Health/Fitness

THE PARTY’S OVER: COUNTY SHUTS DOWN PLANNED EVENTS AT SDSU FRATS AND SORORITIES

By Miriam Raftery
 
October 30, 2020 (San Diego) – The County Health Department has sent cease and desist orders to multiple fraternity and sorority houses at San Diego State University, along with two other addresses, prior to Halloween weekend. The letters, signed by Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, states that the venues “intend to hold large gatherings on October 30, 2020–November 1, 2020” in violation of the county’s public health order and state guidelines.
 
Failure to comply will result in “criminal misdemeanor citations with a $1,000 fine for each violation,” the letters state.  County rules prohibit private gatherings of more than three households due to COVID-19.
 
The threat of criminal penalties and fines comes after SDSU reported more than 1,300 COVID cases since August, a surge that threatens to push San Diego County, currently in the state's red tier, into the most restrictive purple tier that would force many businesses to shut down indoor activities.
 
 

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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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GETTING READY FOR 2021 MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT IN A VIRTUAL WORLD: TIPS FOR NAVIGATING PLAN OPTIONS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

By Rick Beavin, Desert Pacific Medicare President, Humana

October 28, 2020 (San Diego) -- The annual Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plan open enrollment period is traditionally a time for educational events, classes and one on one meetings, but this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some new and different ways to learn about Medicare. October 15 to December 7 is the time when millions of people eligible for Medicare can access the latest information about available health plans for 2021. In California alone, more than 6.4 million people are enrolled in Medicare including more than 2.9 million with Medicare Advantage.

There are resources to help you choose the plan that’s right for you without having to leave home, including informational websites, virtual educational events and one-on-one virtual meetings with sales agents. At the same time, it’s important to safely access Medicare information online while protecting your personal information and avoiding fake offers and other scams.

Here are some tips for how to prepare for the Medicare fall open enrollment period:


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COUNTY DEBUTS LIFE-SAVING KNOX BOX PROGRAM

 

By Jose Eli Villanueva, County of San Diego Communications Office

October 24, 2020 (San Diego) - County emergency responders have a new tool to help keep homeowners in unincorporated areas safe during a wildfire or medical emergency. It’s called a Knox Box and when it comes to being prepared for disaster… this may be just the key.

Contact us to see if you qualify.

Call:  858-974-5744 

Email:  FireCRR@sdcounty.ca.gov 

Visit:  sandiegocounty.gov/sdcfa 


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NEW NATIONAL HOTLINE FOR MENTAL HEALTH CALLS APPROVED

By Miriam Raftery

October 24, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – Starting in July 2022, anyone in the U.S. will be able to dial 988 for help with a mental health emergency. President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan bill into law last week to create the three-digit number for a mental health crisis, similar to the 911 line now in use for all emergencies, on recommendation of the Federal Communications Commission.


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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: EXPANDED DINING COULD LEAD TO EXPANDED DRINKING

By David R. Shorey, East County Progam Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

Photos courtesy Creative Commons

October 24, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Drive down any busy street in an East County community and you’re bound to see people eating in a parking lot, on the sidewalk or even in the street. It’s a popular new thing we do to try to keep our favorite restaurants open during a pandemic. It also runs the risk of unintended consequences.


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FREE COVID-19 TEST SITES FOR TEACHERS AND SCHOOL WORKERS

East County News Service

October 23, 2020 (San Diego) - ​The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is partnering with the County of San Diego to conduct COVID-19 surveillance testing of the region's 80,000-plus school employees. 


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HOW TO REPORT A VIOLATION OF COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER

East County News Service

October 23, 2020 (San Diego) - The County of San Diego has set up a phone line and email address for the public to report businesses or organizations that are violating the county’s public health order. This includes businesses that are open despite closure orders due to COVID-19, as well as those violating other orders, such as not following masking and social distancing requirements.  To report violations, you can call (858) 694-2900 or email SafeReopeningComplianceTeam@sdcounty.ca.gov

Employers are required to notify the County if any employee tests positive for COVID by calling (888) 950-9905. You will need to provide the worker’s name, birth date, and contact information for contact tracing.   


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HEALTH OFFICIALS WORRIED ABOUT SAN DIEGO SLIPPING INTO 'PURPLE' TIER

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

Photo:  Dr. Wilma Wooten speaks at Friday’s press conference. Image from livestream

October 16, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County public health officials warned Friday that coronavirus infections are creeping up and the county could enter the widespread, or purple, tier in state rankings.


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COUNTY'S EDGEMOOR FACILITY NAMED BEST IN CALIFORNIA, AGAIN

 
By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
October 14, 2020 (Santee) -- For the second year in a row, the County Health and Human Services Agency’s Edgemoor Skilled Nursing Facility has been named the best facility of its kind in the county and the state by Newsweek magazine.
 
The magazine analyzed more than 15,000 nursing homes in the Unites States and chose 400 winners in 20 states.
 
“Edgemoor provides the highest level of care to seriously ill and injured adult patients who require long-term care, and it has not gone unnoticed” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, County Board of Supervisors. “We are proud Edgemoor has been named the best in California two years in a row. It’s a well-deserved honor given the long-term, quality care patients receive at the facility.”

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WESTERN DENTAL OPENS OFFICE IN LEMON GROVE

East County News Service

October 13, 2020 (Lemon Grove) - Western Dental & Orthodontics today announced the opening of a new Western Dental & Orthodontics office in the San Diego community of Lemon Grove.


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STATE EASES BAN ON GATHERINGS TO ALLOW LIMITED OUTDOOR GET-TOGETHERS

By Miriam Raftery

October 9, 2020 (Sacramento) – One of the most difficult aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the inability to lawfully visit with friends and family members not in your household.  Now, nearly seven months after the state imposed a ban on all gatherings of any size due to COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health on Friday released new rules allowing limited outdoor private gatherings of up to three households in  private spaces or public areas such as parks, with social distancing, masks, and other health protections.

Counties may adopt the state standard, or keep stricter rules, though San Diego County has largely followed state rules in the past.  View the full rule changes.

To host a private gathering, the new state rules require that:


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SYCUAN CASINO IS SUPPORTING WALK TO DEFEAT ALS, A VIRTUAL FUNDRAISER, SUNDAY, OCT. 18

East County News Service

October 9, 2020 (El Cajon) - Sycuan Casino in El Cajon is among the local partners supporting the ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter’s 2020 Walk to Defeat ALS, the nonprofit’s 20th annual fundraising walk, to be held on Sunday, Oct. 18 as a virtual fundraiser due to Covid-19 restrictions. The fundraiser is free and open to the public. Information is available at www.alsasd.org.


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GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE DISTRICT AND CHAMPIONS FOR HEALTH HOSTING FREE DRIVE-THRU FLU SHOT CLINIC THIS SATURDAY MORNING

East County News Service

October 9, 2020 (La Mesa) – This Saturday, October 10, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the Grossmont Healthcare District is partnering with Champions for Health and County of San Diego to provide free flu shots to the East San Diego community. To reduce the chances of a severe COVID-19 and flu combination, receiving this season’s vaccination is more crucial than ever. Everyone qualifies to receive a free flu shot, including those uninsured or underinsured, pregnant women, and children 9 years of age and older. Fresh produce distribution and giveaways for kids also available while supplies last.           


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NEW SHARP MEDICAL CENTER OPENS IN SANTEE: FACILITY TO HOST OCT. 10 VIRTUAL TOUR AND ASK-THE-DOCTOR SESSIONS

By Mike Allen

 

October 8, 2020 (Santee) -- This week, Sharp Rees-Stealy opened its new medical center, a state of the art three-story building on Cuyamaca Street off Highway 52, which replaces four smaller clinics in East County that are now closed.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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SAN DIEGO COUNTY REPORTS 161 NEW VIRUS CASES AND REMAINS IN 'RED TIER'

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

Photo:  a county public health nurse administers a COVID-19 test. Courtesy County News Center  

October 7, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County reported 161 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday and remained in the substantial, or red, tier in the latest state ranking.


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SENATOR JONES JOINS RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVES OCT. 12 AND 15 IN ESCONDIDO AND VALLEY CENTER

East County News Service
 
The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be in Escondido and Valley Center for local residents to donate blood along with Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee), Escondido Chamber of Commerce, Valley Business Association, and representatives of the American Red Cross of San Diego.
 
PLEASE USE THIS LINK TO RSVP.
SPONSOR CODE: SenatorJones
 
Donors are must to make an appointment before showing up to donate in order to manage the flow of donors appropriately in alignment with social distancing practices. 
 
If you are unable to attend these blood drives but would still like to donate blood, please use this link to find other events.

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PRESIDENT TRUMP RETURNS TO WHITE HOUSE, DRAWS CONDEMNATION AS “RECKLESS” FOR EXPOSING OTHERS TO COVID-19 AND DOWNPLAYING SEVERITY OF DISEASE

 

"The behavior of the first family has endangered not only their own health, but that of the staff." -- Megan Ranney, emergency room physician

By Miriam Raftery

October 6, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump returned to the White House late yesterday, still contagious with COVID-19 after his discharge from Walter Reed Medical Center.  

As he entered the White House, he defiantly removed his mask, thus contaminating the air with the coronavirus, potentially exposing White House staff.  He then posed for a campaign video, exposing a film crew to the virus. In direction contradiction to the advice of public health officials, Trump advised American not to be afraid of the virus, claiming “We’re going back to work.” He urged Americans not to be afraid of COVID-19 – apparently tone deaf to the suffering of families of more than 200,000 Americans who have died and many others left debilitated by the disease.

Then in a tweet this morning falsely likened it to the flu – a post so irresponsible that some social media sites have removed it for endangering lives. Trump previously admitted in a taped interview in February with journalism Bob Woodward that he knew the coronavirus was much more deadly than the flu but downplayed its severity to avoid causing panic.

Now, two White House staffers have tested positive for COVID and were reportedly told to "use discretion" in reporting their illnesses.  "This is what I was worried about," tweeted emergency physician Megan Ranney after the housekeepers' diagnoses were first reported by Forbes. "The behavior of the first family has endangered not only their own health, but that of the staff."


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HOW TO FIGHT THE TWO: COVID-19 AND INFLUENZA


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PRESIDENT TRUMP AND FIRST LADY TEST POSITIVE, HAVE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19

Update 3 p.m.:  The President has been admitted to Walter Reed Hospital.

By Miriam Raftery

October 2, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19. The President announced the positive test results last night on Twitter, adding that he and the First Lady, “will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately” just 32 days before the election.

This morning, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows confirmed that the President has “mild symptoms.” Mrs. Trump has tweeted that she, too, has mild symptoms but is “looking forward to a speedy recovery.” 

The President’s illness follows news that his advisor, Hope Hicks, fell ill with the coronavirus after traveling with the President aboard Air Force One. Diagnosis of COVID-19  throws a monkey wrench into campaign plans.

Both President and Mrs. Trump are reportedly in good spirits according to White House spokespersons. However, at 74 years old, President Trump is in a high risk category due to both age and obesity. 


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OUTDOOR PUBLIC PLAYGROUNDS AND RECREATIONAL FACILITIES CAN REOPEN

By Miriam Raftery

September 30, 2020 (San Diego) – Yesterday, the State of California’s Department of Public Health approved reopening public outdoor playgrounds and other outdoor public recreational facilities, with new health and safety rules due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

East County's public officials reacted promptly to the news.

  • San Diego Supervisor Dianne Jacob called the announcement “Awesome news for families,” adding that starting today, around 100 county play areas will be reopened.
  • Poway Mayor Steve Vaus  posted a photo on Facebook yesterday of a reopened park in his city, stating, “Loved pulling down the caution tape and barricades.”
  • Santee announced on Facebook that all of its playgrounds were opened at 5 p.m. yesterday.
  • La Mesa is in process of reopening its parks, the city clerk’s office confirmed,  following inspections being done over the next day or two. 
  • El Cajon Councilman Gary Kendrick advised ECM that El Cajon is also in the process of reopening playgrounds this week. 
  • Lemon Grove’s staff was not immediately available for comment.

The new state guidelines, which do not apply to any indoor facilities nor to for-profit facilities, can be viewed in full here:  https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Outdoor%20Playgrounds%20and%20other%20Outdoor%20Recreational%20Facilities.aspx

Below are highlights:


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COVID-19 COULD ACTIVATE LATENT TUBERCULOSIS

Up to 13 million people may have latent TB in the U.S, which could be activated by COVID-19. It worries an SDSU researcher and TB expert.

By Padma Nagappan, SDSU News Center

September 24, 2020 (San Diego) - For most of us in the United States, our only awareness of tuberculosis (TB) may be the skin patch test required to work or volunteer in schools or health care facilities. But that could change during the pandemic.


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COUNTY REMAINS IN RED TIER, AVOIDS NEW SHUTDOWNS FOR AT LEAST TWO WEEKS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County Public Health Officer

September 23, 2020 (San Diego) – The state announced yesterday that San Diego County will remain in tier two, the red tier, after narrowly keeping COVID-19 cases just below the threshold that would have shifted our region into the more restrictive tier one, or purple tier. That means that recently reopened businesses won’t have to shut down again or reduce current capacity for at least two weeks and schools retain the option to provide in-classroom learning.

Even though the state rejected the county’s argument to exclude San Diego State University’s outbreak cases from the county’s total, the region remained under 7 cases per 100,000 – but just barely, at 6.9 per 100,000 for the assessment period ending Sept. 12.

The state uses two metrics, case rates and testing positivity rates, to determine which tier to assign. On positivity rates, the county is doing much better at 3.8%, well below the 4.9% that would qualify for the even less restrictive orange tier. But both metrics would have to be met. 

To drop down into the orange tier, which would allow many businesses to increase capacity, the county would have to keep its positivity rate down and show a reduction in its case rase below the required threshholds for at least two weeks. Due to a lag time in assessments, the soonest that could occur would be three weeks from now.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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DRIVE-UP COVID-19 TESTING COMES TO POTRERO SEPT. 21 -- FREE

East County New Service
 
September 17, 2020 (Potrero) -- On September 21st, free drive-up COVID-19 testing will be held at the Potrero Community Center, 24550 Highway 94, from 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments are required. Call 2-1-1 to schedule.
 
This is offered by CalFire / San Diego County Fire in Cooperation with San Diego County HHSA.

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STATE REJECTS COUNTY REQUEST TO EXCLUDE SDSU COVID CASES THAT COULD TRIGGER NEW RESTRICTIONS

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 17, 2020 (San Diego) – An outbreak of COVID-19 threatens to push San Diego County from the state’s red to the purple tier, a shift that could force temporary closure again of indoor operations at businesses including restaurants, worship services and gyms, also reducing capacity of retail stores to 25%.

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HEALTHCARE HEROES 2020: VIRTUAL AWARDS EVENT SEPT. 16

East County Magazine

September 15, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – This Wednesday, Sept. 16 at noon, Grossmont Healthcare District invites you to tune in for a special livestream recognition of Healthcare Heroes and Volunteers.


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SDSU STUDENTS AND RESTAURANTS FUEL RISE IN COVID-19

By Miriam Raftery 
 
September 14, 2020 (San Diego) – Saturday, 265 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in San Diego County, including 29 new cases in San Diego State University students – bringing the total number of SDSU students infected to 624 since Aug. 24.
 
In addition, San Diego County Health officials report five new community outbreaks confirmed yesterday, including three in restaurants, one in a restaurant/bar and one in a business.  In the past seven days (Sept. 6 through Sept. 12), 16 community outbreaks were confirmed.
 
A study released this week by the U..S. Centers for Disease Control found that people diagnosed with COVID-19 were twice as likely to have dined in restaurants in the prior two weeks than people who don’t have the virus, however the study was relatively small and did not ask whether people ate indoors or outdoors.

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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: SEPTEMBER IS SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH

By David R. Shorey, East County Program Manager, Institute for Public Strategies

 

Photos courtesy of the National Institute of Mental Health

 

September 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- When the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council sent an invitation to its monthly meeting in August, it came with a request.


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