San Diego

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE RECEIVES $100,000 GRANT FROM FACEBOOK JOURNALISM PROJECT

 

COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund aids over 200 newsrooms nationwide

By Miriam Raftery

East County Magazine has been selected to receive $100,000 through the Facebook Journalism Project COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program.  Facebook announced that more than 200 news organizations will receive nearly $16 million in grants through the program as part of Facebook’s $100 million global investment in news.

Read more about our grant project here.  View an index of our grant works to date, organized by topic. 


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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.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS


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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.

SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR WAKEFIELD PLACEMENT DENIED BY JUDGE HARUTUNIAN

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Merle Wakefield, via San Diego Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force

May 10, 2021 (Mt. Helix) -- A San Diego Superior Court judge ruled today that a home in unincorporated El Cajon near Mt. Helix house is not an appropriate location to place a sexually violent predator (SVP).

Superior Court Judge Albert T. Harutunian III said that the house at 10957 Horizon Hills Drive is not appropriate to place sexually violent predator Merle Wade Wakefield. The judge indicated he will deny the placement because the neighborhood is too dense, and the house is too close to other homes with children, according to a press release issued by the Grossmont-Mount Helix Improvement Association (GMIA).

“It is not a safe placement for the community,” Harutunian said.


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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.

SUPERVISORS APPROVE ANDERSON MEASURE TO IMPROVE NOTIFICATIONS TO COMMUNITIES REGARDING SEX OFFENDERS

By Miriam Raftery

May 9, 2021 (San Diego) – San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a measure to increase public notification regarding locations of registered sex offenders and proposed placements of sexually violent predators in communities. Supervisor Joel Anderson introduced the measure, which was amended at the request of Supervisor Jim Desmond to also include Native American communities.

Anderson says that existing notifications “do not provide adequate notice to communities where sex offenders will be located.” In a written statement to the board, Anderson indicated that after sending questions to the District Attorney and Sheriff regarding the placement process and notification procedures, “there are inconsistencies and omissions in the answers we received.”


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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.

COUNTY LIFTS MASK REQUIREMENT IN MOST OUTDOOR SETTINGS FOR FULLY VACCINATED PEOPLE

Source: County New Service

Photo: cc via Bing

April 30, 2021 (San Diego) -- Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks outdoors in public unless they’re in crowded places. This is one of many activities the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers safer for people who are fully immunized.

Masks are still necessary in crowded outdoor events, such as concerts or sporting events, as well as for indoor activities, whether you’re vaccinated or not.


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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.

THOUSANDS OPPOSE PREDATOR PLACEMENTS ON HORIZON HILLS: MONDAY DEADLINE TO OPPOSE SECOND PROPOSED RELEASE

By Miriam Raftery

April 23, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Thousands of residents signed petitions, sent letters and/or testified against placement of sexually violent predator Douglas Badger at 10957 Horizon Hills in unincorporated El Cajon. Public officials also spoke out to oppose the plan. While the community awaits the judge’s decision on the proposed release of Badger, which would be supervised by Liberty Healthcare, placement of a second SVP, Merle Wakefield, at the same address has triggered new outrage and a planned rally tomorrow to oppose the action.

The community plans a “Sexual Violent Predator Placement Protest” on Saturday, April 24 at 3 p.m. in the cul-de-sac at Horizon Hills Drive and Estates Way.  Comments on placement of Wakefield are due by April 26 and can be sent to sdsafe@sdsheriff.org or by calling (858)495-3619.  Residents may also contact Governor Gavin Newsom to ask that he issue an order requiring Wakefield and Badger be housed in a trailer at a state correctional facility instead of at the Horizon Hills site near Mt. Helix.


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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.

GROSSMONT HEALTHCARE HEROES REFLECT ON PANDEMIC

 

Photos, left to right:  Dr. Raed-Al Naser, respiratory therapist Vill Miranda, ICU registered nurse Melissa Stark, and Dr. Al-Janabi

By Miriam Raftery

April 9, 2021 (La Mesa) –Healthcare heroes from Sharp Grossmont Hospital shared their memories and lessons learned during the past year of the global COVID-19 pandemic which began in March 2020 and has killed over a half million Americans. In an exclusive interview with East County Magazine, pulmonary critical care physicians Dr. Raed Al-Naser and Dr. Al-Janabi, as well as respiratory therapist Vill Miranda and registered ICU nurse Melissa Stark shared their knowledge and experiences.

These front-line medical professionals risked their lives to save others, fearing for the safety of their own families as they worked tirelessly to heal and comfort those in their care.

Audio: 


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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.

SPECIAL EDITION: BREAKING NEWS APRIL 1, 2021

East County Magazine has the exclusive scoop on some surprising major stories breaking today.

Is truth stranger than fiction? You decide. Click any title  to view a description of each, then click "read more" to view the full story. Or click here to view our complete April 1, 2021 edition.

Trust us, you won't want to miss this news!


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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.

COVID VACCINES AVAILABLE TO AGE 50 AND UP STARTING APRIL 1, ALL CALIFORNIANS AGE 16 AND UP STARTING APRIL 15

By Miriam Raftery

March 28, 2021 (San Diego) – With vaccine supplies increasing, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that starting April 1, all Californians age 50 and up will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. In addition, starting April 15, the vaccine will be available to all Californians age 16 and up.

The state expects to receive 2.5 million doses a week in early April and over 3 million doses a week by the second half of the month, as a result of actions taken by the Biden administration to dramatically boost supplies including forging a deal to have rival pharmaceutical companies team up to increase production and providing funds to state and local governments to expand vaccinations.


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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.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: THREE SISTERS FALLS

 

March 21, 2021 (San Diego's East County) -- What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than to hike to one of the most beautiful places in East County, Three Sisters Falls in Cleveland National Forest? 

Scott Lagace made the trip this week with friends. The trail is a steep two-mile hike down and two miles back -- all uphill.

Despite these challenges, Lagace says,"It was a beautiful hike there and back. The falls was flowing beautifully. It was amazing at a distance and close up. I would definitely do this hike again. Just got to remember to take the road from the Julian side, not Descanso!"


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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.

EAST COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES SPLIT VOTES ON COVID RELIEF BILL SIGNED INTO LAW BY PRESIDENT BIDEN

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left, via C-Span: President Joe Biden signs the  American Recovery Act

March 17,2021 (San Diego) – The  American Recovery Act signed into law last week by President Joe Biden will provide $1.9 trillion to aid those impacted by COVID-19 and provide an economic boost. 

The measure includes a new round of stimulus checks of up to $1,400 for most Americans, up to $2,800 for couples and additional help for families with children, extension of unemployment benefits just days before benefits would run out, and aid to some business sectors hard-hit by the pandemic. The new law also funds vaccinations, reopening schools, and aid to local, state and tribal governments for COVID-19 related costs.

East County’s Congressional representatives split their votes down party lines, with Democrats Sara Jacobs and Juan Vargas voting in favor, while Republican Darrell Issa voted against the landmark COVID-19 relief bill.

The members each provided statements to justify their votes.

Below are highlights of their remarks, followed by a summary of what the bill includes.


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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.

COUNTY EXPANDS LIST OF HEALTH CONDITIONS ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINE, ALSO ADDS HOMELESS AND THOSE IN JAIL OR DETENTION CENTERS

By Miriam Raftery

March 13, 2021 (San Diego) – Starting Monday, March 15, people ages 16 and up in Tier 1C will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, if they live or work in San Diego County and have certain serious health conditions. The County has sharply expanded the number of health conditions, disabilities, and illnesses on the list that put people at higher risk for COVID-19 serious illness.

In addition, the County has added homeless people and those in congregate living situations such as jails, mental health facilities, or detention centers to the list.

Below is the full list of everyone who is eligible for vaccinations, starting Monday:

Phase 1C – Effective March 15

Eligible High-Risk Medical Conditions and DisabilitiesEffective March 15

  • Cancer, current with weakened immune system­­
  • Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above
  • Chronic pulmonary disease, oxygen dependent
  • Down syndrome
  • Solid organ transplant, leading to a weakened immune system
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (but not hypertension)
  • Severe obesity (Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2, but < 30 kg/m2)
  • Obese (BMI > 30 kg/m2, but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

In addition, people over age 16 can get the vaccine if, as a result of a developmental or other significant, high-risk disability, one or more of the following criteria applies**:

  • A COVID-19 infection is likely to result in severe life-threatening illness or death; OR
  • Acquiring COVID-19 will limit the individual’s ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to their well-being and survival; OR
  • Providing adequate and timely COVID care will be particularly challenging as a result of the individual’s disability.

Additional Eligible Groups - Effective March 15

  • Congregate residential settings, such as an incarceratio­n/detention facilities, homeless shelters, or behavioral health facilities
    • Includes people experiencing homelessness, who may transition into congregate settings at short notice­­­

The County is also continuing to vaccinate people n phases 1A and 1B:


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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.

COVID CASES DROP, JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINES ARRIVE IN SAN DIEGO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: San Diego County

March 9, 2021 (San Diego) – The COVID-19 scenario is improving in San Diego County. On March 7, the county reported 307 new cases, no deaths, and a positive testing rate of just 3 percent – all significantly lower than in recent weeks.

That drop is no doubt due in part to the fact that 12.7% of San Diegans age 16 and up are now fully immunized, and nearly 24% of those eligible have received at least one shot. 

Now, arrival of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine in our region will make it easier to get more people vaccinated. The J&J vaccine requires just one shot and can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, unlike Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two shots and very cold storage.


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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.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS


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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.

COVID VACCINES APPROVED FOR COURT WORKERS, PROSECUTORS, PUBLIC DEFENDERS AND SOME DEFENSE LAWYERS

East County News Service

Photo: Scales of justice, cc via Bing

March 6, 2021 (San Diego) –The County of San Diego has approved COVID-19 vaccines for judges, prosecutors, public defender attorneys, and court employees. Also covered are criminal defense lawyers representing poor defendants in federal court.

These individuals regularly come in contact with people who have been in prison or county jail, congregate facilities with a high risk of COVID-19.  The County has included them under the “emergency services” category along with police, firefighters, animal control workers and security guards at public facilities.


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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.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS


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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.

SUPERVISORS’ VOTE ON MAJOR BACKCOUNTRY ENERGY MEASURE DELAYED UNTIL FEB. 10

By Miriam Raftery

Photos, left:  Campo Wind's turbines hae been fire-prone, causing multiple fires in the past. Residents worry that more turbines raise the risk of a catastrophic fire, if a blaze should begin during Santa Ana gusty winds.

February 5, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – A vote by County Supervisors on a Renewable Energy Overlay plan has been postponed until Wednesday, Feb. 10. If approved, the measure would designate vast swaths of rural East County for industrial-scale wind and solar energy projects.

The aim is to make it easier to get approval of projects that provide clean energy to meet state renewable energy mandates amid a climate crisis.  But the measure has also drawn strong opposition from some rural residents, including Donna Tisdale, who advise East County residents to contact Supervisors to voice opposition so that “Supervisors know how East County really feels about being thrown under the bus as a renewable energy sacrifice zone.”

Click on this link to register your  opinion with Supervisors on the Renewable Energy Overlay before the Feb. 10 hearing, which begins at 9 a.m.  The item is the second item on the agenda.

Tisdale is Chair of the Boulevard Planning Group and founder of Backcountry Against Dumps, a nonprofit that has sued the County over several major energy projects in the region. Residents living near existing wind turbines have complained of noise, sleep disruption and other health problems, flashing lights, visual blight from towers hundreds of feet tall, killing of birds, safety concerns from blades whirling off,loss of rural character and loss of property value for homes nearby. Solar projects have generated concerns over glare, loss of wildlife habitat and potential depletion of scarce groundwater for construction and cleaning of panels.


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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.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

January 30, 2021 (San Diego) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego's inland regions, published in other media.  This week's round-up stories include

LOCAL

STATE

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


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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.

SUPERVISORS MOVE TOWARD LEGAL CANNABIS FARMNG AND SALES; ANDERSON ADDS FUNDS TO SHUTDOWN ILLEGAL OPERATORS IMMEDIATELY

By Miriam Raftery

View video of hearing:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-LEUgTBhFw

January 28, 2021(San Diego) – San Diego County Supervisors yesterday voted 4-1 to have staff bring back a plan within 90 days for reform the County’s policies on marijuana (cannabis), after obtaining input from community planners and other stakeholders.

The plan would create a framework to legalize and regulate sales, manufacturing and farming of cannabis whlie creating jobs in unincorporated areas, also beefing up code compliance to shut down illegal operations. Supervisors are expected to vote on the new regulations by July 1.The proposal was brought forward by Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Nora Vargas.

Newly elected Supervisor Joel Anderson, aware that the measure had a clear majority for passage, successfully added an amendment to provide $500,000 for aggressive enforcement to shut down illegal pot shops, labs or other unlicensed marijuana facilities – starting immediately, even before any new regulations are adopted.


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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.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

January 18, 2021 (San Diego) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego's inland regions, published in other media.  This week's round-up stories include: 

LOCAL

STATE

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


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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.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: WINTER BLACKBERRIES

January 15, 2021 (Mt. Helix) -- Global warming and climate change are affecting growing seasons.  ECM editor Miriam Raftery was surprised to find ripe blackberries in mid-January in her backyard on Mt. Helix in unincorporated La Mesa. Blackberries normally ripe in midsummer and go dormant in winter, but this vine never lost its leaves.

Several readers have shared that they were startled by mid-winter harvests of peppers and tomatoes this month.


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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.

ELECTIVE SURGERIES ORDERED CANCELLED FOR REGION; SAN DIEGO REPORTS RECORD NUMBERS OF COVID CASES AND DEATHS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons by ND

January 9, 2021 (San Diego) – Faced with the grim reality of hospitals turning away ambulances and critically ill patients due to staggering numbers of COVID-19 cases, the state of California has ordered all elective and non-life saving surgeries cancelled for at least three weeks in 14 counties including San Diego. 

The state’s order does not impact surgeries for life-threatening conditions such as cancerous tumors or heart bypass procedures, but does require cancellations ranging from cosmetic surgeries to pain relief procedures.

Locally, 16% of people tested were positive for COVID-19, or about one in every eight people, according to the most recent San Diego county data. In Los Angeles, a staggering 20% - one in every five people – are testing positive.


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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.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS


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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.

SAN DIEGO MAN HAS NEW FAST-SPREADING STRAIN OF COVID-19; GOVERNOR EXTENDS STAY-HOME ORDER FOR THREE MORE WEEKS

Flu cases also rise; 171 reported in past week, with several patients contracting both COVID-19 and flu.

Local hospitals are cancelling organ transplants and cancer surgeries due to COVID-patients filling up hospital ICU beds.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Dr. Kristian Anderson of Scripps Research speaks on the newly discovered UK strain

December 30, 2020 (San Diego) – A new, fast-spreading strain of COVID-19 first identified in the United Kingdom has been confirmed in San Diego County.  A 30-year-old local man who has not traveled outside our county has tested positive for the new strain known as B.1.1.7., the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

Also today, the Governor extended the stay-home order for another three weeks with Southern California’s intensive care unit (ICU) bed availability at zero. The order will remain in effect until ICU availability is at least 15%.

Dr. Kristian Andersen, of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research, where the new virus was identified in lab testing, stated, “We need to prepare” in anticipation of the new variant spreading rapidly here as it has in Britain, where the new virus prompted other European nations to bar travelers from the UK. 

San Diego-area hospitals are now postponing organ transplants and removal of cancerous tumors due to the strain on hospitals and ICU units.

"Going out to party on New Year’s Eve during a global pandemic is putting your life at risk and the lives of your friends and family,” said Supervisor Greg Cox in his final press conference, since he leaves office in early January due to term limits. He also urged everyone to get the flu vaccine to help ease the strain on hospitals.


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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.

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS 2020 IN EAST COUNTY

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through East County

Not a creature was stirring, in December 2020.

Cowboy boots were hung by chimneys with care

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

 

From Barona to Ramona, Jacumba to Jamul

East County folks in quarantine this Yule

Can’t party hearty with potluck dishes,

But they did send Santa these 2021 wishes.


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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.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS


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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.

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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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.

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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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.

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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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.

JOEL ANDERSON DECLARES VICTORY IN TIGHT SUPERVISOR RACE AFTER TALLY IS CERTIFIED

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

Photo by Chris Stone: Republican Joel Anderson returns to office after stints in the state Legislature.

December 7, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Joel Anderson declared victory over fellow Republican Steve Vaus on Thursday as the San Diego County Registrar of Voters certified results of their close county Board of Supervisors race.

“I am grateful to have earned the trust and support of the residents of East County to represent them on the county Board of Supervisors,” said District 2 winner Anderson. “I also want to recognize Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the longest-serving county supervisor, for 28 years of dedicated service to East County.”

Results stayed the same as recent days — with Anderson edging Poway Mayor Vaus by 282 votes of nearly 290,000 cast.


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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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