Health/Fitness

CHIEF’S CORNER: BEAT THE HEAT – AND CHECK THAT BACK SEAT

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

July 6, 2020 (San Diego) -- The dog days of Summer have arrived. And the bad news it, it looks like more is in store this week with a long hot summer ahead.Each year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is an acute condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle.

Hyperthermia can occur even on a mild day. Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets and even adults. Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate. The effects can be more severe on children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults.

Safety tips concerning children include but are not limited to:


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ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE SAN DIEGO AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY

Part One: ECM interviews Dr. Suzanne Affalo, Medical Director, Alliance Health Clinic and retired Kaiser Permanente physician 

By Angela de Joseph

Photo courtesy of Dr. Suzanne Affalo

July 3, 2020 (San Diego) There is a saying, “When America catches a cold, Black America gets pneumonia.” In the case of COVID-19, this old adage is true. The national coronavirus mortality rate for African Americans is about 2.3 times as high as the rate for Whites and Asians, about twice as high as the Latino and Pacific Islander rate, and 1.5 times as high as the Indigenous rate. But, not in San Diego. 


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FOUR WILD MICE COLLECTED IN CAMPO AREA TEST POSITIVE FOR HANTAVIRUS

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  a California mouse

July 2, 2020 (Campo) - Four wild mice collected in routine monitoring in open space in the Campo area have tested positive for hantavirus.

County officials are reminding people they should never sweep or vacuum up after rodents if they find them in living spaces like homes, garages, sheds and cabins, but instead use “wet-cleaning” methods.


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COUNTY RELEASES DATA ON CORONAVIRUS CASES AMONG HOMELESS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Makeshift homeless tent in Lakeside

July 2, 2020 (San Diego) – Today, San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency released data on COVID-19 cases among homeless individuals. To date, 147 homeless people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Of those, 41 have been hospitalized, but fortunately, none have died.

Only 10.7% of those cases (12 total) occurred in homeless people in East County.  Central San Diego had the largest share, with 39.3% of the cases.

Only 16 of the 147 cases were in homeless people whose usual lodging is a shelter.


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COUNTY TO BE PLACED ON WATCHLIST DUE TO RISING COVID CASES; IMPACTED BUSINESSES SHOULD PREPARE FOR SHUTDOWNS

 

Photo: County employee Esma Al Sabag is doing contact tracing in English and Arabic.

 By Jose A. Alvarez, County Communications Office

July 2, 2020 (San Diego) -- A record number of COVID-19 cases were reported today, and the state has notified the County it will be placed on its Monitoring List July 3, which is expected to result in the County closing or placing new restrictions on additional businesses next week.


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COUNTY OFFICIALS WARN OF FURTHER RESTRICTIONS AS 474 NEW VIRUS CASES REPORTED

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

July 2, 2020 (San Diego) -- San Diego County public health officials warned Wednesday that recent re-openings will likely be rolled back as a near-record 474 new coronavirus cases and 7 deaths were reported.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said that if the current trends continue, San Diego County will likely be added to California’s “watch list” of counties by the weekend.

Counties on that list were ordered Wednesday to close indoor dining at restaurants, as well as movie theaters, museums and similar businesses, for three weeks. Orange, Riverside and Imperial counties surrounding San Diego were affected.

“We anticipate by the weekend that we will be on that list as well,” said Wooten at a media briefing.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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COUNTY EASES RULES FOR WINERIES AFTER ECM REPORT, BUT IMPOSES CURFEW FOR RESTAURANTS AND BARS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Woof N' Rose Winery in Ramona wil now be able to remain open, serving wine on an outdoor patio, under the county rule change allowed today.

June 30, 2020 (San Diego) – One day after ordering bars, breweries and wineries to shut down, county health officials today revised that order to allow most to stay open. That’s a big relief to East County wineries, which can now continue to offer winetasting outdoors without food. Wineries, breweries, distilleries and bars with indoor seating can also stay open, provided they serve alcohol with food. Those without food service licenses can team up with a restaurant or food truck.

The changes came after East County Magazine published an article quoting prominent wine owners voicing concern over the future of our region’s wine industry and hours after ECM's editor reached out to Supervisor Dianne Jacob to inform her staff of the winery owners' concerns. ECM's editor also posed a question on this issue during a virtual press conference with county health officials.

Today, the County also imposed a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on all restaurants, bars and other eating/drinking establishments that serve alcohol. Patrons in the door by 10 p.m. may stay until 11 p.m. nightly.  Violators are subject to a $1,000 fine.


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WINERY OWNERS SAY SHUTDOWN OF BARS UNFAIR TO RURAL WINERIES, THREATENS TO CRUSH BURGEONING WINE INDUSTRY

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Outdoor patio at Vineyard Grant James in Ramona provides ample social distancing for wine-tasting guests

June 29, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – East County’s once-thriving wine industry is struggling under COVID-19 restrictions – and some local wineries may die on the vine now that the county has once again shut down all bars effect July 1, including wineries and breweries.

Now, some winery owners are criticizing the shutdown as overly broad and unfair,  since many rural wineries have outdoor patios or spacious tasting rooms and have been providing ample social distancing – unlike urban bars and crowded venues such as the Gaslamp District.


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COUNTY ORDERS SHUTDOWN OF BARS, WINERIES AND BREWERIES, HALTS REOPENING OTHER BUSINESSES

By Miriam Raftery

June 29, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency today ordered  bars, wineries and breweries to shut down starting July 1 to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The county also halted reopening of any additional businesses until at least August 1, due to a spike in cases locally.

Although Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this week ordered bars in six counties to close and recommended closures in eight other counties, San Diego was not on those lists. However local officials made the decision to shut down the alcohol establishments after nearly 500 new cases were reported yesterday, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. Also, 7% of test results reported yesterday were positive, up sharply from the 4.1% rate over the prior two weeks.

Concerns are also rising over hospital capacity, since San Diego has taken some patients from neighboring Imperial County, where 23% of tests have come back positive in recent days prompting the state to order a return to a full lockdown there.

Today, Riverside County’s hospital ICU units hit 99% capacity, forcing hospitals to resort to surge mode, converting other hospital bed areas into ICU units to accommodate COVID-19 patients. San Diego could be asked to accept yet more patients from its neighbor to the north if Riverside's surge in cases continues.


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FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES NEW GUIDELINES TO MAKE MORE ORGANS AVAILABLE FOR TRANSPLANTS

Source: U.S. Health and Human Services

June 28, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- Thursday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) published an updated solid organ transplant guideline to assess donors and monitor recipients for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus infections. This guideline reflects advances in transplant technology and safety that can increase the number of organs available for transplants.

Currently, more than 110,000 patients in the United States are waiting for an organ transplant.


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CA AND OTHER STATES ORDER BARS CLOSED IN SOME AREAS; SAN DIEGO CRACKS DOWN ON VIOLATORS AS COVID-19 CASES RISE

Imperial County put back on full lockdown as positive test rates soar to 23%

By Miriam Raftery

June 28, 2020 (San Diego) – Across the U.S., states and counties that reopened broad sectors of their economies are rolling back some business re-openings as COVID-19 cases spike. On Friday, the governors of Florida, Texas, and California all ordered total or partial shutdowns of bars in efforts to slow the spread. 

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state has ordered bars in six counties to shut down and recommends that bars be closed in eight additional counties.

So far, San Diego is not on either of those lists and bars remain open, though that may change as the county's rate of hospitalizations from COVID-19 climbs.


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FDA WARNS AGAINST THESE HAND SANITIZERS WITH TOXIC, DEADLY INGREDIENT

By Miriam Raftery

View Spanish version of the FDA warning

June 28, 2020 (San Diego) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns consumers not to use any hand sanitizer made by Eskbiochem, a Mexican company, and sold under various brand names in the U.S. that are still on store shelves.

These sanitizers contain methanol, or wood alcohol, which when absorbed through skin or ingested can be toxic. Substantial exposure to methanol can cause permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.

The hand sanitizers were sold under the brand-names All-Clean, Esk Biochem, CleanCare, Lavar, Saniderm, and The Good Gel. Some products tested had as much as 81% methanol.


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KAISER PERMANENTE TAKES NEW ACTIONS TO FIGHT RACISM AND PROMOTE EQUITY

The actions, including a $60 million joint investment with LISC and $40M in grant funds, will support over 2,000 Black-owned businesses or businesses owned by other underrepresented individuals. Kaiser’s action also addresses deeply entrenched structural racism, as well as the trauma and economic inequity it creates.

June 27, 2020 (Oakland, CA)-- Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated health system, announced a series of actions – including $60 million in joint investments and $40 million in grant funding – to address systemic racism and lack of economic opportunities that have persisted for far too long and prevented communities of color, and especially Black communities, from achieving total health. This announcement comes as Kaiser Permanente deepens its 75-year commitment to equity and inclusion and sends a clear message that the organization stands with those who are fighting for equity and social justice.  View Kaiser’s Economic Opportunity Fact Sheet.

“The tragic murder of George Floyd and so many others has reverberated around the world, pushing us to demand overdue change to a status quo that keeps communities of color in the margins and holds us all back as a society,” said Greg A. Adams, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. “As a country, this is a moment to define who we are and what we stand for. We must take strong action to stop the physical, psychological, economic and social impacts of inequity and systemic racism so that we can create healthier communities where everybody, regardless of their skin color, can feel safe and thrive.”


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LACK OF DATA COLLECTION BLOCKS EFFORTS TO ASSESS COVID-19 IMPACTS ON LOCAL MIDDLE EASTERN COMMUNITIES

Hear our  interview with Dr. Raed Al-Naser for KNSJ radio: click here.

By Briana Gomez

Photo, left: Doris Bittar

“Arab Americans are largely considered Caucasian, other, or unknown.  We are a disappeared minority, rendering us nearly invisible in the media and in medicine.” – Doris Bittar, President, Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, San Diego chapter

June 25, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Minority communities across the US are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. For example, nearly 67% of cases in San Diego are among Latinos and Hispanics, who comprise only 30% of the population, according to County Health Department  figures as of June 20.  But a lack of data on Arab and Middle Eastern Americans makes it impossible to accurately assess impacts of the pandemic on this population locally and nationally.

Audio: 


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

June 25,  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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EUROPEAN UNION MAY BAN U.S. TRAVELERS DUE TO FAILURE TO REDUCE COVID-19

San Diego has eight community outbreaks, reopenings halted

By Miriam Raftery

Image:  Comparison of U.S. and European Union COVID-19 cases based on Johns Hopkins University medical data.

June 25, 2020 (San Diego)—If you’re planning a European vacation anytime soon, you may be out of luck. The European Union is looking to reopen to tourism from countries with low rates of the virus, travelers from the U.S. are expected to be banned, along with travelers from Brazil and Russia, the New York Times reports.

COVID-19 has largely diminished in Europe thanks to swift and aggressive actions by government in nations hard-hit there in late March. By contrast, cases have skyrocketed in the U.S., which had a similar number of cases in late March as Europe. But President Donald Trump never ordered a national lock-down or made masks mandatory; the U.S. was also late disseminating testing and sent inadequate numbers of personal protection equipment to medical providers.

The U.S. has had 11.3 million cases to date, more than any other nation on earth.  Over 120,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, which is more lives lost than from World War.


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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER COMMANDER ADDRESSES HEALTHCARE ACCESS DURING PANDEMIC

By Helen L. Horvath
 
June 23, 2020 (San Diego) -- In an interview with Captain Bradford Smith, Commander, Naval Medical Center San Diego*, East County Magazine explored the issues and challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic for eligible active duty, veterans and family members residing in San Diego County. One of the greater challenges in the community is determining how healthcare can successfully be accessed by the community.

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SAN DIEGO COUNTY REPORTS JUMP IN COVID-19 CASES TO NEW DAILY RECORD OF 310

By Christine Huard, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego News Association

Photo:  A man is tested for coronavirus at a drive-up site. Courtesy County News Center

June 22, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County public health officials reported a daily record of 310 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, but no additional deaths from the disease.


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COUNTY HITS COMMUNITY OUTBREAKS TRIGGER AS MASKS BECOME MANDATORY ACROSS CALIFORNIA

By José A. ÁlvarezCounty of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  Face coverings are required in public and within six feet of someone who is not a household member

June 18, 2020 (San Diego) - Two more COVID-19 community outbreaks were identified in the region June 17, bringing the region’s seven-day total to eight, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.


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NAIL SALONS, TATTOO PARLORS AND OTHER CLOSE-CONTACT BUSINESSES TO REOPEN

By Miriam Raftery

June 18, 2020 (San Diego) – The state has approved more businesses reopening in San Diego County as early as Friday, June 19th, including personal care businesses offering services such as manicures, facials, massages and tattoos.

 

Business owners must follow state guidelines and complete the County’s Safe Reopening Plan.


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CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER SHANE HARRIS RECOVERS FROM COVID-19, RETURNS TO NATIONAL STAGE TO FIGHT FOR RACIAL JUSTICE

East County News Service 

Photo, left:  Rev. Shane Harris during George Floyd march on bridge in Minnesota in late May

 

June 18, 2020 (San Diego) – Rev. Shane Harris, president of the People’s Alliance for Justice, spent two weeks in quarantine battling COVID-19.  Today, the nationally known civil rights leader based in San Diego announced he has tested negative and is returning to the public to lead multiple reforms ad proposals on inequalities in policing, racial justice and COVID-19.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: LA MESA LIONS CLUB DELIVERS MEALS TO CAREGIVERS

East County News Service 

June 19, 2020 (La Mesa) – Members of the La Mesa Lions Club delivered meals to caregivers at Sharp Grossmont Hospital last month in appreciation for their efforts.  Left to right, photo shows two nurses from an ICU unit on a COVID-19 floor, Lions Club Vice Presidents Joyce James and Mary Rynearson, Beth Morgante, CEO of Grossont Hospital Foundation and La Mesa Lions member David Shaw, Elbert Kim, La Mesa Lions Club President, and Cupid’s Caterers representatives.


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HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS


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NEW SANDAG REPORT FINDS BLACKS AND HISPANIC COMMUNITIES HARDEST HIT BY HEALTH AND ECONOMIC CRISIS

Source: SANDAG

June 17, 2020 (San Diego) -- As the San Diego region’s labor market continues to experience an historic decline, Black and Hispanic communities are most impacted, according to a new SANDAG Data Science and Analytics report, “COVID-19 Impact on the San Diego Regional Economy: Black and Hispanic Communities Hardest Hit.”


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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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