Health/Fitness

COUPLES CAN NOW HOST WEDDINGS – BUT RECEPTIONS STILL RESTRICTED

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: CC by ND via Bing

June 17, 2020 (San Diego) – Couples eager to tie the knot can now hold weddings under newly announced state of California rules, but with limits due to COVID-19. However, receptions are generally not allowed per state health guidelines, due to concerns about dancing and close contact among non-household members potentially spreading the virus.

Outdoor weddings are allowed with no limit on size, provided social distancing is maintained. Indoor weddings of up to 100 people or 25 percent of a facility’s capacity are allowed.  All participants must wear face masks and maintain six feet of social distancing, except the bride and groom do not need to wear masks when they are six feet apart for others, so they can have wedding photos at the altar and share a post-wedding vow kiss.

The new guidelines are part of relaxed guidelines for all religious events, including worship services. 

Dawn D’Aquisto, a San Diego County spokesperson, said the rules for weddings and receptions are being reviewed after the agency has received many phone calls. She added that couples could potentially host a post-wedding dinner with guests at a restaurant, provided the restaurant can meet county guidelines for capacity, social distancing, and seating household members together.


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AS COVID-19 CASES SPIKE NATIONALLY AND STATEWIDE, COUNTY HEALTH OFFICIALS ASK PUBLIC AND BUSINESSES TO HELP PREVENT OUTBREAKS

By Miriam Raftery

 

June 17, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego County public health officials have voiced concern after four outbreaks of COVID-19 in a week have been traced to community settings including churches, restaurants and home gatherings.  Dr. Wilma Wooten, the County’s public health officer, reminds the public that if seven or more outbreaks occur in a week, the County would need to take protective measures,


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GROUND BEEF SOLD AT WALMART AND OTHER STORES RECALLED DUE TO E-COLI CONTAMINATION

By Miriam Raftery

June 14, 2020 (Washington D..C. ) – If you purchased ground beef this month from Walmart or other retailers, it may be contaminated with e-Coli. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture has announced a class I recall nationwide, which means there is a “reasonable probability” that the products could cause “serious, adverse health consequences or death.”

The recalled ground beef packages were produced June 1 at the Lakeside Refrigerated Services facility in Jersey and were sold under several brand names, including Thomas Farms and Marketside Butcher. The latter is sold through Walmart stores.  The products have the establishment number “EST. 46841” inside the USDA inspection mark.

According to the recall notice, the problem was found during routine testing. Although no illnesses are reported so far, the USDA urges consumers to throw away or return any recalled ground beef products in your refrigerator or freezer, since E.coli can potentially cause kidney failure in young children and older adults, as well as dehydration, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal cramps three to four days after exposure.

If you ate ground beef and experienced these symptoms, contact your medical practitioner immediately.

The recalled products include:


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FACE COVERINGS, PHYSICAL DISTANCE NEEDED TO PREVENT SURGE OF COVID-19, SAY COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO HEALTH OFFICIALS

Research has shown that when face coverings are used properly, they reduce transmission of the novel coronavirus. Maintaining physical distance from other people does too.

The latest is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of sailors at the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt which showed that sailors who used a face covering and practiced social distancing had a lower infection rate.

“We now have more scientific evidence that face coverings prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “When people are in public the risk of exposure is higher so they should wear a face covering, especially when they’re within six feet from others.”


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MOVIE THEATERS AND MORE CAN REOPEN

Image Credit: Shutterstock

June 13, 2020 (San Diego) – The latest easing of COVID-19 restrictions are rolling out. Since yesterday, June 12th, indoor movie theaters can reopen and film production of TVs and movies can resume. Also allowed to reopen, with limitations, are gyms, bars and wineries, swimming pools, hotels and other rental properties for travelers, and major tourist attractions such as zoos, aquariums, galleries and museums.


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DIGNITY AND POWER NOW LAUNCHES EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND TO HELP CALIFORNIA COMMUNITIES WITH SUPPLIES DURING PANDEMIC

East County News Service

Dignity & Power Now

June 13, 2020 (San Diego) -- Dignity & Power Now, has announced the establishment of its Emergency Fund to aid in connecting community members to essential supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rapid response fund will be implemented in three phases to respond to the ongoing concerns of community members who are experiencing loss, hardship, and health concerns as a result of the coronavirus.

First Phase: The first phase provides essential needs such as diapers, baby wipes, and formula to families with children. This phase includes size collection and drop-offs to residential addresses.


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COVID-19 SURVIVOR WILL RODRIGUEZ-KENNEDY SPEAKS OUT

By Helen Horvath

 

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Will Rodriguez-Kennedy at an election night party March 3

 

June 12, 2020 (San Diego) -- One of the 21 COVID-19 patients treated at the VA Hospital in San Diego was Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, Chair of the San Diego Democratic Party.  He was the first COVID-19 patient treated at the VA Hospital in San Diego. In an exclusive interview with ECM, he discussed COVID-19 and the impact the novel coronavirus has had upon his life.  


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HEALTHCARE IN A COVID-19 WORLD: ACCESS FOR LOCAL VETERANS

In an exclusive interview, the Director of San Diego’s VA Healthcare System shares insights and challenges

 

By Helen Horvath, Army veteran

 

June 11, 2020 (San Diego) – The COVID-19 pandemic has opened up a wide variety of complex systemic blind spots in our healthcare system, including care for military veterans. This has been the result of how the various private sector and government agencies initially responded to the pandemic. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: SMALLPOX SURVIVOR RECALLS THE SCOURGE

As COVID-19 quarantines cause disruptions worldwide, a survivor of a prior pandemic speaks out

By  Roger Coppock

Photo: A case of smallpox in 1886; public domain image via Wikipedia

June 10, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- It fell off me in the shower this morning.  I felt the brief pinch and saw it before it went down the drain.  The little piece of thin  plastic suture used to hold together a former pustule on my skin, hiding it. It has been more than a decade since I saw the last of its kind.  This may, finally, be the last of them all.

As a preschooler, I followed my late father to a research station in New Mexico along the border.  My father was an experimental psychologist who was trying to measure learning in bats.  It was a great adventure, until I caught one of the last cases of Smallpox in North America.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

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

HEALTH

SCIENCE AND TECH

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.


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BORDER PATROL SEIZES MORE COUNTERFEIT AND UNAPPROVED COVID-19 PRODUCTS

Source: U..S. Customs and Border Patrol

June 6, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues to identify and seize a large number of counterfeit, unapproved or otherwise substandard COVID-19 products that threaten the health and safety of American consumers.

As of June 1, CBP had seized more than:

- 107,300 FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits in 301 incidents;

- 750,000 counterfeit face masks in 86 incidents;

- 2,500 EPA-prohibited anti-virus lanyards in 89 incidents; and

- 11,000 FDA-prohibited chloroquine tablets in 91 incidents.


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COUNTY READIES TO REOPEN WIDE RANGE OF ENTERTAINMENT VENUES, BUT URGES TESTING OF PROTESTORS AND PEOPLE WITH COVID SYMPTOMS

240 new cases and 6 more deaths reported

Source: County News Service

Photo: Wineries such as Hatfield Creek Winery in Ramona are among the local businesses that may be able to open starting June 12.

June 5, 2020 (San Diego) -- Starting June 9, beachgoers will be allowed to park in lots at local beaches, the County announced today, though coastal communities may opt for stricter rules. The County also received new guidance from the state on additional sectors that can reopen, with restrictions, as early as Friday, June 12 including:

  • Gyms
  • Hotels
  • Bars and wineries
  • Museums, galleries, zoos and aquariums
  • Professional sports without spectators
  • Day camps
  • Campgrounds and RV parks
  • Family entertainment (bowling alleys, batting cages, etc.)
  • Card rooms and racetracks
  • Music, film and television production

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SAN DIEGO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS REFINE CRITERIA THAT WOULD PROMPT RENEWED COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office

June 3, 2020 (San Diego) -- Even as the County continues to allow additional activities within its health order, it is refining criteria that would prompt renewed restrictions.

A set of 13 triggers was shown to the Board of Supervisors during an update on the County’s COVID-19 response at their meeting Tuesday. The variety of data indicators reviewed would lead public health officials to pull back on the reopening of the local economy.

The modification of the health order would be triggered if any of the following criteria was met:


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AMBULANCE SERVICES SET TO IMPROVE IN PAUMA VALLEY

Source:  Cal Fire

May 29, 2020 (El Cajon) - CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire Authority and Mercy Medical Transportation are excited to announce a new agreement which calls for an advanced life support (ALS) ambulance to be placed at Fire Station 70 in Pauma Valley. Beginning Friday, May 22, 2020, the new ambulance will be available to respond to emergencies from Palomar Mountain and the La Jolla Reservation to the Rincon Reservation and Pauma Valley along the Hwy 76 corridor in northern San Diego County. In addition to providing paramedic service in its primary response area, the medic ambulance will be available to assist surrounding communities such as Valley Center and Pala Reservation should their primary ambulances be out of their protection areas or in the event an emergency incident requires additional resources. 


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WHERE TO FIND COVID-19 TESTS: NEW RURAL SITES ANNOUNCED FOR JUNE 1-6

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Drive-up testing, courtesy of San Diego County News Service

May 29, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – COVID-19 tests are now widely available to everyone. There are several options for testing across our region.  

People who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their health care provider and arrange for testing, or call 2-1-1 if you don’t have a doctor. 

For those without symptoms, call 2-1-1 for a referral to one of the many testing sites countywide, including drive-up test sites. All require an appointment through 2-1-1.  

Or you can get a free test by signing up on the state website (in East County, free state testing is available at Grossmont College).


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PLASMA FROM RECOVERED COVID-19 PATIENTS NEEDED TO TREAT OTHERS LOCALLY

Source: By Miriam Raftery

Photo: CC by NA - SC

May 29, 2020 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Blood Bank is partnering with the County to encourage San Diegans who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma, the liquid part of blood which contains antibodies. This plasma could help treat people who are hospitalized or seriously ill from the novel coronavirus.

While currently there is no vaccine or proven treatment for COVID-19, “convalescent plasma may help patients fighting the virus because the plasma has antibodies against it,” the County’s top health official announced yesterday.

“This partnership helps us to achieve one of the indicators at the federal level for treatment of COVID-19,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “We’re very excited about this partnership.”


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BACK TO THE BEACH: COUNTY EASES RESTRICTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

May 29, 2020 (San Diego) –  Just in time for summertime weather, beach towels and chairs can be brought to local beaches for lounging on the sand starting Tuesday, June 2nd. But some restrictions remain under the new rules announced yesterday by the County’s Health and Human Services Agency.

Sitting or sunbathing together is only allowed with people in your own household. You must maintain six feet of social distancing from others, and wear a mask if you come within six feet of anyone such as when passing someone while walking or jogging.  Parking lots and piers are still closed, so plan on walking to reach those sandy shores. Group activities such as volleyball or football remain prohibited.

All beach communities have agreed to these eased restrictions, however cities have the power to determine how to enforce the guidelines and whether to reimpose limits if people don’t follow the rules.


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LOCAL RELIGIOUS GROUPS REACT TO NEWS THAT WORSHIP SERVICES CAN RESUME, WITH CHANGES

 

Update May 29, 2020: The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear an appeal of the Ninth Circuit appellate court's ruling against a Chula Vista church. By a 5-4 vote, the majority of justices found that California's llimits on attendance size at in-person woship services during a pandemic did not violate the First Amendment or discriminate against churches, noting that simlar or more severe restrictions apply to concerts, movie theaters and other venues with gatherings.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Bishop Robert McElroy, during 2018 bicentennial celebration at the Santa Ysabel Mission, has called for Catholic masses to resume in June, but parishioners could opt to continue online services if they choose.

May 27, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego County Health officials yesterday announced that houses of worship can resume services, with limited numbers of people and other changes. The action follows Governor Gavin Newsom rolling out new state guidelines allow in-person worship services and ceremonies, though officials are encouraging alternatives such as online worshipping or outdoor services to help protect parishioners and staff from COVID-19.

Under the county health rules, churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship must limit attendance to 25 percent of capacity or 100 people, whichever is smallest. Worshippers not in the same household must sit or stand six feet apart.


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ACTING FAST TO FLATTEN THE CURVE: RADY CHILDREN'S SUCCESS STORY

By Duane Cameron

May 27, 2020 (San Diego) - In mid-March as our country, and the world, was dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear to Dr. Patrick A. Frias, President & CEO of Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, that they were facing an unprecedented challenge. Cases of COVID-19 were rising in San Diego County, requiring the hospital to enact strict distancing measures and virtual doctor visits to protect its immune-compromised young patients. Additionally, California’s shelter-in-place order requiring all non-essential workers to do their jobs from home threatened to overwhelm Rady Children’s online systems, which are crucial to all aspects of the hospital’s operations, from medical equipment to security.


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DOMESTIC ABUSE ADVOCATES SEE RISE IN FIRST-TIME VICTIMS

By Kendra Sitton

 

“The quarantine has created a lot of problems…A safety plan is no longer available [for some victims].” – Dilkhwaz Ahmed, License to Freedom

 

May 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) — After weeks of stay-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, two local organizations supporting victims of domestic abuse are seeing a sharp rise in people seeking services for the first time. 


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BAD HAIR DAYS ARE OVER: COUNTY AND STATE APPROVE REOPENING OF BARBER SHOPS AND HAIR SALONS

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo by Miriam Raftery

May 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) --Today in a televised update on COVID-19, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that hair salons and barbershops in most counties will now be able to reopen their doors. The businesses must meet the state’s reopening guidelines .

 Late today, San Diego County approved allowing local salons and barbershops to reopen as soon as they implement and post a safe reopening plan. 

Supervisor Dianne Jacob called the Governor’s action “another welcome step in getting our businesses back into business."

The order does not apply to nail salons, however, and certain close-contact services remain prohibited including facials, shaves, eyebrow waxing and threading, and eyelash treatments.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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SONY GLOBAL RELIEF FUND FOR COVID-19 TO GIVE $100 MILLION IN AID TO MEDICAL, EDUCATION AND CREATIVE COMMUNITY

Source: Sony

May 24, 2020 (San Diego) --- Sony Corporation, based in Rancho Bernardo, has established the "Sony Global Relief Fund for COVID-19," a 100 million US dollar fund to support those around the world affected by the COVID-19 virus. According to the company’s press release, Sony will provide support in mainly three areas "Medical" "Education" and the "Creative Community."


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COUNTY TO OFFER COVID-19 TESTING IN RURAL COMMUNITIES, OTHER AREAS

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

Photo:  a nurse administers a COVID-19 test at a drive-up test site.

May 22, 2020 (San Diego) - As part of efforts to expand COVID-19 testing, the County will be opening sites in rural communities and other areas of the region. New locations, starting Tuesday, will be staffed with first responders from CAL FIRE and the San Diego County Fire Authority.


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CASINO PAUMA TO REMAIN TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR SAFETY OF ITS GUESTS, COMMUNITY AND EMPLOYEES

East County News Service

May 22, 2020 (Pauma Valley) – Bucking the trend of several local casinos that reopened this week or have announced upcoming reopening dates, Casino Pauma on Wednesday announced that it will remain closed indefinitely, choosing to following the advice of Governor Gavin Newsom and health officials to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic.


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VIEJAS CASINO REOPENING BALANCES ECONOMIC NEED AND PUBLIC SAFETY

By Helen Horvath

Photo, left:  Worker sanitize chips, cards and table with UV lighting; screenshot from Viejas video

On May 18, 2020, the Viejas tribe took the bold leadership step of reopening Viejas Casino & Resort in collaboration with other tribal nations in San Diego in advance of the Stage 3 opening recommended by California’s Governor Gavin Newsom.

 ECM visited the casino on opening day, speaking with employees, guests and a union official about their experiences and the many changes in place due to COVID-19.


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LOCAL WRITERS AND TEACHERS HELP OTHERS THROUGH THE SMALL MOVEMENT

By Mimi Pollack

 

Update May 21, 2020: Dr. Kalmar and his staff love their new headbands, which have now been delivered to Grossmont Hospital to help hold masks in place more comfortable. Photo, left, courtesy of Dr. Kalmar. (Other photos courtesy of Mimi Pollack)

 

May 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- What is the small movement? It’s an informal group of people brought together by yours truly to find ways to help others, especially during this pandemic.  This includes giving business to small mom and pop restaurants that may be struggling, buying pizzas for Grossmont Hospital staff,  making masks for Rady’s Children’s Hospital and for shelters in Tijuana, gathering and donating food and fresh fruit to a food pantry, and making headbands for hospital staff to alleviate the discomfort of face masks.

The movement so far includes two East County Magazine writers (Rebecca Jefferis Williamson and me), three Grossmont College teachers (Sara Ferguson, Edda Temoche and me), a San Diego Continuing Education retired teacher (Lynn Francis), two well-known artists (Becky Guttin and Griselda Rosas), East County resident Sharonne Ketels, North County resident, Janna Leoff, and Dr. Frank Kalmar.


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SELF-CARE APP SHINE HOSTS THREE EVENTS FREE ON WED. MAY 20

East County News Service

Photo: Shine co-Founders Naomi Hirabayashi and Marah Lidey (youtube 2019)

May 19, 2020 (San Diego) - Whether on the frontlines, navigating the pandemic as a parent, or struggling with uncertainty, caring for our mental health matters now more than ever.

“You deserve to take a mental health break,” states an e-mail from Shine, a self-care community prototyped in 2015 as a weekday SMS message to practice self-compassion.

Shine has grown exponentially since then, and is hosting the second annual National Mental Health Break on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. They hope for it to trend at #NationalMentalHealthBreak

“You’ll walk away feeling calm, refreshed, and less alone in caring for your mental health,” promises the team at Shine. 

Shine is making it easier for non-subscribers by offering a day of free, virtual gatherings all focused on helping one take a break and prioritize mental health. 

What each event includes: A Daily Shine group meditation, insightful Q&As about navigating these uncertain times, and one-on-one discussions.


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COUNTY AND STATE ADD MORE COVID-19 TESTING SITES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Creative Commons via Bing

May 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The region’s COVID-19 testing is expanding this week.  Starting Tuesday, May 19th, the public can get free testing at walk-up sites run by the state at two locations:  The County Assessor’s former office at 200 S. Magnolia Ave. in El Cajon and at the Tubman-Chavez Center, 415 Euclid Ave. in southeast San Diego.


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LA MESA APPROVES REOPENING SOME PARKS, WAIVING BUSINESS LICENSE FEES, AND RELIEF WITH CARES ACT FUNDS

By Jake Zawlacki

May 17, 2020 (La Mesa) -- On May 12th, the La Mesa City Council unanimously approved three considerations brought to the Council to aid businesses impacted by COVID-19, reopen some parks, and allocate federal CARES Act funds to help the homeless and others.


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