Health/Fitness

COVID-19 VIRUS FOUND IN WASTEWATER AT UCSD: THOSE WHO USED RESTROOMS IN 5 AREAS SHOULD GET TESTED AND WATCH FOR SYMPTOMS

East County News Service

 

November 29, 2020 (San Diego) – A campus notice advises that the COVID-19 virus (also known as SARS CoV-2) has been detected in the wastewater in five campus areas at the University of California, San Diego. 


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SAN DIEGO COUNTY REPORTS RECORD 1,802 NEW COVID CASES, BUT NO DEATHS

 
Photo courtesy: San Diego County News Center
 
November 28, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County health officials reported a record 1,802 new COVID-19 infections Friday, raising the region’s total to 78,159 cases, but no additional deaths.
 
Friday marked the 17th consecutive day that more than 600 new cases were reported. The county’s death toll remains at 996.
 
The virus is surging across the country in a second wave. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported 324,358 new cases and 3,668 more deaths for a total of 262,673 nationwide.

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HOW SENIORS CAN STAY CONNECTED WITH THEIR FAMILIES DURING THE HOLIDAYS AND NOT BECOME SOCIALLY ISOLATED

By Marcel Gemme

Photo courtesy Revera Inc

November 28, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The pandemic is in full swing across the United States, and health officials are advising families to rethink holiday plans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age among older adults, with older seniors at the highest risk. There are also other factors that can increase your risk for severe illness, such as having underlying medical conditions. Social distancing and taking added precautions as seniors should not mean social isolation. It is essential to stay connected with our loved ones.

Seniors living in retirement homes, assisted living, or independent living are some of the hardest hit. Many families have been unable to see their loved ones in-person and have had to stay connected virtually. Other families have been able to see their elderly loved ones; everyone’s circumstance is completely different from the next person, and everyone has had to adapt to something new. Moreover, if you decide to travel, there are certain steps to take to ensure your safety and the safety of the people you are visiting. 

Simple Ways for Seniors to Stay Connected During the COVID-19 Pandemic:


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AS PANDEMIC AID ENDS, CALIFORNIANS FACE BRUTAL NEW YEAR

By Nigel Duara, CalMatters

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

Photo:  Jacques Gene at his home in Cool, near Sacramento, with his 7-year-old son Wyatt. They are among the hundreds of thousands of Californians who are bracing for pandemic aid to end, as federal unemployment benefits expire and the state lifts its eviction moratorium. Photo by Hector Amezcua for CalMatters

November 25, 2020 (Sacramento) - In late 2017, a house fell on Jacques Gene. 

The construction foreman in Cool, east of Sacramento, was inside a half-finished home when the rolling trusses that make up the underside of the roof fell, collapsing the whole house. Gene, 46, suffered broken ribs, a punctured lung and a concussion. When his coworkers sorted through the rubble, he says, they didn’t expect to find him alive. 


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“ALARMING” SURGE IN COVID CASES AS HOSPITALIZATIONS CLIMB

By Miriam Raftery

November 25, 2020 (San Diego) – Yesterday, County health officials confirmed 1,546 new COVID-19 cases – surpassing the prior record of 1,478 set just last Friday. The past week also saw 73 community outbreaks, with 15 more on Tuesday alone. Hospitalizations have increased 15.5% and ICU capacity is now 30%, with 50% ventilator capacity going into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend when officials warn gatherings could overload our healthcare system and cost lives.

“The continuing spike in cases ahead of this week’s holiday is alarming and it is vital that All San Diegans commit themselves to the public health guidance,” says Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, County Public Health Officer. “The sooner we lower our case rates, the sooner we will be able to lift restrictions and reopen our businesses.”

San Diego remains in the state’s most restrictive purple tier. Statewide, COVID-19 cases surged more than 81%, state health officials reported yesterday.  San Diego’s adjusted case rate is 13.1%.


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RENTAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO ADDITIONAL 10,000 SAN DIEGO COUNTY HOUSEHOLDS

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

Photo credit: Charles Marlin, Rent Past Due

November 24, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County residents who are economically impacted by COVID-19 could qualify for assistance of up to $3,000 to pay for past-due or upcoming rent.

The County will be accepting new applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program starting December 1, 2020. Interested people can find more information about the program and apply starting at www.SDHCD.org.

Because of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many residents have been unable to pay rent, which can cause them to be evicted and lead to an increase in homelessness.

Understanding the financial burden for both tenants and landlords, the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors allocated $27 million in funding for an Emergency Rental Assistance Program to ease that burden for thousands of county residents.


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A LIFE OF GIVING BACK: AARP CALIFORNIA AWARDS STATE’S HIGHEST HONOR TO FOUNDER OF VOLUNTEERS IN MEDICINE CLINIC IN EL CAJON

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

November 24, 2020 (El Cajon) -- A San Diego man has won AARP California's Andrus Award - the organization's highest honor. At age 85, Stuart Harvey is a retired civil engineer and a founding board member of the Volunteers in Medicine free clinic in El Cajon.


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ANOTHER COVID RECORD: 1,478 NEW CASES IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY AS VIRUS SURGES

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

Photo:  Coronavirus testing at San Diego State University. Courtesy of the university

November 23, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County public health officials Saturday reported a record-high 1,478 new COVID-19 infections and six new deaths, raising the region’s totals to 70,709 cases and 966 deaths.


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COVID OUTBREAKS IN COUNTY DETENTION FACILITIES PROMPT QUARANTINES

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2020 (San Diego) – Several dozen COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in inmates at the George Bailey and East Mesa Detention facilities in San Diego, the Sheriff’s office reports.

On Nov. 16, the Sheriff reported that nine inmates tested positive the prior week at George Bailey in Module 1C, prompting more tests which returned 46 more positive test results.  Those who tested positive were transferred to isolation units and one was hospitalized. Fifteen tested negative but were isolated and monitored for symptoms.  Two asymptomatic inmates were released before their test results were available.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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FREE TURKEYS, FOOD AND HOME ESSENTIALS FOR HOMEBOUND SENIORS AVAILABLE THROUGH PEOPLE’S ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE

By Miriam Raftery

November 18, 2020 (San Diego) – At a press conference held yesterday,  the People’s Alliance for Justice (PAJ) and partnering organizations announced that through their COVID-19 senior health outreach task force, at least 1,000 homebound seniors countywide will be delivered free turkeys, non-perishable groceries and home supplies such as toilet paper, cleaning products and toothpaste.

How to get help, volunteer, or give: To sign up for delivery to a homebound senior, or to volunteer, call the PAJ hotline at 619-354-8051. You can also donate to support this worthy cause at  www.peoplesallianceforjustice.net.

“Seniors are still our most at risk population and we must take every precaution to protect them throughout the difficult winter months ahead,” says Rev. Shane Harris, President and CEO of the People’s Alliance for Justice, noting that San Diego County is now in the state’s purple tier due to rising COVID-19 cases. It is one thing to provide information that makes the holiday season look dark, but it is another thing to bring a ray of light that can shine up a dark situation."   


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TIPS ON CARING FOR SOMEONE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHO HAS COVID-19

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Image by Engin Akyurt at Pixabay

Nov. 21, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The number of COVID-19 positive cases in the San Diego region is increasing.  Currently the County of San Diego reports 68, 203 cases and 952 deaths. Chances are increasing that you will be taking care of someone in your household, or even monitoring your own symptoms if you were exposed.

Should you do laundry with gloves? Spray disinfectant on handles and doorknobs? Wear masks inside? How do you isolate someone in your family? Check with your doctor for details and consider the tips below.

According to the guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) here are the tips they suggest


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STATE ORDERS CURFEW NOV. 21-DEC. 21 AS COVID SURGES; COUNTY SHERIFF CRACKS DOWN ON VIOLATIONS INCLUDING IN EL CAJON, DESPITE MAYOR'S HANDS-OFF STANCE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Chart via San Diego County: Surging COVID cases increase stress on healthcare system

November 19, 2020 (San Diego) – California’s Department of Public Health today issued a curfew Nov. 21-Dec. 21 aimed at reducing spread of COVID-19 as cases surge statewide. The County also announced beefed up enforcement efforts, with many cease and desist orders issued in East County, including El Cajon despite the Mayor's pledge not to enforce health rules.

What the curfew impacts

The limited stay home order applies in Purple Tier counties including San Diego. Between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., the order prohibits gatherings with people not in your household either on your property or elsewhere. 

Non-essential businesses must cease operations during the curfew; only activities defined as “critical infrastructure” (COVID19.ca.gov Essential Workforce) may continue.

The curfew does not prohibit individuals or people in the same household from leaving their residence, as long as they don’t interact with people from other households. You can walk your dog, exercise alone or with those in your household, ride your horse, and travel for essential purposes such as medical visits, picking up food or going to the pharmacy. The curfew also does not apply to people who are homeless.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: LESSONS FROM A SUPERCLUSTER IN OUR PAST

By Kristin Kjaero
 
November 19, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Our family was a “supercluster“ for an earlier airborne disease: tuberculosis. Seven caught it and three died, but that was the least of it.

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FACTS ABOUT VACCINES THAT MAY BEGIN ROLL-OUT IN DECEMBER AMID SKYROCKETING COVID-19 CASES

By Miriam Raftery

November 19, 2020 (San Diego) – A vaccine for COVID-19 can’t come soon enough to protect the health of people around the world and preserve economic futures for businesses that have shut down or been forced to operate under stringent limits. 

Over a quarter of a million Americans have died of COVID-19 in just eight months – nearly five times more than perished in the Vietnam War. That’s far higher than the 34,000 flu deaths last year, and the virus is now spreading exponentially. More than  three million Americans are now believed to have active infections—or nearly one percent of the U.S. population, the Washington Post reports. In San Diego, cases have tripled in the past two weeks; nationally, South Dakota and Iowa reported more than half of all COVID-19 tests were positive as hospitals fill up and nurses are in short supply. 


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TIPS FOR SAFER HOLIDAY SHOPPING AND SUPORTING LOCAL STORES AMID A PANDEMIC

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

 

November 16, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – How can you support struggling retailers and local nonprofits while also minimizing risk during the 2020 holiday season, with the COVID-19 pandemic raging?

Here are several options to keep the "merry" in your holiday season and/or keep the "jingle" in local stores.


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COUNTY CRACKS DOWN ON BUSINESSES AND CHURCHES VIOLATING HEALTH ORDERS AS LOCAL CASE RATE TRIPLES

By Miriam Raftery

November 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – New COVID-19 cases in San Diego have broken all-time records the past two days, at 1,087 and 833 on Nov. 14 and 15.  

The County yesterday announced that it has issued cease and desist letters to 10 businesses and churches caught in “blatant and willful” violations of purple Tier orders banning indoor operations for worship services, restaurants and gyms, according to Greg Cox, Chair of the County Board of Supervisors.  The County has also sent letters to all regional mayors urging help to enforce public health orders.

But El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells has thus far defiantly told media outlets that his police will not prioritize enforcement.


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ADVANCING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: RISE IN FENTANYL DEATHS BRINGS NEW FOCUS TO OPIOID EPIDEMIC

Deadly counterfeit pills mimic common prescription medications

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

November 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- It was his birthday and 22-year-old Vista resident Zach Budlong decided to meet up with some friends at a beach party to celebrate. Furloughed from his job because of COVID-19 and impacted by a reduction in unemployment benefits, Zach looked to the gathering as a way to celebrate and let off some steam. 


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SOME CHURCHES AND RESTAURANTS FLOUT RULES, OTHERS COMPLY AS PURPLE TIER SHUTDOWNS COMMENCE

 

Story and photos by Jake Rose

Miriam Raftery contributed to this report

 

Photos, left: Parishioners at Skyline Church flock to indoor services, many without masks

November 15, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Skyline Church in the unincorporated area of La Mesa and Shadow Mountain in El Cajon had full parking lots for Sunday morning services, despite new Purple Tier restrictions now in effect throughout the county.

Purple tier restrictions started at midnight Saturday, due to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases. Purple tier, or Tier 1, is the most restrictive level for California and comes into play when positive tests exceed 8%. Many non-essential business operations must close, places of worship, restaurants and gyms must move all activity outdoors, and retail must cut capacity to 25%.

With businesses already struggling after the initial lockdown followed by an overall slowdown due to the public’s worry about the coronavirus, this second lockdown has some businesses and places of worship around East County flouting the new restrictions.


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COUNTY RELEASE DATA ON COVID-19 EXPOSURE SETTINGS: RESTAURANTS AND RETAIL TOP LIST

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  shopping online may be safer than in retail and grocery stores, which account for 8.8% of cases countywide since June.  Photo CC by SA

November 13, 2020 (San Diego) – After repeated pressure from media to release more information on which locations pose the highest risks of COVID, San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Department has released new data on potential exposure settings. 


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NEW REVIEW STUDY FINDS HEAVIER CELL PHONE USE LINKED TO TUMOR RISK

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

November 12, 2020 (Sacramento)  - A review of scientific literature out this week found that using a cell phone more than a thousand hours raises your risk of developing a tumor by up to 60%.


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COVID-19 AND FLU SEASON: HOW SENIORS CAN STAY HEALTHY

By Jyotu Sandhu, MD, Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, and  Simona Valanciute, President & CEO, San Diego Oasis
 
Photo: Creative Commons via Bing 
 
November 11, 2020 (La Mesa) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that both the novel coronavirus and flu viruses will spread significantly this fall and winter, which could overwhelm health care facilities. Seniors are already at higher risk of serious health problems from COVID-19, and this year’s flu season will likely compound those worries for older adults and those who care for them.

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HEART TRANSPLANT A SUCCESS DESPITE HELICOPTER FROM GROSSMONT HOSPITAL CRASH-LANDING IN L.A.

By Miriam Raftery

November 10, 2020 (La Mesa) – A medical helicopter from Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa crash-landed onto the top of the University of Southern California’s Keck Hospital in Los Angeles Friday, but its precious cargo was saved.  A heart being delivered via a Helinet Aviation Services' helicopter has been successfully transplanted into the patient, who is doing well.

“It’s actually an amazing story,” Keck Hospital spokesperson Meg Aldrich told the Los Angeles Times. The pilot and two passengers aboard the helicopter were treated locally for minor injuries. Nobody on the ground or in the hospital was injured and patient care was not disrupted, according to a statement by Keck.


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NEW SHUTDOWNS START SATURDAY AS STATE MOVES COUNTY INTO PURPLE TIER

Chamber of Commerce calls on Congress to pass federal stimulus aid to save jobs and businesses

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons image by SA via Bing

November 10, 2020 (San Diego) – The state has moved San Diego County into the most restrictive level, the Purple Tier, after the county’s COVID-19 case rate exceeded 7 cases per 100,000 residents for a full two weeks, soaring as high as 8.9.  To limit spread of the virus, the region must stop indoor operations at restaurants, gyms, churches and movie theaters starting Sat., Nov. 14. Retailers will need to keep customers at 25% of capacity.

“If we don’t continue to take proven, preventive precautions, we won’t be able to get out of the Purple Tier and loosen restrictions,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the County public health officer. “The key to decreasing cases is wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, avoiding gatherings and following other public health recommendations.”  She added, “We understand that people have COVID fatigue, but we have to do what we know works.”

The County will remain in the Purple Tier for at least three weeks. It won’t be able to advance to the Red Tier unless it posts a case rate below 7 cases per 100,000 residents two weeks in a row.

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Sanders, in a statement on the new shutdown orders, said, “Small businesses, which account for more than 90% of the businesses in San Diego County, have shouldered the bulk of the impact in the struggle to contain the spread of COVID-19. The toll this health crisis is having on small business is overwhelming and every day more small businesses are not able to survive the closures and changing restrictions on their operations."


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COVID CASES SOAR AS COUNTY REMAINS IN PURPLE TIER, RISK OF CLOSURES FOR BUSINESSES AND CHURCHES GROWS

 

To report violations of county health rules call (858) 694-2900 or email SafeReopeningComplianceTeam@sdcounty.ca.gov.

By Miriam Raftery

File photo from 2019: A shutdown could hit hardest in mountain towns such as Julian, where winter weather makes it difficult for businesses to operate outdoors.

November 9, 2020 (San Diego) – Churches, restaurants, gyms, theaters and some other locations will have to end indoor operations in San Diego County if the number of cases doesn’t drop out of the state’s purple tier soon. Retailers would have to reduce capacity.The state could order shutdowns as early as tomorrow.

Winter weather will make it harder for businesses and worship services to be conducted outdoors, particularly in East County’s mountain areas, which had their first snowfall of the season last night.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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BARRY JANTZ RETIRING AFTER 16 YEARS AS CEO OF THE GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE DISTRICT

Board announces executive search

November 7, 2020 (La Mesa) - The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) today announced that Barry Jantz has decided to retire effective March 31, 2021, and will initiate an executive search for a new Chief Executive Officer.


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SAN DIEGO COUNTY SLIPS INTO 'PURPLE TIER' AND MAY FACE NEW RESTRICTIONS NEXT WEEK

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

Photo:  Dr. Wilma Wooten briefs local media on the coronavirus numbers and purple tier ranking. Image from livestream

November 4, 2020 (San Diego) - Rising coronavirus cases pushed San Diego County into the “purple” zone on Wednesday, raising the possibility of new restrictions if the case rate does not fall by next week.


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COVID-19 CASES SKYROCKET ACROSS U.S. DESPITE TRUMP CLAIM OF “TURNING CORNER”; PRESIDENT'S RALLIES SPREAD VIRUS AND CAUSED DEATHS, STUDY FINDS

Trump rallies caused over 30,000 COVID cases and 800 deaths, Stanford researchers find

By Miriam Raftery

November 1, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – On Friday, the U.S. reported 100,233 new coronavirus infections in a single day – the highest daily total ever for any nation, Reuters reports.  The spike belies President Donald Trump’s claim during last week’s debate when he stated, “We’re rounding the corner. It’s going away.” 

Every second, the U.S. is now adding a new coronavirus case, overwhelming hospitals in many cities.  USA Today reports that some hospitals are running out of beds and staffers; as a result, the situation is so dire that some hospitals report they may soon have to ration care. 

Despite surviving coronavirus himself, the President has refused to set a role model for others to avoid transmission. Shortly after leaving the hospital he resumed holding in-person rallies to large crowds,  most not wearing masks. Now, Stanford researchers have found that Trump’s rallies between June and September alone were directly responsible for 30,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 700 deaths – including deaths of people who never attended the rallies, but were exposed by Trump supporters who did attend, CNBC reports.


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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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