Health/Fitness

INDOOR EVENTS CAN RESUME IN MOST OF CALIFORNIA WITH CAPACITY LIMITS AND PROOF OF VACCINATION OR NEGATIVE COVID TEST

By Miriam Raftery

April 3, 2021 (Sacramento) – State officials yesterday announced a major rollback of COVID-19 restrictions.  Indoor events can resume in most counties starting April 15, including concerts, plays, indoor sports, conferencesand private receptions.


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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: EQUITY, PUBLIC HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS

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

 

March 31, 2021 (San Diego) -- When it comes to adverse mental health conditions related to COVID-19, younger adults, racial and ethnic minorities, essential workers and unpaid adult caregivers report having more increased substance use and mental health issues than others who are not listed in those categories.


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COVID VACCINES AVAILABLE TO AGE 50 AND UP STARTING APRIL 1, ALL CALIFORNIANS AGE 16 AND UP STARTING APRIL 15

By Miriam Raftery

March 28, 2021 (San Diego) – With vaccine supplies increasing, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that starting April 1, all Californians age 50 and up will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. In addition, starting April 15, the vaccine will be available to all Californians age 16 and up.

The state expects to receive 2.5 million doses a week in early April and over 3 million doses a week by the second half of the month, as a result of actions taken by the Biden administration to dramatically boost supplies including forging a deal to have rival pharmaceutical companies team up to increase production and providing funds to state and local governments to expand vaccinations.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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VIEJAS ARENA AT SDSU BECOMES NEW COVID-19 VACCINATION SITE OPEN TO ALL ELIGIBLE COUNTY RESIDENTS

By Alexa Oslowski and Angela Kurysh

 

March 24, 2021 (San Diego) - As of yesterday, Viejas Arena at San Diego State University became the county’s newest vaccination site, after the university and San Diego County partnered up to establish a more equitable site for communities within the College area. Although this site is open to the public, Chair of the County Board of Supervisors Nathan Fletcher, who issued a press conference Monday morning at the arena, announced that 10% of the vaccines have been reserved for San Diego’s ‘hardest-hit communities.’ 


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LOSSES AND LESSONS LEARNED: LOCAL RESIDENTS REFLECT ON A YEAR IN QUARANTINE

By Miriam Raftery

March 23, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – A year ago, in March 2020, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic.  All of our lives changed as a result of COVID-19, which has killed over a half million Americans, caused shutdowns of schools and businesses, and forced residents to quarantine at home.

We asked our readers and followers on social media to reflect on what they learned from these historic times. What was the hardest part of the past year?  Were there any silver linings? What changes in your life do you think will be permanent?

Here are their responses.


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COUNTY RECAPS A YEAR FIGHTING COVID-19

By Anita Lightfoot, County of San Diego Communications Office

March 24, 2021 (San Diego) - On March 19, 2020, California became the first state in the country to issue a stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The months since have been filled with challenges, fear and grief, innovation and historic breakthroughs. Here is a look back at a year that San Diego was seized by a deadly threat and how the County fought back.


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COUNTY COVID-19 OUTLOOK CONTINUES TO IMPROVE

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: cc via Bing
 
March 23, 2021 (San Diego) – Over a half million San Diego County residents, or 18.8% of the population age 16 and up, are now fully vaccinated – and 30.6% of those eligible have received at least one vaccine, as of yesterday. As the number of people vaccinated ramps up, the number of cases, outbreaks, and testing positivity rates are continuing to drop.

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COUNTY MOVES TO RED TIER: MOVIE THEATERS, INDOOR DINING AND MORE CAN REOPEN WITH CAPACITY LIMITS

By Miriam Raftery

March 16, 2021 (San Diego) – San Diego County will move from the purple tier into the less restrictive red tier starting tomorrow. The state notified county officials today of the change, which allows many businesses to reopen or expand capacity, though masks and social distancing are still required. Here are some of the changes:


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CALIFORNIA HITS KEY VACCINATION BENCHMARK, MOVING SAN DIEGO COUNTY CLOSER TO 'RED' TIER

By Ana B. Ibarra and Rachel Becker | CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.

Photo:  a woman is vaccinated at the Sharp super station in Chula Vista. Courtesy County News Center

March 14, 2021 (San Diego) - California on Friday hit a benchmark of delivering 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to underserved communities, triggering a big change that will transform the state’s reopening map from purple to mostly red.


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SAN DIEGO FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES $250,000 IN AVAILABLE GRANTS FOR NONPROFITS INCREASING ACCESS TO CHILDCARE

 
East County News Service
 
March 13, 2021 (San Diego) - The San Diego Foundation yesterday announced grant funding is available for nonprofit organizations working to support children ages 0-5 and their families with increased access to childcare, a service critical to pandemic and economic recovery in San Diego County.
 
The 2021 Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) Responsive Grant supports nonprofit organizations addressing emerging needs in the San Diego region. According to the December 2020 report, Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General’s Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress, and Health, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma represent an urgent public health crisis with wide-reaching health and societal impacts. Grant application criteria is informed by this report, as well as by regional data and local stakeholders, and reflects that ACEs is an important issue impacting many children, families and service providers that deliver care in San Diego County.

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COUNTY OFFICIALS HIGHLIGHT EARLY SUCCESS OF MOBILE CRISIS RESPONSE TEAM PROGRAM

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

March 13, 2021 (San Diego) - County officials Monday discussed the debut of a new County program designed to help people experiencing mental health or substance use crises by dispatching behavioral health experts to emergency calls instead of law enforcement when appropriate.

Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher, County District Attorney Summer Stephan, County behavioral health officials and representatives from Exodus Recovery, Inc. held a socially distanced event outside the County Administration Center to share information about the Mobile Crisis Response Team program (MCRT) that was launched in January.


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COUNTY EXPANDS LIST OF HEALTH CONDITIONS ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINE, ALSO ADDS HOMELESS AND THOSE IN JAIL OR DETENTION CENTERS

By Miriam Raftery

March 13, 2021 (San Diego) – Starting Monday, March 15, people ages 16 and up in Tier 1C will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, if they live or work in San Diego County and have certain serious health conditions. The County has sharply expanded the number of health conditions, disabilities, and illnesses on the list that put people at higher risk for COVID-19 serious illness.

In addition, the County has added homeless people and those in congregate living situations such as jails, mental health facilities, or detention centers to the list.

Below is the full list of everyone who is eligible for vaccinations, starting Monday:

Phase 1C – Effective March 15

Eligible High-Risk Medical Conditions and DisabilitiesEffective March 15

  • Cancer, current with weakened immune system­­
  • Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above
  • Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen dependent
  • Down syndrome
  • Solid organ transplant, leading to a weakened immune system
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (but not hypertension)
  • Severe obesity (Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2, but < 30 kg/m2)
  • Obese (BMI > 30 kg/m2, but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

In addition, people over age 16 can get the vaccine if, as a result of a developmental or other significant, high-risk disability, one or more of the following criteria applies**:

  • A COVID-19 infection is likely to result in severe life-threatening illness or death; OR
  • Acquiring COVID-19 will limit the individual’s ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to their well-being and survival; OR
  • Providing adequate and timely COVID care will be particularly challenging as a result of the individual’s disability.

Additional Eligible Groups - Effective March 15

  • Congregate residential settings, such as an incarceratio­n/detention facilities, homeless shelters, or behavioral health facilities
    • Includes people experiencing homelessness, who may transition into congregate settings at short notice­­­

The County is also continuing to vaccinate people n phases 1A and 1B:


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SERVING SENIORS PROVIDES PROVIDES 1.7 MILLION MEALS TO FIGHT FOOD INSECURITY ONE YEAR SINCE COVID-19 SHUTDOWN ORDER

Source: Serving Seniors

March 11, 2021 (San Diego) -- One year ago, on March 12, 2020, Serving Seniors was ordered to shut down one of its core services to impoverished San Diego county seniors. As the largest provider of meals to San Diego County’s older adults, it could no longer keep its 11 congregate meal sites open due to the public health crisis.


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COVID CASES DROP, JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINES ARRIVE IN SAN DIEGO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: San Diego County

March 9, 2021 (San Diego) – The COVID-19 scenario is improving in San Diego County. On March 7, the county reported 307 new cases, no deaths, and a positive testing rate of just 3 percent – all significantly lower than in recent weeks.

That drop is no doubt due in part to the fact that 12.7% of San Diegans age 16 and up are now fully immunized, and nearly 24% of those eligible have received at least one shot. 

Now, arrival of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine in our region will make it easier to get more people vaccinated. The J&J vaccine requires just one shot and can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, unlike Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two shots and very cold storage.


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HEALTHCARE DISTRICT AWARDS $1.3 MILLION IN GRANTS IN 2020-2021 TO PRIORITIZE EAST COUNTY'S HEALTH NEEDS

Source: Grossmont Healthcare District

March 8, 2021 (La Mesa) - To further advance the foundations of healthcare in East County, the Grossmont Healthcare District awarded over $1.3 million in grants and sponsorships to local nonprofits and health organizations during the fiscal year of 2020-21.


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STIMULUS BILL PASSES SENATE, IS EXPECTED TO BE SIGNED BY BIDEN THIS WEEK: HERE’S WHAT’S IN IT

Update March 11, 2021:  President Biden has signed this measure into law.

Read full text of the American Recovery Act 2021

By Miriam Raftery

March 8, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – By a 50-49 margin without a single Republican vote, Senate Democrats passed a COVID-19 relief measure that now heads back to the House to approve changes. The House is expected to approve the bill as early as Tuesday, which President Joe Biden has said he will sign into law immediately.

The measure includes a new round of stimulus checks for most Americans and extension of unemployment benefits, but also many less-publicized forms of aid ranging from expansion of child tax credits to relief for restaurants, event venues, and other businesses hardest hit by the pandemic and much more.

One major element removed in the Senate version of the bill is a minimum wage increase, which the Senate Parliamentarian ruled did not fit the rules required to pass the stimulus bill by a simple majority vote needed to avoid a filibuster. The Biden administration is expected to propose a separate bill to address the minimum wage issue in the future.

Here are highlights of what the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill includes:


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COVID VACCINES APPROVED FOR COURT WORKERS, PROSECUTORS, PUBLIC DEFENDERS AND SOME DEFENSE LAWYERS

East County News Service

Photo: Scales of justice, cc via Bing

March 6, 2021 (San Diego) –The County of San Diego has approved COVID-19 vaccines for judges, prosecutors, public defender attorneys, and court employees. Also covered are criminal defense lawyers representing poor defendants in federal court.

These individuals regularly come in contact with people who have been in prison or county jail, congregate facilities with a high risk of COVID-19.  The County has included them under the “emergency services” category along with police, firefighters, animal control workers and security guards at public facilities.


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ISSA CALLS ON GOVERNOR TO RESUME COSMETOLOGY EXAMS AND ALLOW APPRENTICESHIPS TO HELP BEAUTY SCHOOL GRADUATES GET JOBS

Story and photos by Briana Gomez

Photo: Congressman Darrell Issa meets with Bellus Academy student Jessica Yerkey

March 6, 2021 (El Cajon) – Congressman Darrell Issa (R-San Diego)  visited Bellus Academy in El Cajon yesterday after receiving pleas from students and staff at the beauty and wellness school for help to obtain licenses needed for jobs.

California's State Board of Cosmetology halted licensing exams in March 2020 due to the pandemic. According to Issa and the staff at Bellus, the State Board of Cosmetology is operating at half-capacity due to COVID-19 closures and furloughs, causing some students who graduated during the pandemic to be delayed up to a year in taking their state board exams – a delay that is preventing students from obtaining jobs.  That’s created a backlog of 7,000 graduates waiting for exams now being offered at half-capacity at a limited number of locations.

Issa has sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom calling on the state to come up with a solution to “offer a final licensing exam,” such as waiving requirements for part of the exam to be in-person, or allowing graduates to work under supervision in licensed spas, salons, or barber shops. “Now that the students have fulfilled their obligations, it is time for the State of California to do the same,” Issa’s letter states. 


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COMBATTING TWO PANDEMICS AT ONCE: HOW COVID-19 AND ADDICTION CONNECT

By Indiana Lee

Image Source: Pexels

March 6, 2021 (San Diego) -- There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted millions of lives around the globe. Some studies have already started to reveal the potential mental health effects of the pandemic, on top of the physical.

People have been dealing with uncertainty, fear, and grief for the better part of a year. Some have lost their jobs. Others have had to adjust to their kids being home from school during the day. Maybe you’ve even experienced a direct loss from the virus.

For those who struggle with other things, however, the pandemic is a two-fold problem. Those who have dealt with addiction before, for example, might find themselves combatting that force once again thanks to the stress of COVID.


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'WE'RE BORN INDIAN AND WE DIE WHITE': CALIFORNIA INDIGENOUS FEAR COVID DEATHS UNDERCOUNTED

By Kate Cimini, CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.

Photo:  James Gensaw, a Yurok language teacher and ceremonial practitioner, performs a Brush Dance demonstration. Photo courtesy of Yurok Tribe

March 4, 2021 (San Diego) - For years, Betty Sigala spoke to her family about her death: she didn’t want to be put on a machine and she didn’t want to die alone. 


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COUNTY REPORTS 376 NEW VIRUS CASES AS AVAILABLE VACCINE DOSES RISE TO OVER 100,000

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

Photo:  People with appointments line up at the Sharp Covid-19 vaccination supersite at Grossmont Center in La Mesa. Photo by Chris Stone

March 2, 2021 (San Diego) - The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 376 new cases of coronavirus and 14 deaths Tuesday as new shipments of vaccine boosted the currently available doses over 100,000.


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AFTER FDA APPROVES JOHNSON & JOHNSON COVID-19 VACCINE, BIDEN INVOKES DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT TO SPEED UP MANUFACTURING

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo via National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
 
March 2, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has approved a COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson (J&J). To expedite getting Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible, President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act.

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COUNTY RELEASES ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW COVID-19 VACCINATION GROUPS

By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  a COVID-19 vaccine is administered at the Vaccination Super Station at Petco Park

March 1, 2021 (San Diego) - Beginning tomorrow, San Diegans who work in emergency services, child care and education, food handling and agriculture can sign up for COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Those making appointments will be required to show a photo ID and proof of eligibility. Please keep in mind that vaccine supplies are still limited, so patience is required over the next several weeks.


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SANTEE DELAYS RESPONSE ON COUNTY NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAM, AMENDS CURRENT FISCAL YEAR BUDGET UPWARDS

By Mike Allen

 

Photo: needle exchange; CC by SA-NC

 

February 28, 2021 (Santee) -- Santee wants San Diego County to conduct comprehensive research about its recently resumed needle exchange program before the Santee City Council weighs in on supporting or opposing the formerly banned program.


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SAN DIEGO COUNTY TO START VACCINATING TEACHERS, OTHER ESSENTIAL WORKERS ON SATURDAY

Photo:  The Sharp vaccination super station at Grossmont Center in La Mesa. Photo by Chris Stone

February 25, 2021 (San Diego) - San Diego County health officials announced Wednesday that vaccinations of teachers and other essential workers will begin Saturday because most seniors have received a dose and appointments are opening up.


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LAW FIRMS SOLICITING FIREFIGHTERS TO JOIN FIREFIGHTING FOAM PFAS/PFOS LAWSUIT

 

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo: Creative Commons image by SA

Feb. 23, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Law firms are soliciting former and current firefighters to file suits or share in settlements related to health issues caused by exposure to toxic PFAS/PFOS chemicals in the line of duty. Others impacted by these “forever” chemicals in firefighting foam or other products may also be eligible for compensation.  

This solicitation stems out of a settlement the Dupont Company and its spinoff business, Chemours, et al, that have agreed to cover legal disputes for pollution and environmental liabilities from man-made chemicals related to increased risks of cancer and other health problems, according to ABC News. For more information on the settlement visit https://firefoamsettlement.com/ 

PFAS/PFOS continue to be used in firefighting foams used to fight fires at airports, military bases and industrial sites, though not brush fires.  Some firefighting protective gear has also exposed firefighters to these dangerous chemicals. 


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COVID-19 VACCINATION CLINICS COMING TO LEMON GROVE, OTAY MESA

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

February 22, 2021 (Lemon Grove/Otay Mesa) - New COVID-19 vaccinations sites are opening in Lemon Grove and Otay Mesa, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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SANTEE SENIORS GET HELP MAKING APPOINTMENTS FOR COVID VACCINATIONS

By Mike Allen
February 20, 2021 (Santee) - The city of Santee is helping seniors who are having difficulty scheduling appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations, creating a program aimed at bridging the digital divide.

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