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Live Blog: Legoland California Opens For ‘Build ‘N Play Days’
Thursday, March 4, 2021
This is a breaking news blog for all of the latest updates about the coronavirus pandemic. Get our complete coronavirus coverage here →
Legoland California Opens For 'Build 'N Play Days'
– 10:18 a.m., Friday, March 5, 2021
Legoland California Resort begins its "Build 'N Play Days" Friday, allowing families to enjoy some of the park's outdoor attractions in a socially distanced environment.
The limited-time event, running through May 5, is also allowing the park to bring back hundreds of employees furloughed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Guests will have access to play structures within the park such as Kai's Spinners and Cole's Rock Climb, building activities, a scavenger hunt in Miniland U.S.A., live entertainment, character meet-and-greets and shopping at the Big Shop.
Build 'N Play activities include a Miniland dance party where guests can do the "Lego limbo" and design their own Minifigure on the roof of the model shop. Two building activities are intended to stretch children's imaginations with separate sanitized brick packs and a space for children's creations to stay on display each weekend.
Legoland was forced to shut down last March, along with other theme parks, which are not allowed to fully reopen until the least-restrictive yellow tier of California's four-tiered reopening system is reached. San Diego County remains in the most restrictive purple tier.
Legoland California Resort President Kurt Stocks said he is optimistic they'll be able to reopen in the near future.
"Obviously, we're waiting on Governor Newsom to give us the green light to fully reopen, but at this moment we are going out into the market and we are advertising quite literally hundreds of jobs that we will need filled as we get ready to reopen," he told NBC7.
Those interested can apply at legolandjobs.com.
Tickets for Build 'N Play Days start at $19.99 and can be purchased by clicking here. — City News Service
San Diego County Reports 508 New COVID-19 cases, 17 Deaths
– 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 4, 2021
San Diego County public health officials reported 508 new COVID-19 cases and 17 additional deaths Thursday, increasing the totals to 261,861 cases and 3,359 deaths.
Of 17,763 tests reported by the county, 3% returned positive. The 14-day rolling average decreased to 3.6% from Wednesday's 3.7%.
The number of hospitalizations declined to 430, with 144 of those in intensive care units. There are 62 staffed, available ICU beds in the county.
One month ago, there were 1,265 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 369 of whom were in ICU beds.
Of the county's population over the age of 16, 22.1% — or more than 594,000 people — have received at least one dose and 10.7% — or more than 287,000 people — have been fully inoculated. — City News Service
– 12:00 p.m., Thursday, March 4, 2021
The Scripps Del Mar Vaccination Super Station will be closed on Saturday, March 6, due to the low number of COVID-19 vaccine doses that were delivered to Scripps Health this week.
The station will reopen the following day on Sunday, March 7.
Patients who had appointments at the super station on Saturday, which were all for second doses of the Pfizer vaccine, are being rescheduled for Sunday automatically through the MyTurn online appointment system. — KPBS Staff
County Prioritizes Second Dose Appointments As Vaccine Shortage Continues
– 7:10 p.m., Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Local vaccination sites are prioritizing people with second dose appointments because of the ongoing vaccine shortage, the county announced Wednesday.
There is currently a delay in Moderna vaccine shipments because of bad weather a few weeks ago across the U.S. The county shortage of Moderna vaccines is conflated with the Pfizer vaccines being used almost exclusively for people due for their second doses.
Those two issues are causing delays in the release of new appointments for people getting the vaccines for the first time.
“Our sites are working diligently to complete the vaccinations of people who are due for their second doses,” county Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said. “When we get through the Moderna backlog, and more doses arrive, including the new Johnson and Johnson vaccine, first-dose appointments will be released for the many people who are both eligible and eager to get vaccinated.” — KPBS Staff
San Diego County On Path To Red Tier
– 4:36 p.m., Wednesday, March 3, 2021
San Diego County public health officials reported 352 new COVID-19 cases and 25 additional deaths Wednesday as health care sites await more vaccines, including the one-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.
On Wednesday, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the county should be proud of the sacrifice it had made during the pandemic and suggested a change in the formula the state uses to calculate its four-tiered reopening structure could be on the way.
He said the more that vulnerable populations receive vaccines, the "more it changes the calculus" of the state's metrics. However, vaccine shortages have frustrated efforts to get doses into arms.
"It is consistently erratic and consistently unpredictable," Fletcher said of vaccine deliveries.
The county's largest vaccine site, Petco Park, reopened Wednesday after closing Saturday due to a Moderna vaccine shortage. It had to temporarily shutter several hours later, however, due to a winter storm bringing lightning.
"As of noon today, the Petco Vaccination Super Station has briefly paused operations due to safety concerns related to nearby lightning," UC San Diego Health wrote on Twitter. "The site will reopen as soon as authorities determine it is safe to do so." — City News Service
– 5:22 p.m., Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Despite considerable improvement in handling the COVID-19 pandemic in recent weeks, San Diego County will remain in the state's "Purple Tier" for at least one more week, it was announced Tuesday, as county officials reported 376 new infections and 14 deaths related to the virus.
Posting an adjusted case rate of 10.8 new daily cases per 100,000 people, the county still has to drop below 7 per 100,000 to enter the red tier in the state's four-tiered reopening system. In the red tier, some indoor businesses such as gyms, movie theaters and indoor dining can reopen.
County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said it was just a matter of time before the county moved up.
"San Diego County is headed in the right direction, our cases are dropping and the number of vaccines administered continues to lead our state," he said Tuesday. "We are seeing more school openings and know we are on the path to a lower tier. It is vital we continue to do everything we can to slow the spread and continue our forward progress and momentum."
The county's other metrics under the state reopening plan are also trending favorably. The seven-day positivity rate is just 4.2%, low enough to put San Diego County in the orange or moderate tier. The health equity quartile positivity rate — which looks at the worst-performing quarter of a county's residents — is in the red tier with 6%. The state judges each county by its worst-performing metric — in San Diego County's case, the daily case rate. — City News Service
– 3:29 p.m., Tuesday, March 2, 2021
President Joe Biden says the U.S. expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccine for all adults by the end of May — two months earlier than anticipated.
He's also pushing states to get at least one shot into the arms of teachers by the end of May to hasten school reopenings. Biden has also announced that drugmaker Merck will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved one-shot vaccine.
Despite the stepped-up pace of vaccine production, the work of inoculating Americans could extend well into the summer. It depends on both the government’s capacity to deliver doses and Americans’ willingness to roll up their sleeves. — Associated Press
San Diego County Not Among 7 Counties Moving Into Less Restrictive Red Tier
– 12:50 p.m., Tuesday, March 2, 2021
San Diego County was not among the seven counties that moved into a less restrictive COVID-19 tier, from purple (widespread) to red (substantial), the state announced Tuesday.
San Diego County is reporting 11.3 new COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 people. In order to move into the Red tier, the county needs to be reporting under seven new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.
The seven counties moving into Red tier are:
–San Luis Obispo
No counties moved to a more restrictive tier.
Forty counties remain in the purple tier, 16 in the red tier, and 2 remain in the orange (moderate) tier. — KPBS Staff
– 7:36 a.m., Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Starting Tuesday, low-income renters throughout the San Diego region who have experienced COVID-19-related loss of income will be able to apply for additional rental and utility assistance grants.
San Diego County's Emergency Rental Assistance Program, funded by more than $100 million in state and federal monies, is intended to help lessen housing cost burdens and maintain housing stability.
The program will primarily aid eligible people who are behind on rent and/or utility payments, covering the period from April 2020 to March 2021. Utilities include costs such as electricity, gas, water and sewer, trash and other energy costs not included in the rent.
"This is a new lifeline for people who are having trouble making ends meet due to the pandemic," said County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer. "We want to make sure this public health crisis does not leave San Diegans in debt or without a home. If you are having trouble paying rent or utilities, we are here to help."
The amount of rental arrears covered will depend on whether the landlord agrees to participate in the program. Landlords owed back rent can also apply on behalf of their tenants. — City News Service
– 5:55 p.m., Monday, March 1, 2021
San Diego County public health officials reported 269 new COVID-19 infections Monday and no deaths, while the vaccine shortage kept Petco Park's COVID-19 superstation closed.
The closure comes at an inopportune time, as more than 500,000 emergency services, child care and education and food and agriculture workers were scheduled to be eligible to receive vaccines beginning this week.
The county's existing doses will be largely reserved for second doses until the vaccine supply issue can be resolved.
Of the county's population over the age of 16, 21.3% -- or 572,546 people-- have received at least one dose and 10.1% -- or 272,377 people -- have been fully inoculated the county reported on Saturday.
Monday's data increased the cumulative totals in the county to 260,625 cases. No new deaths were reported and the death toll remains at 3,303.
Of 7,180 tests reported by the county, 4% returned positive. The 14- day rolling average decreased to 3.8% from 4.4% Sunday. — City News Service
– 12:35 p.m., Monday, March 1, 2021
For the second year in a row, San Diego Comic-Con has canceled its in-person event because of the ongoing pandemic and will go virtual, the organization announced Monday.
The annual pop-culture convention plans to also host a smaller “Comic-Con Lite” three-day event in November with details to be announced later.
“While we lament the postponement of the in-person Comic-Con, our commitment to this community of fans and our celebration of comics and the related popular arts endures as an import of who we are,” Comic-Con International said in a statement posted to Twitter.
Fans who opted to have last year’s passes rolled over to this year can have their passes rolled over again to 2022 or request a full refund. — KPBS Staff
– 8:25 a.m. Monday, March 1, 2021
California’s public schools could get $6.6 billion from the state Legislature if they return to in-person instruction by the end of March, according to a new agreement announced Monday between Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s legislative leaders.
Most of California’s public schools have not met in-person since March because of the coronavirus. Many districts have struggled to reach agreements with teachers’ unions on the best way to return students and staff to the classroom.
Newsom, who could face a recall election later this year spurred by his handling of the coronavirus, has been at odds with legislative leaders on the best way to encourage school districts to return students to the classroom. California can’t order schools to return to in-person instruction, but state officials can offer a lot of money to those that do.
The agreement sets aside $6.6 billion for schools that return to in-person instruction by March 31. The bill is a deal between Newsom, state Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, all Democrats. It was confirmed by Atkins’ office. Newsom’s office has scheduled a formal announcement for late Monday morning.
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