ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

OVER 100 ARRESTED AFTER CAPTIOL INSURRECTION; HUNDREDS MORE UNDER INVESTIGATION

ELDERLY CAN NOW GET VACCINATIONS AT PETCO PARK, WITH RESERVATION

FEARING POSSIBLE ‘INSIDER ATTACK,’ FEDS VETTING 25,000 NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS AHEAD OF BIDEN INAUGURATION

BIDEN-HARRIS INAUGURATION EVENTS JANUARY 20: HOW TO WATCH

HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

SAN DIEGO FBI ASKS PUBLIC HELP TO PREVENT VIOLENCE RELATED TO THE CAPITOL INSURRECTION AND INAUGURATION

SUPERVISORS APPROVE HOUSING FOR MENTALLY ILL HOMELESS AND THOSE AT RISK

SANTEE COUNCIL SETS FANITA RANCH ELECTION FOR NOV. 2022, ALSO APPROVES DIVERSITY PROGRAM

NEW RANCHO HELIX DE ORO FIRE SAFE COUNCIL OFFERS FIRE-SAFE TIPS

SANTEE COLLABORATIVE LAUNCHES NEW CAMPAIGN PROMOTING DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION

10 HOUSE REPUBLICANS JOIN DEMOCRATS, VOTE TO IMPEACH TRUMP FOR INCITING INSURRECTION

News

HELP A SMALL BUSINESS SURVIVE SHUTDOWNS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON: NAIL SALONS, HAIRDRESSERS AND PERSONAL CARE PROVIDERS NEED YOUR TLC

By Miriam Raftery

December 17, 2000 (Santee) -- The shutdowns from the Coronavirus pandemic have hurt many especially small businesses. Our nail salons, hairdressers, restaurants, and personal care businesses have been paralyzed, especially now during their busiest time of the year.  Many who have the means to help don’t know what to do.  Take-out orders are being placed to help local restaurants, but what about the personal care business owners and employees?

Here are some ideas to help these vital businesses survive.


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DRIVER ARRESTED FOR MANSLAUGHTER, DUI AFTER KILLING CONSTRUCTION WORKER ON HIGHWAY 94

East County News Service
 
Photo: Creative Commons via Bing
 
December 17, 2020 (Spring Valley) – Arnold Lee Patton, 69, of San Diego has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter.  

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COUNTY PAUSES ENFORCEMENT OF RESTAURANT CLOSURES AND LIVE ENTERTAINMENT VENUES PENDING APPEAL OF JUDICIAL RULING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Image: CC-by-SA-NC

December 17, 2020 (San Diego) – The County has temporarily halted enforcement of COVID-19 closure orders on restaurants and strip-clubs following a judicial order, which Supervisors have voted 3-2 to appeal.  

In a ruling yesterday, Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil ordered the state and county to cease enforcement of California’s regional stay-home order against strip clubs, until trial. Wohlfeil’s decision states that the state and county failed to provide evidence tying spread of COVID-19 or lack of intensive care beds to live adult entertainment. 

The case arose out of a challenge against closure orders filed by two strip clubs, Cheetah’s Gentlemen’s Club and Pacers Showgirls International. The order includes strip clubs but the broad wording covers “San Diego County businesses with restaurant service” though it’s unclear if his ruling is meant to apply to all food service establishments, or only strip clubs serving food.


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HOMEOWNERS, SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS MAY QUALIFY FOR PROPERTY TAX PENALTY RELIEF

East County News Service

December 17, 2020 (San Diego) -- San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister announced his office is accepting penalty cancellation requests for homeowners and small business owners who were impacted by COVID-19 and missed the Dec. 10 property tax deadline.

“COVID-19 has affected many in San Diego – especially our small businesses, so we want to do what we can to help those who did not have the funds to pay their taxes on time,” said McAllister. “We want to be as lenient as we can and show compassion for those who need it.” 

Property taxes that were unpaid after Dec. 10 have incurred a 10% penalty. To qualify for penalty cancellation, the property must either be:


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PEDESTRIAN STRUCK AND KILLED IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service

December 16, 2020 (Lakeside) – Eduardo Hernandez, 68, of Lakeside, was struck by a vehicle on December 4 while crossing Woodside Ave., just west of Prospect Ave. in Lakeside.

Paramedics transported him to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where despite aggressive resuscitation efforts, he was pronounced dead of his injuries. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.


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CAMPO MAN DIES AFTER CRASH NEAR LAKE MORENA

East County News Service
 
Image cc via Bing
 
December 16, 2020 (Campo) – Barney Stence, 60, of Campo, died December 14 in Sharp hospital of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident on December 9.
 
Stence was involved in a single-vehicle rollover crash at 1880 Lake Morena Drive in Campo, after losing control of his vehicle for unknown reasons. He was transported to the hospital with serious injuries, but his condition continued to decline until his death was pronounced on Monday, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner.
 

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EVACUATION WARNNG ISSUED IN SANTEE DUE TO CHAPARRAL FIRE

East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts

Photo, left, by Felicia Vlahos

Update 8 p.m.:  The fire scorched 36 acres. All evacuation orders have been lifted.  An investigation continues into the cause of this fire.

December 16, 2020 (Santee) -- The San Diego County Sheriff's Department has issued an emergency evacuation warning to residents in the 10,000 block of Chaparral Dr. in Santee due to the Chaparral Fire. An evacuation warning means that evacuations are currently voluntary, however, everyone should be prepared to evacuate if an evacuation order is issued. Residents who choose to evacuate can go to Santana High School, located at 9915 N Magnolia Ave, Santee, CA 92071.

The Sheriff advises, "If you feel unsafe, evacuate early."If you need emergency assistance with evacuation, call 9-1-1.


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SENATOR JONES JOINS BI-PARTISAN GROUP DEFENDING RESTAURANT EMPLOYEES

11 Senators urge that Governor “immediately reclassify the restaurant industry as critical infrastructure before even more damage is done to our communities.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Giardino Neighborhood Cucina in Lemon Grove, like many other restaurants, invested heavily in setting up outdoor dining, only to be closed down for all but takeout or delivery by the latest public health orders.

December 16, 2020 (Santee) – Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) and ten other Senators sent a strongly worded letter to Governor Gavin Newsom on behalf of out of work restaurant employees and owners suffering during the state-ordered shutdown of indoor and outdoor dining throughout much of California.

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WARNER SPRINGS MAN DIES AFTER HITTING TREE ON HIGHWAY 79

East County News Service
 
December 16, 2020 (Warner Springs) – Ronald Louis Swaim, 87, of Warner Springs, veered off the roadway and struck a tree on State Route 79 in Santa Ysabel, just north of State Route 76, on December 2.
 
Witnesses called 9-1-1 and awaited the arrival of law enforcement and fire  personnel, the County Medical Examiner reports. Paramedics arrived and pronounced the victim dead at the scene of multiple blunt force injuries. 

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DUNCAN HUNTER ANGLING FOR PARDON? EXPERTS FORESEE TRUMP CLEMENCY

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Rep. Duncan D. Hunter walks from court hearing in December 2019. Photo by Ken Stone

December 16, 2020 (San Diego) - In 20 days, former Rep. Duncan D. Hunter is set to report to prison. But legal and political experts think it’s unlikely he’ll see the inside of Federal Correctional Institutional, La Tuna, near El Paso, Texas.


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5,000 BODY BAGS SENT TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COUNTIES INCLUDING SAN DIEGO AS REGIONAL ICU CAPACITY DROPS TO JUST 1.7%

UPDATE DEC. 18, 2020:  The ICU capacity for Southern California has dropped to zero, meaning ICU beds are 100% full as some local hospitals are diverting ambulances, delaying treatment for critically ill patients.

 

Grim news offsets relief over arrival of first 28,000 vaccine doses locally

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Governor’s office:  These medical workers are among the first in California to be vaccinated with the newly arrived COVID-19 vaccine. 

December 15, 2020 (San Diego) – With the COVID-19 death toll spiking and hospital ICU capacity dropping to just 1.7% in Southern California, the state has ordered 60 refrigerated storage units to use as makeshift morgues. In addition, 5,000 body bags have been distributed to San Diego, Los Angeles and Inyo Counties, Governor Gavin Newsom announced today.


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NEWLY RE-ELECTED LEMON GROVE MAYOR RACQUEL VASQUEZ DELIVERS COVID19-DELAYED STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo of Mayor Racquel Vasquez courtesy of the City of Lemon Grove)

Dec. 15, 2020 (Lemon Grove) --“This year we lived our daily lives a little differently,” Lemon Grove Mayor Racquel Vasquez said during her 2020 State of the City address, which was originally slated for August but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was recorded November 30th and posted on YouTube since bans on gatherings prohibit a live address.

“Every day I witness the kindness of our community members in wearing face mask coverings and performing well-being checks for our family, friends, and neighbors," Vasquez  said of the community’s response to the pandemic.


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SANTEE RECOUNT ENDS, HURST CONCEDES TO TROTTER

By Miriam Raftery; Michael Allen also contributed to this story

Photos by Erik Herrara

December 15, 2020 (Santee) – Yesterday’s recount in the Santee District 4 City Council race took place at the Registrar of Voters.  Each candidate picked up one additional vote from ballots that were not previously opened or counted, but it didn’t change the outcome. Dustin Trotter officially has 3,920 votes – a mere five vote margin over Samm Hurst, with 3,915.

The San Diego County Democratic Party agreed to terminate the recount after only minimal changes in the vote count once untallied ballots were examined. 

According to Assistant Registrar of Voters Cynthia Paes, a little over 1,000 ballots were recounted, out of around 8,000 cast in district 4.  The full-day recount involved about 25 staffers. Both sides challenged ballots; out of nine that were uncounted and unopened, and after adjudication by Registrar Michael Vu, three were opened and counted.  Besides one vote found for each candidate, a third untallied ballot was opened and found to have neither candidate marked in the Santee Council race.


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SANTEE WOMAN ARRESTED FOR DRIVING UNDER INFLUENCE OF DRUGS AND ALCOHOL AFTER CRASH KILLS MOTORCYCLIST IN EL CAJON

Update: The victim has been identified by the County Medical Examiner as Ivan Joseph Kreft, 32, of El Cajon.
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Creative Commons image, CC by NC-ND 
 
December 14, 2020 (El Cajon) – Pamela Gilmore, 59, of Santee has been arrested and charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence (DUI) following a fatal collision this morning in El Cajon.
 
According to Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol, Gilmore was driving her 2011 Kia Sportage northbound on Plumeria Drive to westbound Pepper drive this morning at 7:05 a.m. when a 32-year-old El Cajon man riding his 2005 Suzuki GSXR 100 motorcycle eastbound on Pepper Drive approached Plumeria. 
 

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JULIAN FAMILY LOSES HOME TO FIRE: UNINSURED LOSSES INCLUDE TOYS, CHILDREN’S LAPTOPS NEEDED FOR SCHOOL

By Miriam Raftery

 

December 14, 2020 (Julian) – A GoFundMe page has been set up by Julian community members to help the Lares family members, who lost everything in a fire at their home yesterday. 

 

“Perla Lares, a Senior at Julian High School served as Teen Miss Julian Princess in 2018 and 2019, dedicating many hours to community service for Julian and San Diego County.  Her brother, Gabe, is a Freshman at Julian High School,” says Jill Fleming, who started the fundraising page.


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EL CAJON POLICE OFFICER DRAGGED, STRUCK BY VEHICLE AND SERIOUSLY INJURED: SUSPECTS REMAIN AT LARGE

Update Jan. 11: El Cajon police announced the arrest of suspect David Francis Cepeda Pangilinan by the Los Angeles Rampart Narcotics Detail.
 
Update Dec. 18:  The officer has been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
 
Update Dec. 14, 2020 10 p.m.:  The investigation by El Cajon Police has identified a suspect who is being sought for questioning:  David Francis Cepeda Pangilinan, from Guam is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. 

 
By Miriam Raftery
 
December 14, 2020 (El Cajon) – An El Cajon Police officer is hospitalized in a trauma center in critical but stable condition due to serious injuries sustained at 8:30 a.m. during a traffic stop of a rented black Volkswagen SUV, CA license plate 8LC117.

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SUPERVISORS DELAY DECISION ON RENEWABLE ENERGY OVERLAY OPTIONS UNTIL JAN. 27

East County News Service

 

December 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego County Supervisors have voted to delay until January 27, 2021 a decision on Renewable Energy Overlay Options originally slated for Dec. 9, 2020.  The options aim to streamline approval of industrial-scale wind and solar projects across much of East County’s rural, mountain and desert areas.


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NO ROOM IN THE ICU FOR CENTRAL CALIFORNIANS; SOUTHERN CA ICU AVAILABILITY DROPS TO 5.3%

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: ICU medical worker, via Bing

December 13, 2020 (California) – The San Joaquin Valley region in Central California, comprised of Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Tuolumne counties, had zero available ICU beds, as of Saturday, 16 days after Thanksgiving. Only one day prior, according to the California Department of Public Health, that figure had been 4.5%.

The Southern California region's ICU availability is at 5.3%, according to ECM News Partner 10News.

At this rate, San Diego and Los Angeles may have no ICU availability as early as Tuesday.


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KING TIDES, RIP CURRENTS AND WINDY WEATHER FORECAST FOR REGION

East County News Service
 
December 11, 2020 (San Diego) – Santa Ana winds could return this weekend and early next week, bringing elevated fire conditions but likely only moderate wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour in mountain areas, the National Weather Service forecasts.
 
But along the coastal areas, flooding is possible in low-lying areas during high tides, with dangerous swimming conditions and high risk of rip currents. Dramatic king tides with waves up to nearly seven feet are forecast Sunday through Tuesday.

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REGION’S ICU CAPACITY DROPS TO 7.7%; SOME LOCAL HOSPITALS ARE NEARLY FULL

By Miriam Raftery

December 11, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego County reported 2,040 cases on Dec. 9, as the availability of ICU beds (ICU capacity) in the Southern California region dropped to just 7.7%.  While San Diego still has just over 20% of ICU beds available, Orange and Imperial Counties are at or near capacity, meaning patients may be turned away or diverted to hospitals in adjacent counties, further stressing San Diego’s medical care system.

Nationwide, at least 200 hospitals are at full capacity and a third are nearly out of ICU beds, with over 90% of ICU beds occupied, CNN reported Dec. 10, based on data from the  US Department of Health and Human Services.

A database now available to the public now shows capacity of all hospitals in San Diego County. Although it does not list ICU beds, it does reveal that some hospitals are filling up. Sharp Hospital in Chula Vista has 93% of its adult inpatient beds in use (just 7% available); Palomar Medical Center has 91% in use, Sharp Grossmont Hospital and UCSD Medical Center each have 85% of all beds for adult inpatients occupied.


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COUNTY HAS ABOUT $4 MILLION FOR NON-PROFITS SERVING PEOPLE IMPACTED BY COVID-19

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

Photo credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Do you run a non-profit organization which serves low and moderate-income people who’ve been impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic?

If so, you may qualify for a share of about $4 million from the County Housing and Community Development Services’ Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

The funds are available for projects in the following areas:


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COUNTY REPORTS 2,104 NEW VIRUS CASES AND 15 DEATHS AS PANDEMIC SURGES

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

December 10, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County public health officials reported the second highest daily increase in coronavirus cases on Wednesday and pleaded with residents to follow the stay-at-home order to avoid overwhelming the health system.

There were 2,104 new cases and 15 deaths, with 8.4% of the latest tests coming back positive.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher told a media briefing that projections showed all county ICU beds would have been occupied before Christmas without the regional lockdown, which is now in its third day.

“When you have as many cases as we have, and it is spreading as fast as it is, there are very few settings that are safe,” warned Fletcher.


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LMPD FIRED MATT DAGES, OFFICER IN AMAURIE JOHNSON INCIDENT, ON AUG. 7, CITY REVEALS AFTER APPEALS BOARD UPHOLDS ACTION

By Miriam Raftery

December 10, 2020 (La Mesa) – The city of La Mesa today revealed that before retiring, Police Chief Walt Vasquez terminated the employment of Officer Matt Dages. Dages was fired due to his actions during the controversial stop of Amaurie Johnson at a trolley station on May 27. Three days later, on May 30, a protest against La Mesa Police erupted into a night of looting, rioting and the burning down of three buildings.

Dages had accused Johnson, 23, of assault but the charge was dropped after body camera footage failed to substantiate Officer  Dages' version of the incident.  A video that went viral on social media prompted accusations of racial profiling by Dages.


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WARNER SPRINGS SCHOOL BOARD RACE ENDS IN TIE, CAPPING OFF A WILD WEEK

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo via CC by NC-ND:  a coin toss or other game of chance will determine the outcome in this race
 
Update December 16, 2020:  Gene Doxey won the coin toss -- and the seat on the Warner Sprngs Unified School District board.
 
December 9, 2020 (Warner Springs) – It’s been a wild week in Warner Springs.  First, an earthquake centered near the tiny mountain town jolted residents awake on Sunday morning. Then high winds prompted SDG&E to shut off power in the area for multiple days, forcing closure of schools in the Warner Springs Unified School District.
 
Now, an election for one of three seats on the school board has ended in a draw. Gene Doxey and Terry Cox each got 352 votes, tying for third place. There’s an important lesson to be learned for parents and students:  every vote counts!

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COUNTY LIBRARIES MOVE TO DOOR-SIDE SERVICE

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo: Alpine Branch Library, courtesy Jonathan Goetz

December 9, 2020 (San Diego County) - With the state’s new COVID-19 Stay Home order in effect, the County of San Diego’s 33 libraries have moved to door-side service to help county residents practice social distancing and still enjoy all the library books, digital magazines, music, movies and other fare they love.

People can still check out all library materials and safely pick them up right at their library’s door. No appointments are necessary.


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LAWMAKERS WEIGH MORATORIUM EXTENSION AS EVICTION CLIFF LOOMS

By Matt Levin, CalMatters

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

Photo:  CC-By-ND via Bing

December 8, 2020 (Sacramento) - With California’s eviction moratorium set to expire in less than 60 days and 2 million people at risk of losing their rental homes, a group of tenant-friendly lawmakers want to forestall evictions for another year. 


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SANTEE COUNCIL DISTRICT 4 GOES TO RECOUNT, ALSO SEEKS EXAMINATION OF UNCOUNTED BALLOTS

By Mike Allen

Photos: Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter

December 8, 2020 (Santee) -- With only five votes separating winner Dustin Trotter and Samm Hurst in Santee’s City Council District 4 race, a recount of the nearly 8,000 votes cast has been requested.

The San Diego Democratic Party has requested the recount in a letter sent to Registrar of Voters Michael Vu yesterday, one day before the deadline. Hurst, a UCSD professor, is a registered Democrat.

Will Rodriguez Kennedy, party chair, signed the letter which states that given the closeness of the vote, “I believe a thorough recount could affect the outcome.”

He said the process should involve not only the nearly 8,000 ballots cast, but the ballots that were not counted, including unopened and rejected mail-in ballots, as well as provisional ballots.


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FUND STARTED TO HELP RANCHO SAN DIEGO COUPLE THAT LOST HOME IN WILLOW FIRE

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Henri Migala

December 8, 2020 (Rancho San Diego) – GoFundMe has notified East County Magazine that a fundraising page has been set up to assist Doug and Michele Howarth, retired local educators whose home was destroyed in the Willow Fire on December 2.

The GoFundMe page for the Howarths states, “The Howarth’s lost everything in the Willow fires last night as they watched their home go up in flames. Doug barely got out in his PJs as his wife, Michele, watched on TV in Carlsbad while she was visiting her daughter Gwendolyn P.”  The fundraising page was set up by Josie Kasyouhannon on behalf of Gwendolyn Pavlick.

”Please help this kind and generous couple who have resided in our community for decades. Michele Howarth was a first grade teacher at Vista Grande Elementary School and is now retired. Doug Howarth worked as a guidance counselor at Cuyamaca Community College,” the site states.”Please help donate to help rebuild their lives. Every donation helps.” To date, around $12,000 has been donated.


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POWER OUT FOR OVER 15,000 SDG&E CUSTOMERS AMID HIGH WINDS, RED FLAG WARNING: RESOURCE CENTERS NOW OPEN

Fire burning in Mexico near Tecate is visible across East County

By Miriam Raftery

December 8, 2020 (San Diego’s East County)—With wind speeds up to 65 miles per  hour reported last night, SDG&E has shut off power to 15,441 customers in rural, high desert and mountain areas as of 9 a.m. today, with shut-offs possible for another 45,042 customers. Expected restoration time is 6 p.m. tomorrow night in most areas without power, according to SDG&E’s outage map.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning extended through Wednesday night, due to high fire danger from gusty Santa Ana winds and low humidity. A high wind warning is also in effect locally.

The Alpine Union, Valley Center-Pauma Unified and Warner Unfied school districts have cancelled classes today due power shutoffs and high winds.

A brush fire burning in Mexico near Tecate cast a red glow overnight visible across much of East County. Cal Fire reports the fire is well within Mexico and is not considered a threat to the U.S. at this time. (Photo, right, viewed from Campo, by Don Lumb)

SDG&E has set up community resource centers from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. today in Descanso (9545 River Drive), Julian (17606 Harrison Park Rd), Potrero (24550 Highway 94), Ramona (1275 Main St.), Valley Center (29200 Cole Grade Rd.), and Warner Springs (30950 Highway 79.)


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COVID CASES CONTINUE TO CLIMB, ICU BED AVAILIBILITY DROPS

By Miriam Raftery

December 8, 2020 (San Diego) – Nearly 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 (1,998) were reported yesterday in San Diego County, two days after an all-time record of 2,287 cases were found.  A month ago, cases hovered around 500 cases a day.  Equally concerning, the region’s ICU bed capacity has dropped to just 10.9% across all Southern California counties.

In San Diego County, intensive care unit (ICU ) bed capacity in hospitals is 24%, above the state’s 15% threshold for regions to shut down. That’s prompted objections from many San Diego County business owners and politicians over state health officials lumping our county in with others that have lower ICU availability and may be doing less to contain the virus, such as not enforcing masking and social distancing mandates.

But ICU beds aren’t the only measurement.  It takes specially trained nurses to staff an ICU unit, where critically ill patients may be placed on ventilators  and must be closely monitored.  Across the U.S., there is a shortage of medical personnel including ICU nurses, a shortfall compounded by medical personnel taking time off to quarantine or in some cases, ill after contracting COVID-19 themselves. That's resulting in some patients in critical condition from other illnesses or accidents being transferred hundreds of miles for care and has led to triaging of patients in some areas to determine who may receive ICU beds or ventilators, putting some vulnerable patients at higher risk.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

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