Health/Fitness

CONTAMINATED INFANT FORMULAS TIED TO HOSPITALIZATIONS AND A DEATH: STOP USING SIMILAC, ALIMENTUM OR ELECARE POWDERED PRODUCTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: CC by SA via Bing

February 19, 2022 (Washington D.C.0 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to use recalled powdered infant formulas sold under the brand names Similac, Alimentum and EleCare in the U.S. and other countries.


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OUT OF THE COVID CRISIS, BUT CALIFORNIA IS STILL IN A STATE OF EMERGENCY

By Alexei Koseff, CalMatters

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

Photo:  Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses the next phase of the state’s COVID-19 response at a press conference in Fontana on Feb. 17, 2022. The press conference took place in one of many warehouses where PPE supplies are stored. Photo by Alisha Jucevic for CalMatters

February 18, 2022 (Sacramento) - For weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom teased that California would soon enter a new phase of its response to the coronavirus pandemic, one in which the state shifted its perspective to how to deal with an endemic disease that will likely be a regular part of our lives.


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SAN DIEGO SHERIFF DOES NOT SHARE RAPE VICTIM’S DNA TO SOLVE OTHER CRIMES

By Miriam Raftery

Image: CC via Bing

February 18, 2022 (San Diego) – After revelations that San Francisco police used DNA collected from rape kits to charge a rape victim with a property crime, San Francisco’s District Attorney Chesa Boudin dismissed the charges and called the police actions a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

So East County Magazine asked the San Diego Sheriff department whether it has submitted rape victims’ DNA collected at hospitals to a database that could be used to link rape victims to other crimes.

Within hours of our request, Lieutenant Amber Baggs, the Sheriff’s Media Relations Director, sent this response:  “No we do NOT do this.  I read the article as well and checked with our Crime Lab Director. We do not match victim's DNA to other crimes. Thank you for asking so this can be clarified.”


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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GOT COVID? GET TREATMENT TO RECOVER FASTER

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

Photo:  a treatment room at the Monoclonal Antibody Regional Center in San Ysidro.

February 17, 2022 (San Diego) - The County Health and Human Services Agency is reminding San Diegans that monoclonal antibody treatment is available for people at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19.


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COUNTY REPORTS SLIGHT UPTICK IN FLU CASES

By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  a flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.

February 17, 2022 (San Diego) - The County Health and Human Services Agency is reporting 34 new lab-confirmed influenza cases, a slight uptick from last week when 26 cases were reported.


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COUNTY URGES RESIDENTS TO GET BOOSTER SHOTS, AS MASKS COME OFF

Source: County News Service

Only 53% of those eligible locally have received boosters, but 88% of hospitalizations are patients who have not had booster shots

 

February 17, 2022 (San Diego) -- With masks coming off indoors in many public places for fully vaccinated people, County health officials are urging all eligible San Diegans to get all the recommended COVID-19 doses, including the additional dose and booster shot.


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SCRIPPS RESEARCH DISCOVERY COULD ENABLE BROAD CORONAVIRUS VACCINE

Scientists identified vulnerable site on multiple coronaviruses that could be targeted to prevent future pandemics

 

Watch a video on this research here: https://www.scripps.edu/news-and-events/press-room/2022/20220210-andrabi-coronavirus-prevent-future-pandemics.html.

 

Source: Scripps Research

 

February 11, 2022 (La Jolla) -- The COVID-causing virus SARS-CoV-2 harbors a vulnerable site at the base of its spike protein that is found also on closely related coronaviruses, according to a new study from Scripps Research. The discovery, published Feb 8 in Science Translational Medicine, could inform the design of broad-acting vaccines and antibody therapies capable of stopping future coronavirus pandemics.

 

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, IAVI, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the San Diego Center for AIDS Research, the John and Mary Tu Foundation, and the James B. Pendleton Charitable Trust.


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MASK MANDATE FOR FULLY VACCINATED PEOPLE ENDS FEB. 15 IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY, DESPITE CDC ADVICE TO KEEP WEARING MASKS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo credit:  County News Service

February 10, 2022 (San Diego) – Starting February 15, fully vaccinated people will no longer have to wear masks indoors in most places in San Diego County.  But the action runs counter to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control advice, which continues to recommend face masks, particularly N95 masks, as the best way to prevent spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.


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BILL TO ALLOW TEENS TO RECEIVE VACCINES WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT SPARKS CONTROVERSY

By Miriam Raftery

Photo credit:  San Diego County

February 8, 2022 (San Diego) – Senate Bill 866, the Teens Choose Vaccines Act introduced on January 21 by California State Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat, would allow young people age 12 and up to receive vaccines for COVID-19 and other serious illnesses without parental consent. The bill, which is sparking conflicts among public health experts and parental choice advocates, has not yet been scheduled for hearing. 


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WARNING: CANDY AND DRIED FRUITS WITH DANGEROUS LEAD LEVELS SOLD IN OUR REGION

East County News Service

February 4, 2022 (San Diego)—California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office has issued an alert warning consumers of dried plum fruit and candies containing “dangerous” levels of lead far above legal limits. His office also sent letters ordering retailers to immediately remove the products, including some marketed to children and several sold in the San Diego region.

Lead-tainted products sold in San Diego County include:

  • El Chavito Saladitos Enchilados Salted Plums W/Chili

  • El Leoncito Ponchin Saladitos con Chile/Dry Salted Plums with Chili

  • El Super Leon Saladitos/Dry Salted Plums with Chili & Chamoy

  • Hola Lobito Fresco Ciruela Salada Sabor Limon/Lemon Flavored Salted Plum

  • La Fiesta Saladitos Con Chile/Salted Plums with Chili.


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COVID-19 CASE REPORTS DOWN, BUT HOME TESTS AREN’T COUNTED: INCREASED DEATHS ARE REMINDER TO GET VACCINATED, BOOSTED

By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock 

February 3, 2022 (San Diego) -- New lab-confirmed COVID-19 infections are beginning to decline in the region, but actual case counts may be higher due to the increasing popularity and availability of home antigen tests, results of which are not reported to the County.


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GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE DISTRICT RECEIVES $47,117 IN COVID-19 RELIEF FUNDING FROM STATE

Funds will be used to assist in the distribution of free COVID-19 at-home test kits 

Source:  Grossmont Healthcare district

Photo: District employees prepare boxes of at-home COVID-19 test kits for distribution to the community through partners and its Library (Courtesy of Grossmont Healthcare District) 

February 2, 2022 (La Mesa) – The Grossmont Healthcare District announced it has received $47,117 in State funding for COVID-19 relief, which it plans to reinvest into the community by supplementing the nationwide effort to provide the public with free COVID-19 at-home test kits.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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GROUNDHOG DAY 2022: SIX MORE WEEKS TO STAY HEALHTY AND ACTIVE

By Kori Hudson, MedStar Health

Photo: CC via Bing

 

February 2, 2022 (San Diego) -- Punxsutawney Phil has spoken - we can expect six more weeks of  winter! It’s true - cold and dark days mean you’re more likely to spend time hibernating in bed instead of going on an early run - but a good workout session is always a good idea. Exercise helps release endorphins and maintains muscle mass. The benefits are especially noticeable for those who suffer from SAD; exercise has been shown to help alleviate symptoms during these dark, cold months

 

Here are a few tips from MedStar Health Sports Medicine Physician Kori Hudson.


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LICENSED SKILLED NURSING HOMES VS ADVOCATERS, WHO WILL WIN?

Both sides of issue have rare agreement: California does a poor job

By J.W. August

Photo: Microsoft clip art

February 1, 2022 (San Diego) -- The approval this past week by the California Assembly of new state legislation has the potential to significantly alter the oversight of skilled nursing facilities statewide that are home to some 400,000 patients.

Assembly Bill 1502 cleared the Assembly on a 55-15 vote, with only Republican legislators casting no votes, including the minority leader Republican Maria Waldron representing part of North County. Whether this far-reaching bill becomes law depends on whether the legislation will survive review by the California Senate. The first stop is at the Senate Health Committee.


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BILL ENDING ‘ZOMBIE LICENSES’ FOR NURSING HOMES MOVES FORWARD IN CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE

Shot down before, this time advocates have momentum as bill heads to a vote

By J.W. August

Photo:  Isolation of patients in nursing homes during COVID era increases need for state oversight; image CC-by-NC via Bing

Update August 11, 2022:  AB 1502 has passed the State Senate Judiciary and Appropriations Committees, and now heads to the Senate floor.

Update 5 p.m. --AB 1502  passed the Assembly tthis afternoon by a 47-12 vote and now heads to the State Senate.

January 31, 2022 (San Diego) -- If you want to drive a car in California you need a driver's license. In San Diego County all dogs must be licensed.  But if you own a nursing home, you can buy another home or chain of facilities, and no license is required. 

Unlike a driver who is in multiple accidents or an animal that's attacked someone, there are no rules when it comes to the takeover or sale of nursing homes, no matter how ugly the track record of the firm buying or selling a nursing home.

Even if a chain operator has a history of poorly managed homes, it can add to its portfolio and can do so without first obtaining a license, as long as it submits a license application. The trouble is, such applications can take years to process.

The California Department of Public Health, which is charged with providing oversight of the nursing home industry, says it has no authority to disqualify owners and operators who are already in operation in the state. The agency says this is allowed to happen under what they call a Management Operations Transfer Agreement.

This is what Tony Chicotel, attorney for California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), calls “zombie licenses.”. He explains it’s  “the essence of license-evasion.” 


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MAYO CLINIC STUDY FINDS CHOLESTEROL CAN BE LOWERED SUBSTANTIALLY WITH FOODS INSTEAD OF MEDICINE

By Miriam Raftery

January 29, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) -- I recently lowered  my “bad” cholesterol level by 33 points, simply by changing diet to largely eliminate saturated fats and adding cholesterol-lowering items such as oatmeal, blueberries, acai berries, salmon, and walnuts. My cholesterol dropped from the very high range to borderline normal, without any medications.

While I did not use any specifically formulated products, a study just published in the Journal of Nutrition has found that a “food as medicine” approach using Step One Foods can be as effective as medications at reducing cholesterol, without the need for drastic lifestyle changes.  


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NO WAY OUT: HOW THE POOR GET STRANDED IN CALIFORNIA NURSING HOMES

By Jesse Bedayn, CalMatters

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

Photo:  Bradley Fisher, 62, in the Antioch home he eventually moved into after spending 14 years in a Bay Area nursing home. Sept. 2, 2021. Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

January 29, 2022 (San Diego) - Bradley Fisher, a 62-year-old retired mechanic, lived in a Bay Area nursing home for 14 years. 

Entering at age 39, Fisher had been partially paralyzed when bone spurs severed tendons in his spine. After a few years of rehabilitation, Fisher said, he could have lived at home with proper care. 

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PARENTS’ ADVOCATES CHEER CA DEAL ON COVID PAID SICK LEAVE

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

Photo via CNS

January 27, 2022 (Sacramento) -- Parents' rights groups are praising a plan to extend paid sick leave for many California workers, which is now on a fast track to pass.


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CALIFORNIA IS SECOND SAFEST STATE IN NATION FROM COVID

East County News Service

Photo: CC-ND

 

January 27, 2022 (San Diego) -- With around 64% of the population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but the omicron variant on the rise, WalletHub today released updated rankings for the Safest States During COVID-19, along with accompanying videos and audio files.  California is ranked the second safest overall, after Hawaii, an island state. California also has the highest vaccination rate in the nation.


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BOOSTERS KEEPING SAN DIEGANS OUT OF HOSPITALS

East County News Service

County News Service contributed to this report

January 26, 2022 (San Diego) - Recently released research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that COVID-19 vaccine boosters are effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalizations.

New research findings released by the U.S. Centers for Disease control shows that COVID-19 vaccine boosters are effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalizations.

The boosters reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations by 94%, and reduced the death rate by 90% compared to patients who had not received booster shots.

 


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CAN’T AFFORD MEDICATIONS? BILLIONAIRE MARK CUBAN LAUNCHES ONLINE PHARMACY TO MAKE GENERIC DRUGS AFFORDABLE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: CC by ND via Bing

January 23, 2022 (Dallas) – Seeking to make generic prescription drugs affordable for all, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has launched an online pharmacy that sells medications at wholesale prices to consumers at https://costplusdrugs.com/.


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SINGLE-PAYER HEALTHCARE CLEARS BIG HURDLE IN CALIFORNIA

 

By Emily Hoeven, CalMatters

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

Photo:  State Capitol, CC-by-NC via Bing

Update: The author did not bring this bill up on the Assembly floor by this session's legislative deadline, due to lack of enough votes for passage.

January 22, 2022 (Sacramento) - Get ready for a showdown in Sacramento.

On Thursday, a key Assembly committee approved a controversial proposal to create a state-funded single-payer health care system — a move that could put many Democrats, and ultimately Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a tough bind ahead of this year’s elections.


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ALL VISITORS TO U.S. MUST NOW SHOW PROOF OF VACCINATION AT BORDER, INCLUDING THOSE TRAVELING FOR ESSENTIAL REASONS

By Miriam Raftery

January 21, 2022 (San Diego) – Starting tomorrow, all people entering the U.S. at the Mexican or Canadian borders must be fully vaccinated, except for U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and U.S. nationals.  The new requirement will apply to both essential and non-essential travelers, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced.


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COUNTY EXPANDS COVID-19 TESTING TO MEET DEMAND CAUSED BY OMICRON

By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office

January 21, 2022 (San Diego) - The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency is continuing to expand regional COVID-19 testing to meet the increased demand brought on by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. The County has a network of free testing sites, both walk-up and appointment-based.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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AMID LOW COVID VACCINE RATES, MORE CALIFORNIA CHILDREN HOSPITALIZED IN OMICRON SURGE

By Elizabeth Aguilera, CalMatters

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

Photo:  CC-by NC-ND via Bing

January 18, 2022 (San Diego) - COVID-19 hospitalizations among California’s children — especially those too young to go to school — are the highest they have been since the pandemic began.


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STARTING TODAY, YOU CAN ORDER FOUR FREE COVID TESTS PER HOUSEHOLD

By Miriam Raftery

Photo credit:  USPS

January 18, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – Every household in American can receive four free COVID-19 tests from the federal government. 

Orders are being taken online starting today at https://special.usps.com/testkits.

The rapid antigen COVID-19 tests will be shipped free by the U.S. Postal Service starting in late January.


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LOST A LOVED ONE TO COVID? FEMA WILL PAY FUNERAL EXPENSES

By Miriam Raftery

Image via Pixabay

January 17, 2022 (Washington D.C.) – Over 850,000 Americans have died of COVID-19.  But many families don’t know about a federal program that can pay for funeral expenses such as burial or cremation. 

The program will pay up to $9,000 per death, or a maximum of $35,000 per application if an applicant paid for funerals for multiple people.


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