Escondido issues ‘COVID-19 Action Plan’ (Updated 4/23: 96 dead, hundreds laid off.)

Palomar Medical Center, Escondido, in undated photo/File

(Editor’s Note: We will be updating coronavirus information on a regular basis. This report is for Thursday April 23, 2020. It is not intended as a comprehensive source, but aims to highlight resources and news of interest to the community.)

San Diego County cases rise dramatically

The angel of death descended on San Diego County yet again as the local death count hit 96 person through Thursday, April 23.

The number of COVID-19 cases in San Diego County soared to 2,491 residents from 1,847 San Diego County residents testing positive just a week ago.

Officials said this weekend that the number of cases in San Diego had not yet “peaked” in the county, but commended residents for “flattening the curve” by strictly following social-distancing guidelines.

What’s more, for all those believing young adults were less likely to be affected, 842 patients testing positive were ages 20 to 39, while those ages 60 to 80 had 525 cases and those 80 and older having 154 positive tests, according to San Diego County public health officials.

Statistics revealed grim truths about the situation locally.. Hospitalizations reached 611 patients on Thursday up from 488 patients just a week ago and 206 in intensive care up from 173 a week ago. Case by gender were just about even with 1,214 females, 1,271 males and six of “unknown” gender.

The number of people actually infected with the disease is likely much higher because not everyone needs to be tested, including in the close contacts of positive patients that are often presumed to have the disease. Eric McDonald, Medical Director with the County Epidemiology Immunization Branch, estimated the actual number of people with COVID-19 is around 10 times the reported total.

In California, the number of coronavirus cases rose to 21,794, 1,169 more than what was reported Saturday. Forty-two new deaths were reported statewide, bringing the total virus-related deaths in the state to 651, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Positive Cases in San Diego County Since February 14, 2020

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Table updated April 22, 2020, with data through April 21, 2020.

COVID-19 Case Summary San Diego County Residents
Total Positives 2,491
Age Groups
0-9 years 19
10-19 years 47
20-29 years 378
30-39 years 464
40-49 years 427
50-59 years 473
60-69 years 334
70-79 years 191
80+ years 154
Age Unknown 4
Gender
Female 1,214
Male 1,271
Unknown 6
Hospitalizations 611
Intensive Care 206
Deaths 96

Escondido Updates: Mayor Paul “Mac” McNamara speaks

Escondido Park Closures:
Dixon Lake, Daley Ranch, and Lake Wohlford are completely closed to the public until further notice.

All park parking lots, play structures, tennis facilities, basketball and volleyball courts, ball fields, golf, disc golf, and other active recreation areas are closed until further notice. The public shall not congregate or participate in active sport activities.

The only permitted activities in the neighborhood parks that remain open are walking, hiking, jogging, and bicycling for members of the public within walking distance of the park. Picnicking, sunbathing, lounging, and other gatherings in the parks are not allowed.

COVID-19 Information:
The health and safety of our community remains our top priority, Escondido officials said. “We are actively taking measures to keep our community safe and to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are committed to following the Governor’s and the County Public Health Officer’s orders in a combined effort to keep our population healthy and safe while providing essential services to our residents.”

More information about the City’s response can be found at https://www.escondido.org/covid-19.aspx.

Residential and Commercial Eviction Moratorium:
The Escondido City Council has approved temporarily suspending evictions of residential and commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent arising out of the Local Emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. More information on the Temporary Eviction Moratorium can be found here.

Virtual City Council Meeting:
The Wednesday, April 8 City Council Meeting was conducted virtually, and that meeting can be viewed here.

Local Hotel Deals for First Responders and the Medical Community:
Upon receiving feedback from the medical community about the need for low-cost hotel rooms in the Escondido area for medical professionals, Economic Development contacted local hotels to negotiate special discounted rates for first responders and the medical community.  Both SpringHill Suites and the Holiday Inn-Express in Escondido partnered with the city for this effort.

Online Services:
With City facilities closed to the public there are many ways to do business online with the City by using our Online Services Portal.

You can get preparedness tips, the latest details and a host of resources (videos, fact sheets, etc.) on the County’s website at coronavirus-sd.com.

Nursing homes slammed by COVID-19

More than 1,740 nursing home residents and 1,290 employees in California have tested positive for COVID-19, with outbreaks clustered in several major cities and cases confirmed in nearly two-dozen counties, new state data shows.

For the first time, the California Department of Public Health on Friday night published the names of each skilled nursing home with a resident or employee who has tested positive for the disease. Across the country, nursing homes have been devastated with thousands of deaths from the new coronavirus pandemic.

The list of names and cases, which the state said it would regularly update, comes after California faced pressure from health care experts who said detailed information was critical to pinpoint how COVID-19 had spread through vulnerable elder-care facilities. Until Friday, the state had only once released broad statewide numbers.

At least 148 skilled nursing homes in Los Angeles County have confirmed COVID-19 cases in residents or staff, representing more than half of the reported facilities with cases in California. Elsewhere in Southern California, 19 facilities in Riverside County, 14 in San Bernardino and 11 in San Diego County also had confirmed cases.

The release of long-term care facility data came after The Bee reported Friday morning that one-third of the California counties had at least one case of COVID-19 in a long-term care facility.

Country Hills Post Acute in El Cajon reported the county’s highest number. The facility reported 19 patients tested positive for COVID-19. Fewer than 11 staff members tested positive.

In a statement, Daniel Kramer, the spokesperson for the nursing home said Country Hills’ primary concern is the health and well being of its residents and staff. While they have worked hard to keep the virus out of the facility, they now have positive cases among their residents. Most of the residents show no symptoms or mild to moderate symptoms.

Kramer also stated residents continue to reside at the facility, isolated in their rooms under enhanced infection protocols to mitigate further spread of the virus.

Villa Rancho, a nursing home on Bernardo Center Drive, and The Bradley Court in El Cajon both reported the second highest number, with five patients testing positive. Four staff members also tested positive at both locations.

“Be reassured that we do have a process to manage outbreaks in our congregate living facilities,” said San Diego’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten. “We are in contact with them, we have a team that goes out to the facility to investigate their infection control and prevention measures that are in place.”

All of the other nursing homes on the county list reported fewer than 11 staff members or patients who tested positive:

  • Avocado Post Acute, El Cajon – fewer than 11 patients testing positive.
  • Boulder Creek Post Acute, Poway – fewer than 11 staff members.
  • Boulder Creek Post Acute, Poway – fewer than 11 staff members.
  • Edgemoor Hospital, Santee – fewer than 11 staff members.
  • La Mesa Healthcare Center – fewer than 11 staff members.
  • Lemon Grove Care & Rehabilitation Center – fewer than 11 staff members.
  • San Diego Post-Acute Center, El Cajon – fewer than 11 staff members.
  • The Springs at Pacific Regent, San Diego – fewer than 11 staff members and fewer than 11 patients.
  • Valle Vista Convalescent Hospital, Escondido – fewer than 11 staff members.

Drive-through COVID-19 testing shut down after two days at Cardiff

That didn’t take long.

Drive-through COVID-19 coronavirus testing became available at Encinitas Monday with the launch of a COVID Clinic site at MiraCosta College’s San Elijo campus at Cardiff, according to several local TV news stations.

San Diego County health authorities shut it down Wednesday, saying its owners failed to provide proof it had necessary credentials and certifications required by State law to conduct the tests.

The site had failed, “to comply with the requirement of both the California Code of Regulations and the Health Officer Order and Emergency Regulations, to submit test results to the Public Health Officer,” county officials said.

“A positive test might not mean it’s positive” said Dr. Eric McDonald, the county’s director of epidemiology. “A negative test might not mean its negative. And this is actually true of a lot of these serological tests,” .

McDonald added: “The exact role of this test really needs to be taken with a grain of salt, adding “if I was waiting in line to get a test I would get out of line.”

McDonald said an order was given to Mira Costa College to stop allowing the company to conduct testing on its site to which the college was cooperating.

A statement from the college read in part, “Within minutes of receiving a letter from (County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten) summarizing the unresolved communication with the county, MiraCosta College notified the organization that they must cease testing as soon as possible; no later than the end of business today, April 15.”

For the full MiraCosta response, visit MIRACOSTAORDER

When the testing site opened on Monday, the clinic had 120 people registered to be tested. No appointments or referrals were necessary for either test conducted and perators promised the results would be made available in a matter of days.

Only one FDA approved antibody test, made by Cellex is available, and FDA approved, as yet. COVID Clinic is not using the Cellex test at its drive-thru site, county officials said.

Last month, the federal government gave the green light for labs to make these types of antibody tests available to the public without FDA approval, because of the pandemic emergency.

The Cardiff coronavirus test involved a nose swab and results with results made available in a matter of a couple of days cost $125 per person. The second screening, which was an anti-body test, will tell individuals if they’re possibly immune to the virus cost $75 per person with results vailable within just minutes.

Palomar Health, Stone Brewing lay off hundreds of workers

Palomar Health has issued temporary layoff notices to 221 of its part-time and per diem employees. The temporary layoffs will last for 21 days, at which point staffing will be reassessed.

Meanwhile, dozens of nurses and health care workers held a protest in front of Palomar Medical Center in Poway Monday morning to express their outrage over Palomar Health’s decision to lay off workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The fact that the hospital is adding services but laying off employees didn’t sit well with many nurses KGTV-10News talked to at Monday’s protest. They believe colleagues in the operating rooms and other specialized units could easily be crosstrained to assist during the virus surge.

Mitra Khosroshahi has been a nurse for 44 years, including 35 years at the Poway facility. She told 10News she prepares patients for elective surgeries and was working last Tuesday when she was informed she was among those being laid off.

In a statement, Palomar Health said it suspended all non-emergency surgeries and outpatient services as of March 18. In that time, the company said it has experienced a significant loss in revenue while incurring additional costs for supplies and equipment to keep staff and patients safe.

Palomar Health says the temporary layoffs impact less than 5 percent of its workforce, and the positions affected were from surgery and outpatient departments, which have been significantly impacted by suspended services due to COVID-19. The remaining positions were support roles not directly related to patient care. There was no impact to inpatient bedside care positions, according to a statement from Palomar Health.

In an internal email sent to NBC7.com, the company CEO said Palomar Health said the past several weeks have “put a financial strain on our health system; up to $800,000 in lost revenue each day.”

The decision has drawn the ire of the local nurses union representative at Palomar Medical Center.

“It’s very frustrating because the business that we’re in here at Palomar Health is to take care of the community, so to make decisions on dollars only, to me is irresponsible and does not reflect our mission, which is to take care of the community of Escondido, San Marcos and all of its outlying areas,” said Sue Phillips, RN.

Phillips noted the decision to lay off workers comes just days after Palomar Health touted its roll in a 250-bed federal hospital planned at Palomar Medical Center if needed.

“We’re a public health district and we’re supposed to be taking care of the public and it seems very bad timing in the midst of a health crisis like this, that we would be laying off caregivers and nurses,” said Phillips.

Meanwhile, no beer for you or at last none served up by 300 mployees at Stone Brewing. They all were laid off Friday, April 10.

“We have made the decision to lay off some of Team Stone as a result of COVID-19,” said Stone CEO Dominic Engels in a news release. “This includes the majority of our Bistro and Tap Room employees. We continue to employ a small crew to operate our Bistros and Tap Rooms with delivery and curb-side pickup.”

Stone Brewing operates six locations in San Diego County, including large Bistro & Gardens sites in Escondido and Liberty Station, in San Diego’s Point Loma neighborhood; as well as sites in Richmond, Virginia, and Napa and Pasadena, California. The brewery is most well-known for its Stone IPA, Tropic Thunder lager, Tangerine Express IPA, Ripper pale ale and Ruination Double IPA brands. It also produces many special-release brews as well.

Stone got its start early in the craft-brewing timeline, beginning to make beer back in 1996 in San Marcos, eventually moving its headquarters to Escondido. Its beers have won many industry awards over the years; the company was crucial in putting San Diego County on the industry map.

The layoff news for local beer makers isn’t isolated to Stone, of course, with San Diego County employees getting bad news in recent weeks at several other breweries, according to a report at Brewbound.com.

Additional Data on San Diego County COVID-19 Cases

COVID-19 Tests in San Diego County by Date Reported (4/12/20)

Bar Graph of New and Total COVID-19 Cases in San Diego County by Date Reported (4/12/20)

Summary of County of San Diego COVID-19 Cases by City of Residence (4/12/20)

Summary of County of San Diego COVID-19 Cases by Zip Code (4/12/20)

Summary of County of San Diego COVID-19 Cases that Required Hospitalization (4/12/20)

Summary of County of San Diego COVID-19 Cases by Race/Ethnicity (4/12/20)

Summary of County of San Diego COVID-19 Deaths by Demographics (4/12/20)

District Attorney Warns Of Identity Thieves And Other Scammers Amid Pandemic

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan on Saturday asked residents to be wary of scammers trying to take advantage of the fear surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, according to Julia Dixon Evans, KPBS Arts Calendar Editor and Producer.

Stephan also expects a spike in identity theft with the federal government’s relief checks coming.

“We see more charity scams, we see fake cures for the coronavirus being exploited,” Stephan said during an afternoon news conference. She added that county officials are “very, very concerned” that people will be scammed out of their checks, which are part of the $2-trillion relief package passed by Congress last month.

Here are some of her specific prevention tips:

  • Don’t email back any charities before checking the attorney general’s charity list. Go to the charity’s website rather than clicking links in an email to prevent phishing scams.
  • “Don’t believe anyone that tells you they have a cure,” said Stephan. Check with your medical professionals and listen to the officials at the county.
  • The IRS will not be calling you or asking for your personal information prior to sending the economic impact payment.

Stephan said another concern with the stay at home order in place is an increase in domestic violence. “It’s a reality that home is not safe for everyone.” She encouraged individuals to check the resource page at sdcda.org to find lists of available shelters, food, diapers and more.

You Can Still Go For A Run In A County Park, But You Can’t Do Yoga Or Sit Under A Tree

Recreation options continue to dwindle for San Diego County residents amid efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, according to David Washburn, KPBS Investigative News Editor.

On Friday, the county issued an order that closed all parking lots at county parks as well as all ball fields and sports courts. However, county parks and preserves will remain open to foot, bike and horse traffic.

But even those who go to the parks on foot, bike or horse must abide by certain restrictions. “You may walk, run or ride a bike or horse along trails … but keep moving,” the county’s new order states.

However, you can’t play sports like basketball, soccer, tennis or roller hockey. And you can’t engage in stationary activities that keep you in a single area like fishing, yoga, picnicking and reading under a tree, the order states.

San Marcos shuts down parks, recreation facilities

San Marcos officials on Friday, April 3 announced the closure of a wide range of city facilities, including all public counters, parks and recreation parking lots, playgrounds, community centers, sports facilities and a number of city parks. Hiking trails remain open, the city stated. The full list of closed facilities includes the following:

  • All parks and recreation parking lots
  • Basketball courts
  • Community Center
  • Corky Smith Gymnasium
  • Dog parks
  • Double Peak Park
  • Lakeview Park
  • Las Posas and Woodland Pools
  • Park restrooms
  • Pickleball courts
  • Playgrounds
  • Ridgeline Park
  • Senior Activity Center. For information about the senior nutrition program, call (760) 744-5535.
  • Skate parks
  • Splashpads
  • Sunset Park
  • Tennis courts

While San Marcos City Hall remains closed, a “virtual city hall” is open Monday through Thursday, city spokeswoamn Robin Rockesy said. Residents can reach each department at the City via phone, email and the city’s app at www.san-marcos.net/city-app.

San Diego County, California public health officials issued new orders in effect until further notice to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher asked for patience with clarifications on public health orders, stating rapidly changing information sometimes meant messages became muddled, according to City News Service.

“We are adapting to new information,” Fletcher continued, “and we must adapt to the newest opportunities to protect each other.”

Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said the county had 13 confirmed outbreaks in congregate living centers, which had placed positive individuals in isolation.

All San Diego stores still open and serving the public scrambled Friday to comply with San Diego County’s amended public health orders — requiring all employees who work in essential business and interact with the public to wear facial covering — which go into effect at midnight tonight.

These industries include pharmacies, grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations.

Fletcher clarified the public health order to include restaurants after a plea Thursday from Jeff Rossman, president of the San Diego County chapter of the California Restaurant Association.

San Diego County public health order (PDF)

Addendum regarding face coverings and public parks (PDF)

Social Distancing and Sanitation Protocol (PDF Form)

San Diego County health orders for cruise ships (PDFs)  Disembarkation | Docking

California public health order (PDF)

List of essential critical infrastructure workers (PDF)

A chart, released April 3, 2020, showing the number of people tested for COVID-19 and the number of positive cases in San Diego

INTERACTIVE MAP: Confirmed coronavirus cases in San Diego County

What the orders mean

  • Everyone needs to stay home except to take care of essential needs or go to an essential job.
  • Practice social distancing. Keep at least six feet away from other people unless they’re household members. Avoid gatherings of any size.

What is open?

You need to follow social distancing when you visit these essential services, including:

  • Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores
  • Restaurants for take-out, delivery or drive-through
  • Pharmacies
  • Banks
  • Laundromats/laundry
  • Hardware/home improvement stores

Essential government services are still available. Many government agencies have closed public offices but are offering services online, over the phone or other ways.

What’s been closed?

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Bars and nightclubs.
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Hair and nail salons
  • Entertainment venues
  • Public events and gatherings

Businesses

Businesses and organizations that provide critical infrastructure are exempted, including health care and public health, public safety, food and agriculture and media. See the full list of exempt sectors (PDF).

Businesses allowed to stay open must also practice social distancing and encourage employees to work from home if possible. They must also suspend requiring employees to provide doctors’ permission to stay home.

Schools and childcare

  • All public and private schools, colleges and universities are closed. Parents of minor children must take steps to keep them at home.

Daycares are still open, but only for children of parents working in essential sectors. Daycare centers that remain open should employ heightened cleaning and distancing requirements. Babysitters may also come to the house to care for minors of parents working in essential sectors.

Child care facilities need to operate in the following way:

  • Groups of children are limited to 10, and they have to be the same children each day.
  • If there is more than one group at a facility, they need to be in separate rooms.
  • Children cannot move from group to group.
  • The groups cannot mix. The providers must stay with one group.

Health care and helping sick relatives

What if I need to visit a health care provider?

If you are feeling sick with fever or cough or other symptoms, please first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center.

If you need to go to the hospital, call ahead so they can prepare for your arrival. If you need to call 911, tell the 911 operator the exact symptoms you are experiencing so the ambulance provider can prepare to treat you safely.

What about routine, elective or non-urgent medical appointments?

Non-essential medical care like eye exams, teeth cleaning, and elective procedures must/should be cancelled or rescheduled. If possible, health care visits should be done remotely.

Contact your healthcare provider to see what services they are providing.

Can I leave home to care for my elderly parents or friends who need help to care for themselves? Or a friend or family member who has disabilities?

Yes, if you are not feeling sick. Be sure that you protect them and yourself by following social distancing guidelines such as washing hands before and after, using hand sanitizer, maintaining at least six feet of distance when possible, and coughing or sneezing into your elbow or a tissue and then washing your hands. If you have early signs of a cold, please stay away from your older loved ones.

Can I visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility?

Generally, no. There are limited exceptions, such as if you are going to the hospital with a minor who is under 18 or someone who is developmentally disabled and needs assistance. For most other situations, the order prohibits non-necessary visitation to these kinds of facilities except at the end-of-life. Hospital administrators may determine other exceptions in special circumstances. This is difficult, but necessary to protect hospital staff and other patients.

Going outdoors

You can go for a walk or walk your dog if you keep six feet from people who are not in your household. Avoid any groups. Some parks and trails have been closed.

Why are we doing this?

The goal is to “flatten the curve.” That means to keep people from getting sick all at once. We can slow a virus’s ability to infect people by keeping them apart.

When a new virus like novel coronavirus appears, faster spread means higher demand on the health care system. The increase can overwhelm the health care system and make it harder to take care of all sick people, whether they have COVID-19 or not.

However, if people stay away from each other by staying at home and practicing social-distancing, the virus cannot infect as many people as fast.

Oceanside To Close Beaches At Midnight, Leaving Just Coronado Open

Oceanside city officials announced they closed all public beaches effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, April 4.

This included all water-based activities, including surfing. The Strand will also be closed for walking and driving except to residents living there in order to access their property. Oceanside beach parking lots are already closed.

Oceanside joined most of the county in shutting down its beaches, with most beaches in San Diego Count closing last week in an attempt to encourage social distancing and limit the spread of the coronavirus. Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Diego and Solana Beach closed their beaches, trails and parks March 23, while Imperial Beach and the Port of San Diego announced similar closures March 24.

San Diego County health officials amended public health orders Thursday, shutting down park and beach parking lots, effective Friday at midnight.

Coronado’s beaches remain open despite calls for their closure from Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and Union-Tribune op-ed columnists.

Sailors Give Send-off To Navy Captain Fired Over Letter On COVID-19 Outbreak

U.S. Navy Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved of his command of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt on Thursday after he complained in a letter about the Navy’s response to a shipboard outbreak of the coronavirus./US Navy

A large crowd of service members gave a warm send-off to the former captain of a San Diego-based aircraft carrier, whose widely-publicized letter asking for help from Navy leadership regarding a COVID-19 outbreak aboard his ship resulted in his firing.

Video footage posted on social media showed a raucous crowd of sailors chanting Capt. Brett Crozier’s name as he departed the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is currently docked in Guam, where the Navy is working to move around 3,000 of its sailors off the carrier. More than 100 sailors have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.

Crozier was relieved of duty on Thursday, after his letter requesting immediate action from the Navy was also copied to “20 or 30 other people,” which may have been conducive to its eventual leak to the media, according to Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly.

Crozier’s letter stated the COVID-19 infection aboard his ship would spiral if immediate action was not taken. Modly said similar concerns were also expressed by the ship’s medical team.

In his letter, Crozier said the crew had undertaken some measures to slow the virus’ spread, including moving a small percentage of the crew off- ship, increasing cleaning of the ship and attempting social distancing wherever possible.

However, he warned, “The current strategy will only slow the spread. The current plan in execution on TR will not achieve virus eradication on any timeline.”

Modly said the Navy responded to the outbreak by immediately working to move most of the sailors off the ship, yet Crozier’s letter made it appear otherwise. The secretary said Crozier “raised alarm bells unnecessarily” and “demonstrated extremely poor judgment in the middle of a crisis.”

Though he called Crozier “an honorable man,” he said relieving him of command was in the “best interests” of the Navy, which he said required more focused leadership in the face of various threats, including COVID-19.

Get thee to a pawn shoppe

San Diegans are looking for ways to pay rent and some are turning to pawn shops, according to NBC 7 San Diego’s ‘Consumer Bob.’ Tens of thousands of people have filed unemployment claims because they have had their hours cut, or lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re getting into the cycle where people are going to need that rent money,” said Jeff Bernard of Palace Pawn Brokers. “I’m talking about waiters, waitresses, the barbers, everyday people.”

Evictions in the state of California have been frozen, which means a landlord cannot kick you out immediately for not paying rent. However, you need to notify your landlord if you cannot afford to pay rent because of COVID-19. The San Diego Housing Commission says that notice needs to be given the day rent is due.

“Tenants who are protected from evictions by the City of San Diego’s Ordinance have up to six months … to pay their landlords all unpaid rent,” reads the commission’s website.

Even though many businesses are closed, pawn shops are considered essential because they are technically financial institutions. Bernard said they have shut down the retail side of their business and are only focused on providing loans.

“We are not foreclosing on anybody that contacts us,” said Bernard. “You don’t even need to have an excuse.”

Last week, more than 187,000 Californians filed unemployment claims with the state Employment Development Department, but those claims can take three weeks to process. Pawn shop owners say they can provide cash in just minutes.

“By the time the bank gets a $1,000 loan processed it’ll be three or four days,” said Bernard. “You can be in and out of a pawn shop in 15 minutes.”

Pawn shops are also different than payday loan centers because if you forfeit the item, it will not show up on your credit report.

Albertsons confirmed that a W. Valley Parkway, Escondido store employee tested positive for the virus.

“That associate is now receiving medical care,” Albertsons Public Affairs Director Melissa Hill said in a written statement. “Following CDC guidelines, our Crisis Response Team may recommend that additional members of the store team self-quarantine. These employees will be eligible to receive up to 14 days of quarantine pay.

“The associate has not worked at our Escondido store since March 24,” Hill said.”The store has been through multiple cycles of our enhanced cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting process since that day. In an abundance of caution, last night, we conducted a thorough cleaning and disinfection with guidance from third-party sanitation experts. The store will remain open, and we will continue to follow an enhanced cleaning and disinfection process in every department.”

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135 President Todd Walters told KGTV, Channel 10 News, the union has been working with companies to get higher safety measures into the workplaces of members. He said three members of the union tested positive as of Saturday. He said they were all at different locations in San Diego County.

“We’re encouraging and asking the members to 1. Make sure they get their social distance. 2. We want them to get time every 30 minutes to stop, wash their hands and clean their work stations,” Walters said.

Walters said Plexiglas has been installed at check out stands to protect workers at Albertsons and Vons, and next week Ralphs and Food For Less will see the same installation.

In other news, a second UCSD student resident tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, March 28, according to a recent TritonAlert sent out by the school newspaper.

The student was described as a “close contact” of the first student who tested positive on March 23. As with the first student, this student is under self-isolation and is receiving care.

San Diego County “indefinitely” extended its public health order that closes bars, schools and restaurants to address a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, officials announced Saturday.

Public health officials were also continuing to investigate possible clusters of infections at nursing homes. Outbreaks have been confirmed at three while four remain under investigation, said Dr. Nick Yphantides, county chief medical officer.

The nonprofit hotline 211 San Diego will begin connecting callers with one of 60 public health nurses to answer clinical questions about COVID-19, including symptoms and best courses of action. The nurses will be staffing lines from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. To access, call 2-1-1.

“Please don’t head out if you don’t have to,” county Supervisor Greg Cox said, stressing the importance of the stay-home order. “Lives truly depend on it.”

And to state the obvious: TV viewing and streaming video got a big bump with the coronavirus pandemic leaving millions of Americans housebound, according to Variety.

But how big a jump are we talking about related to the current COVID-19 crisis? When consumers stay at home amid broadly disruptive events, their media consumption rises nearly 60% — and even more in some cases, according to a Nielsen data analysis.

Consumers who stay indoors during major crises gravitate toward watching feature films, news and general format programming, per the research firm. Nielsen also found an average 61% increase in streaming video via the TV.

Additional Data on San Diego County COVID-19 Cases

Coronavirus: Quick facts

    • What is coronavirus?
      The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a virus that can infect animals and humans. It causes a range of respiratory illness, fever, cough and in more severe cases can cause pneumonia and even death.
    • What are the symptoms?
      The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Government Resources

San Diego Sheriff’s Office cites price gougers

San Diego County Sheriff’s Office shows products confiscated from people accused of coronavirus price gouging/San Diego County Sheriff’s Office

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department has cited eight people in connection to an investigation into the online price-gouging of high-demand items amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“These parties intended to maximize financial gain during the (state of) emergency, with merchandise being offered for sale upward of twenty times its regular retail price,” Sgt. Jeff Creighton said.

Deputies from the Fallbrook substation began monitoring peer-to-peer sales websites and apps and found people selling hygiene products, cleaning supplies, and personal protective equipment at inflated prices — some up to twenty times their retail price.

Sheriff’s officials said they were allegedly charging exorbitant prices for numerous products that have been scarce amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

Plainclothes deputies arranged online to meet sellers to purchase the items, at which point they cited them for violation of California Penal Code 396(a), which prohibits excessive and unjustified price increases of consumer goods and services during a declared emergency.

Deputies went undercover and arranged to meet the sellers. Once transactions were completed, the sellers were “arrested in violation of section 396(a) of the California Penal Code.”

Per California law, excessive and unjustified increases in prices for essential consumer goods and services during a declared emergency is prohibited. “A violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not exceeding one year, or by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.”

Their ages range between 26 and 58. Most were cited in North County — in Escondido, Poway, San Marcos, Vista and Rainbow. One citation took place in San Diego and another near El Cajon.

The eight people cited included:

Dale Gottschalk (53) of unincorporated El Cajon

David Gold (53) of Escondido

David Noriani (35) of San Diego

Tony Dai Ta (53) of Poway

Chasity Lynn Long-Ross (45) of San Marcos

Richard McCake Simpson (47) of Vista

Spencer Ryan Silva (26) of Escondido

Eric Marc Duran (58) of Rainbow

Officials advised the public that scammers are trying to take advantage of misinformation and fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in other ways, too. They said to be on the lookout for scams regarding testing or a coronavirus cure, as well as unsolicited requests for donations or medical advisories that include links and attachments.

Dr. Bronner’s Covid-19 update

— David and Michael Bronner

David Bronner

Like many businesses in this time, we are doing our best to prioritize the health and wellbeing of our employees and community. For Dr. Bronner’s this goes hand in hand with meeting the needs of our customers. Soap and hand sanitizer are essential tools to help keep Covid-19 from spreading and help maintain public health, and for this reason and others, we believe it is important to continue manufacturing our products for as long as we are able to safely do so.

Mike Bronner

For the safety of our staff and community, all of our employees who can work remotely are now working from home. Meanwhile, demand for our soap and hand sanitizer has spiked, and we are doing our best to fulfill the increase in orders. In spite of our best efforts, constraints prevent us from fully meeting orders: our hand sanitizer, for example, can only be produced at FDA-licensed drug manufacturing facilities, and is being produced at 600% of our usual rate.

We are allotting a reserve of 2% of all hand sanitizer production to donate to at-risk communities and the organizations that serve them, so they have access to our hand sanitizer as well. Last week we shipped donations to organizations serving unhoused and low-income populations in San Diego, New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. We are continuing to work with advocates and service providers to get our products in the hands of those who need them most during this public health crisis.

We are asking our customers and community to please be patient as we do our best to fulfill orders and make our products available to those who need them. Please also buy only what you think you need, so that everyone who needs our products can obtain them. This is an important time to remember that we are all connected and need to look out for each other, now more than ever.

All-One!

(For more about Dr. Bronner’s soaps and such, visit this story and their website.)

What is open and closed at Rancho Santa Fe

— Rancho Santa Fe Association

Community Organizations & Services

  • RSF Senior Center
    Programs and classes are on hold until further notice. Volunteers are in place to help members needing assistance. Contact the Senior Center via email at terrie@rsfseniors.org or lizzy@rsfseniors.org, or by phone  (858-756-3041) during business hours (Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm) to contact a volunteer.
  • RSF Library
    The Library Guild Office and Book Cellar are closed until March 31, 2020, and all programs are canceled through April 30, 2020. The Library is now offering curbside pickup during business hours (9 am to 4:30 pm). You may call to arrange a pickup at (858) 756-2512, and again when you’re waiting outside. Find digital materials at www.sdcl.org
  • RSF Community Center
    The Community Center is postponing all Rancho Youth and Enrichment programs, and plans on re-opening on April 6, 2020.
  • Banks
    Most are open during regular business hours, and they are taking extra steps to keep shared areas clean.
  • RSF Post Office
    Adhering to government and local measures, and remains open.
  • Gas Station
    Open for full-service gas. Modified hours are Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • R. Roger Rowe School – Closed

Restaurants

  • Ranch Clubhouse Restaurant at the Golf Club
    Accepting to-go orders (including daily specials) for curbside pickup between 11 am and 8 pm. You may call to place an order at (858) 756-1182, and find the menu here.
  • The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
    Restaurant dining room is closed through March 30, 2020, and taking to-go orders only at this time. Breakfast to-go orders may be placed between 7 am and 11 am. Lunch and dinner to-go orders may be placed from 11 am to 9 pm. Pick up is available at the hostess station inside. Orders may be placed at (858) 756-1131.
  • Caffe Positano
    Both RSF locations open for regular business everyday (takeout only) from 6 am to 5 pm.
  • RSF Bistro
    Offering to-go orders for pick up, including bottles of wine. Call (858) 756-1221 to place an order.
  • Thyme in the Ranch
    Offering takeout and delivery during regular business hours (Tuesday to Saturday from 7 am to 3 pm). Call (858) 759-0747 to place an order.
  • Mille Fleurs – Closed until tentative re-open on March 30, 2020.
  • Nick & G’s – Closed

RSF Association

  • Association Office
    Open, but members are asked to call or email instead of coming into the office.
  • RSF Golf Club
    Golf course is open to members only.
  • RSF Tennis Club
    Courts are open to members.
  • RSF Fields
    All sports fields are closed until further notice. Check status via the field hotline at (858) 756-6786.
  • RSF Association Trails
    Trails are open and please use caution due to wet conditions.

San Diego Blood Bank issues urgent plea for donations

School closures and work-from-home policies have resulted in canceled blood drives. San Diego Blood Bank collects more than half of its blood supply on bloodmobiles. An additional strain on the blood supply is expected in the coming weeks.

All blood types are needed and people who have never donated before are encouraged to donate.

“The U.S. is on the verge of a serious blood shortage that will lead to blood rationing and triage. We need healthy people to come out to donate immediately,” said David Wellis, CEO, San Diego Blood Bank. “Supplies are dropping to critical levels. We are confident the San Diego community will rally around this urgent need.”

“It’s safe to donate blood,” said Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D., assistant secretary of health. “Part of preparedness includes a robust blood supply. Healthy individuals should schedule an appointment to donate today to ensure that blood is available for patients who need it.”

To make an appointment, visit sandiegobloodbank.org/GiveLife or call 619-400-8251. Donors must be 17 years or older, weigh a minimum of 114 pounds, and be in general good health.

Blood may be donated at places including:

• Poway, Rancho Bernardo, Mira Mesa and Rancho Peñasquitos: Sabre Springs Donor Center

Visit one of our donor centers or a mobile blood drive in the community.

• Downtown San Diego, Point Loma or Chula Vista: Gateway Donor Center (2 miles east of downtown)

• El Cajon, La Mesa and Santee: East County Donor Center • Escondido and San Marcos: North County Donor Center

• Vista, Oceanside and Carlsbad: Coastal Donor Center

• La Jolla, Carmel Valley and Del Mar: Carmel Valley Donor Center

City of Escondido has a plan for that

Escondido officials Friday issued what they called a “COVID-19 Action Plan,” saying, “The City of Escondido is taking steps to follow the Governor’s and the County Public Health Officer’s orders about limiting large gatherings. Our Continuity of Operations Plan is in place to ensure that essential City functions can continue to operate safely during this time.”

City guidelines and meetings were either issued, changed or created “to be compliant with the County of San Diego Public Health Officer’s direction as of 3/12/20 at 3:33 p.m., stating that “…all gatherings of more than 250 people are directed to be postponed or cancelled across the county. This includes concerts, conferences, and professional, college, and school sporting events. Smaller events can proceed only if organizers can implement social distancing of six feet between participants.” the City has cancelled or postponed all non-essential events, gatherings, sporting events, and meetings.

These restrictions will remain in effect at least through March 31, 2020.

In an effort to stay compliant with the County of San Diego Public Health Officer’s latest recommendations announced March 16 at 3 p.m. the following measures are being taken within the City of Escondido:

  • A Declaration of Local Emergency has been signed by Escondido City Manager Jeffrey Epp. As a result, the City is now able to enact emergency powers, as well as potentially gain access to federal and state relief funds. This declaration will be ratified by the Escondido City Council on Wednesday, March 18.
  • The Park Avenue Community Center (located at 210 East Park Avenue, Escondido, CA 92025) is closed until further notice but the Senior Nutrition Program will remain in place with the following adjustments:
    • Senior Nutrition has transitioned to delivery and pick-up of meals only. Meals will be available for pick-up at the Park Avenue Community Center and are free for residents 60 and over. To RSVP for meal delivery call: 760-839-4803.
  • The Escondido Public Library is closed to the public until March 31.
    • All due dates have been extended until April 1. No overdue fees will accrue from March 16-31. Materials can still be returned to book drops outside the Library facility.
  • City Hall is closed to the public from March 17 – 31. Many City services can be accessed online: https://www.escondido.org/online-services.aspx Community members who need to make cash utility billing payments should deposit them into the Utility Billing Drop Box located in the circle driveway at City Hall.
    • Time sensitive services such as building plan approval, engineering design review, etc. can now be done by appointment by calling:
      • Planning: 760-839-4671
      • Building: 760-839-4647
      • Code Enforcement: 760-839-4650
      • Engineering:
      • City Clerk: 442-237-1106 or zbeck@escondido.org
  • Dixon Lake campground reservations and fishing will be closed starting tomorrow March 17. Lake Wohlford will be closed for fishing starting March 17. Residents and visitors may still visit the lakes and grounds for recreation activities as long as they practice social distancing.
  • The Escondido Police and Fire Headquarters lobby will be closed to the public starting March 17. If you have a scheduled appointment please use the courtesy phone located at the entrance and a staff member will assist you.
  • The Public Works Administration Lobby will be closed to the public until March 31. Staff will be on-site to assist with time sensitive business.
  • The East Valley Community Center will remain closed until March 31.
  • The Escondido Sports Center will remain closed until March 31.

Additional Community Updates:

Special Events/Recreation and Library Programming/Tournaments

The following events are cancelled:

 All recreation and Library programming`

  •   Permitted special events – will be cancelled but may be rescheduled by the event organizer
  •   All outside City facility rentals have been cancelled and may be rescheduled by the event organizer
  •   Youth and adult sporting events and tournaments
  •   City organized volunteer events

If you have specific questions about classes and events, contact recreation@escondido.org.

Senior Nutrition

 City staff is working with the County on an approved mitigation plan to implement a longer-term plan for meal service. Older adult participants will be notified directly.

After School Programs and Tiny Tots Preschool

  •   Have been cancelled due to the citywide school closures.

Lakes

  •   Lake Dixon, Daley Ranch and Lake Wohlford remain open but school programs hosted at Daley Ranch by the Friends of Daley Ranch are cancelled.

City Hall

 For those individuals or businesses that need to conduct business with the City, City Hall remains open.

You can also interact with the City online in the following ways:

o Pay your Utility Bill
o Renew and Apply for Permits, Licenses, Recreation Registration and more o Watch City Council Meetings Online

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency is the lead agency responsible for coronavirus response countywide. The City of Escondido works in partnership with the County and other local, state and federal health officials to receive guidance and coordinate our response accordingly.

City officials encouraged all residents to visit https://www.sdcountyemergency.com/content/oesemergency/en-us.htmlfor the most up-to-date information.

Testing for coronavirus

The County Public Health Laboratory is now able to test for the novel coronavirus. The County no longer has to send all specimens to the CDC, so results come back much faster.

Watch the video above to learn about coronavirus testing at the the County of San Diego Public Health Lab.

Emergency declaration

On Feb. 14, the County declared a local health emergency and proclaimed a local emergency to deal with the novel coronavirus.

On March 4, Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in California. This statewide proclamation waives the requirement for local governments to renew local health emergencies and local emergencies at regular intervals. San Diego County’s will remain in effect until terminated by the Board of Supervisors.

These actions empower the County to:

  • more effectively respond to COVID-19
  • seek and utilize mutual aid
  • potentially obtain reimbursement
  • ensure health professionals have all necessary tools available, such as N-95 respirators

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