEGO MAN HAS NEW FAST-SPREADING STRAIN OF COVID-19; GOVERNOR EXTENDS STAY-HOME ORDER FOR THREE MORE WEEKS

Flu cases also rise; 171 reported in past week, with several patients contracting both COVID-19 and flu.

Local hospitals are cancelling organ transplants and cancer surgeries due to COVID-patients filling up hospital ICU beds.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Dr. Kristian Anderson of Scripps Research speaks on the newly discovered UK strain

December 30, 2020 (San Diego) – A new, fast-spreading strain of COVID-19 first identified in the United Kingdom has been confirmed in San Diego County.  A 30-year-old local man who has not traveled outside our county has tested positive for the new strain known as B.1.1.7., the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

Also today, the Governor extended the stay-home order for another three weeks with Southern California’s intensive care unit (ICU) bed availability at zero. The order will remain in effect until ICU availability is at least 15%.

Dr. Kristian Andersen, of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research, where the new virus was identified in lab testing, stated, “We need to prepare” in anticipation of the new variant spreading rapidly here as it has in Britain, where the new virus prompted other European nations to bar travelers from the UK. 

San Diego-area hospitals are now postponing organ transplants and removal of cancerous tumors due to the strain on hospitals and ICU units.

"Going out to party on New Year’s Eve during a global pandemic is putting your life at risk and the lives of your friends and family,” said Supervisor Greg Cox in his final press conference, since he leaves office in early January due to term limits. He also urged everyone to get the flu vaccine to help ease the strain on hospitals.


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PALOMAR NURSES PROTEST WAIVER OF NURSE-TO-PATIENT RATIOS AS COVID-19 SURGES: 1 IN 1,000 AMERICANS HAVE DIED OF THE VIRUS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via CHEU:  Palomar Healthcare nurses at a protest earlier this month

December 29, 2020 (Escondido) – Registered nurses and caregivers will hold a car caravan from Palomar Medical Center to Palomar Health’s administration building today to protest a blanket waiver of nurse-to-patient ratios approved by the state Department of Health Tuesday. Nurses contend that the change is dangerous for patient safety.

The action comes as the California Office of Emergency Service announced plans to activate a vacant floor of Palomar Medical Center to handle COVID-19 patients. National Guard members arrived Wednesday to complete a buildout of the surge unit begun earlier this year. Hospital ICU units across Southern California are completely full, with zero capacity, currently due to COVID cases that have increased ten-fold locally since early November. CNN reported yesterday that one of every 1,000 Americans have now died of COVID-19.


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EL CAJON RALLY SHOWS WHY WE ARE LOSING THE BATTLE AGAINST THE PANDEMIC

By Henri Migala

Photo, left:  Maskless rally participants called for all businesses to open now, despite pandemic shutdown orders from the county and state.

December 23, 2020 (El Cajon) – A rally titled “All I Want for Christmas is Freedom” was held on Monday, Dec. 21 at El Cajon Centennial Plaza calling for a lifting of pandemic shutdowns.  The timing of the rally coincides with hospital ICU units filled to capacity across Southern California, after 18 million people in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19 and 323,000 Americans have died.

There are legitimate equity questions, such as why big-box retailers have been allowed to stay open while many small businesses have been ordered shut down, particularly after data obtained from San Diego County reveals that many outbreaks have been tied to large stores such as Walmart, Home Depot and Target. Although the event was promoted as an opportunity to support local small businesses adversely affected by restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, any rational discussion of those issues was largely overshadowed at the protest by speakers, including prominent elected officials, who urged attendees to openly and actively defy local and state restrictions. Some used such inflammatory words such as devil, battle, war, evil, Marxist, tyranny, socialism, 2nd Amendment, and even a reference to “killing babies like Planned Parenthood" that seemed largely out of context to a discussion of economic vs. public health concerns.

Eighteen “vendors” were set up, of which about half were small businesses selling products. The others were related to a political cause or agenda, such as recalling Governor Newsom, or opening San Diego. Approximately 150 people attended the event.


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INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC STRATEGIES ANNOUNCES THE ADDITION OF TWO NEW BOARD MEMBERS, EMPHASIZING DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION

Source:  Institute for Public Strategies

December 23, 2020 (San Diego) - Southern California based nonprofit Institute for Public Strategies (IPS) is pleased to announce the addition of two new members of its board of directors, a group of dedicated leaders from the United States and Mexico.


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MOUSE NEAR SANTEE TESTS POSITIVE FOR HANTAVIRUS

A western harvest mouse collected in routine monitoring in open space along the border of Santee and San Diego has tested positive for hantavirus, County environmental health officials said this week.

County officials are reminding people that if they find rodents in their homes, garages, sheds or cabins they should never sweep up or vacuum up after them, but use “wet-cleaning” methods instead, to keep from breathing in the virus and getting sick.

Click "Read More" for more information and to review "Wet-cleaning" methods to safely clean up and dispose of mouse nests and/or droppings.


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NEW PROGRAM OFFERS PLAN B FOR REACHING RESIDENTS IN DISTRESS

By Michele Clock, San Diego County Fire
 
December 23, 2020 (San Diego) -- Imagine you’re having chest pains, or you’ve taken a serious fall inside your home. What if no one could get to the front door to let in firefighters?
 
A new program is offering a back-up plan, to ensure your front door doesn’t stand in the way of getting help.
 
San Diego County Fire’s Residential KnoxBox Program is now providing free lock boxes that will hold a spare copy of your house key. County Fire will install the box just outside the front door for quick fire department access. The boxes can only be opened by local firefighters responding to life-threatening emergencies. Fire personnel will be able to reach residents more quickly when seconds count.  

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EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL KILLS IDEA FOR AIR FILTRATION SYSTEMS IN APARTMENTS TO COMBAT COVID-19

City still has $200,000 in rental, mortgage and utility assistance funds for residents in need
 
By Kendra Sitton
 
December 23, 2020 (El Cajon) — A proposal to give air filtration systems to low-income households put forward by El Cajon City Councilman Steve Goble failed to move forward in a special City Council meeting, where no one seconded the motion. 

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ASBESTOS EXPOSURE IN THE SD AREA AND GREATER CALIFORNIA

By Traven Pyles

December 22, 2020 (San Diego) -- We often think asbestos exposure to be a thing of the past; after all the dangerous mineral is not manufactured anymore in the United States and EPA regulations reduced its use to just 400 metric tons per year. This might seem like much, but is just a drop in a bucket when we consider the size of the US. 


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GOVERNOR: SOCAL LOCKDOWN LIKELY TO BE EXTENDED AS ICU CAPACITY FALLS TO ZERO

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

Photo:  Gov. Gavin Newsom. Courtesy of the governor’s office

December 22, 2020 (San Diego) - With ICU capacity essentially zero in Southern California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday the regional stay-at-home order will almost certainly be extended beyond the current Dec. 28 end date.


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KPBS GETS COUNTY DATA ON OUTBREAKS IN RESTAURANTS, RETAILERS, CASINOS AND MORE: THE NUMBERS MAY SURPRISE YOU

By Miriam Raftery

Image via KPBS, republished under Fair Use Doctrine

December 21, 2020  (San Diego) – It took a lawsuit under the California Public Records Act filed by KPBS, Voice of San Diego and the San Diego Union-Tribune to obtain data previously kept secret on the exact location of COVID-19 outbreaks, including names of businesses affected.

The data reveals many outbreaks at venues such as Walmart, Costco, Target, casinos and manufacturers/businesses. The most outbreaks, however, have been at senior living facilities/nursing homes(214 outbreaks) followed by restaurants and bars with 208 outbreaks from March through November.

The number of outbreaks doesn’t tell the whole story, however.


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CA REPORTS 152 CASES OF RARE BUT SERIOUS COVID COMPLICATIONS IN CHILDREN

Cases impacting people of color disproportionately

By Miriam Raftery

December 20, 2020 (San Diego) – Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) has been reported in 152 children statewide, according to the California Department of Public Health.  The rare inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19 can damage multiple organ systems, and may be life-threatening without early diagnosis and treatment.

The news is troubling given the high number of children back in public school for in-person learning. Cajon Valley Union School District, for instance, has had 297 cases of COVID-19 in students and staff since August 8, yet schools remain open. To date, 2.34% of all students and staff have been infected.


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CAMP CHEF RECALLS PORTABLE GAS STOVES DUE TO GAS LEAKS, FIRE HAZARD

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 19, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Product Safety Commission Wednesday announced a recall on Camp Chef portable outdoor stoves after 26 reports of gas leaks.
 
An internal part of the gas regulator component can have a sharp edge that can wear or tear a hole in the seal causing gas to leak out of the top of the regulator, posing a fire hazard. To date, no injuries have been reported.
 
Remedy: Consumers are urged to stop using the defective products immediately and contact Camp Chef to obtain a free gas regulator replacement kit.
 
Distribution: About 20,000 of the defective camp stoves were sold nationwide at sporting good stores and Walmart from August 2019 through September 2020 from between $150 to $300 depending on the model. The products were made in China and imported by Logan Outdoor Products LLC in Utah (Camp Chef). 

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FDA APPROVES SECOND COVID-19 VACCINE BY MODERNA

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via U.S. Health and Human Services

December 19, 2020 (Washington D.C.) --  On Friday, the U.S.  Food and Drug Administration announced that it has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.  This is the second vaccine to win approval, after the approval of a Pfizer vaccine earlier this month.

According to an announcement from the U.S. Health and Human Services agency, more than 5.9 million doses of the vaccine are allocated for jurisdictions to receive in the coming week.


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APPEALS COURT BLOCKS JUDGE’S RULING, ORDERS RESTAURANTS CLOSED AGAIN

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left:  Terra American Bistro, a farm to table eatery in San Diego just west of La Mesa, had moved outdoors but is now back to offering take-out taco Tuesdays and to-go Christmas dinners, among other offerings, as a result of the latest shutdown order.

December 19, 2020 (San Diego) – Beleaguered restaurant owners are once again ordered to shut down, after three justices on the Fourth District Court of Appeals on Friday issued a stay blocking an order issued Wednesday by Superior Court Judge Wohlfiel.  The Appeals Court, responding to an appeal filed by California’s Attorney General, found that Wohlfiel acted too broadly in expanding an order in a case filed by strip clubs to also include restaurants, which were not parties in the case.

The state argued that Wohlfiel’s order jeopardized the health of county residents by undermining public health orders aimed at curtailing spread of the disease at a time when the Southern California intensitve care units are full, with zero percent capacity.

Wohfiel has issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the state and county from enforcing COVID-19 shutdown orders at restaurants and strip clubs.  Many local restaurants swiftly responded by reopening for outdoor and in some cases, indoor dining.  But the reprieve proved short-lived; the Appeals Court action means that restaurants are once again ordered to shut down except for take-out and delivery services.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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DANGEROUS BACTERIA OUTBREAK REPORTED IN LOCAL DOGS: VACCINE FOR LEPTOSPIROSIS IS AVAILABLE

East County News Service

Photo: Creative Commons by NC-ND via Bing

 

December 17, 2020 (San Diego) -- An outbreak of leptospirosis, a contagious bacterial disease, has been reported in dogs in our region, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced today.

 


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COUNTY PAUSES ENFORCEMENT OF RESTAURANT CLOSURES AND LIVE ENTERTAINMENT VENUES PENDING APPEAL OF JUDICIAL RULING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Image: CC-by-SA-NC

December 17, 2020 (San Diego) – The County has temporarily halted enforcement of COVID-19 closure orders on restaurants and strip-clubs following a judicial order, which Supervisors have voted 3-2 to appeal.  

In a ruling yesterday, Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil ordered the state and county to cease enforcement of California’s regional stay-home order against strip clubs, until trial. Wohlfeil’s decision states that the state and county failed to provide evidence tying spread of COVID-19 or lack of intensive care beds to live adult entertainment. 

The case arose out of a challenge against closure orders filed by two strip clubs, Cheetah’s Gentlemen’s Club and Pacers Showgirls International. The order includes strip clubs but the broad wording covers “San Diego County businesses with restaurant service” though it’s unclear if his ruling is meant to apply to all food service establishments, or only strip clubs serving food.


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SIX TIPS FOR BEATING THE BLUES AND MANAGING YOUR DEPRESSION

By Stanley Popovich

December 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- With the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in increased stress, anxiety and fear, it can be challenging to manage your depression and other mental health issues.  

As the shutdowns and quarantines drag on, many people are at the end of their rope and do not know what to do. Nowadays, depression and fear is the norm.

Here are some techniques that a person can use to help manage their depression and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

1. Challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking: When encountering thoughts that make you fearful or depressed, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense. Focus on the reality of your situation and not on your thoughts.

 


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