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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

County Officials Say Immigrants Need Not Be Afraid Of Seeking Medical Help During Pandemic And San Diego Unified Aims To Move To Online Instruction

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Speaker 1: 00:00 The latest from County officials on Corona virus patients and restrictions and San Diego unified scrambles to take school online. I'm Jade Hindman. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday. It's Thursday, March 19th. A group of San Diego officials are telling non-citizens in the County that they should not be afraid of getting medical help or getting tested for Corona virus.

Speaker 2: 00:36 Arona virus, uh, does not know nor care your race, your gender, your religion, your sexual orientation, your country of order, or your immigration status. Uh, it does not care about any of those factors. And here in San Diego County, neither do we.

Speaker 1: 00:54 That was County supervisor Nathan Fletcher this morning. Fears of deportation or losing a chance for a green card have kept some residents away from health centers even when they need to be there. And on Wednesday, County officials gave their daily update on Corona virus and San Diego public health officer, dr Wilma Wooten issued tighter restrictions on gatherings, ordered business closures, and issued guidance on daycare operations. And here with me as KPBS health reporter Taryn mento. Taryn, welcome. Thanks Maureen. So tell us about today's news conference. Why did these San Diego officials feel a need to speak out about this? Well, there's been some reports that there was concern. People would be afraid to go and get care because of the public charge rule that would potentially jeopardize their chances of getting a green card and citizenship. Um, because if maybe they're using certain benefits, but you know, people, the officials wanted remind people, you know, if you need care, you have a right to access it.

Speaker 1: 01:52 And if people don't get care when they severely need it, it could be detrimental to their health in detrimental to their, the rest of the public's health. And in this kind of outbreak, and generally speaking, has the number of coronavirus positives in the County jumped, right? Yes. It went from 62 to 20. Um, and that was up from 55 before in 39 before and 11 before. So it has increased over the last few, maybe nine, 10 days since we confirmed our first local case. And this morning it's at 80. Correct. And our most people who've tested positive, are they from the cruise ship or are they from San Diego? 67 of the confirmed cases are from San Diego. So that's, you know, more than two thirds. Tell us about the clusters of patients the County has identified. There was one in, um, uh, related to people who took a screen ski shipped to Colorado, uh, seven individuals.

Speaker 1: 02:44 They, a six of them are as far as I know as of last update are at home and one person is hospitalized, but they, they went there. Then the Colorado Colorado put out an advisory, you know, that there were some cases there. So they know, notice that they symptoms and then presented and the County was able to put that cluster together. But then there was a second cluster of individuals, uh, four of them who kind of came and got care individually. Um, and then through interviews the County epidemiologists were able to identify that they, there was a social network there that they knew each other. And that case, uh, is being investigated with the military because it does involve some active duty service members as well as civilians. And even with the increase in positive tests and the, and these clusters still luckily no deaths in San Diego reported at at this point.

Speaker 1: 03:32 Correct. How did Dr. Wooten clarify the gathering restrictions in the County? Previously people, um, were prohibited from gathering in groups of 50 or more. Now that is reduced to 10 or more, which fits the CDC guidelines, but these are legally enforceable orders by the County public health officer, Wilma Wooten. So now 10 or more prohibited in one place at one time and that's a meeting space or a theater or an auditorium or a cafeteria. Um, some exceptions made a, she said airports, public transportation and essential businesses where a social distancing of six fees is, can still happen. Now, many gyms and fitness centers around the County were closed already, but yesterday Dr. Wooten made it official, right? Correct. Yes. Gyms and fitness centers are among the businesses including, you know, bars, adult entertainment, uh, any place that serves alcohol that has to close down. And um, that was part of the earlier, um, actions she took.

Speaker 1: 04:30 And then restaurants as well. They are now down to take out and delivery now, uh, now that schools are closed, daycare is even more important to parents of young children. Watch a doctor wouldn't have to say about that. So they have not, um, they're, they're issuing guidance and that is to, um, that providers keep kids in groups of 10 or fewer and make sure that they're keeping them in the same group. And that way in the event that someone does come down with Corona virus, it would be very easy to trace back who that child's close contacts were. So it's keeping them in the same groups and not mixing them or interchanging the kids in different groups with the same daycare provider. Okay. So where is the County in terms of medical supplies? So this was a big point of conversation yesterday at the press conference.

Speaker 1: 05:24 Um, you know, the chief medical officer of the County, uh, dr Nick [inaudible] did say that right now they're doing okay, but there is a lot of concern moving forward and indicated no. That concern and I'm sure as everyone's aware of that concerns, not just here in San Diego, that's, that's nationally. And when we're talking medical supplies, we're talking about protective gear for healthcare workers, those sorts of thing, masks and, and even things as a testing equipment. You know, we know we've heard a lot about how testing is limited testing is limited and that's largely, um, you know, to do with, uh, issues like, um, reagents and actually even like the swabs that they would use inside a person's nose or mouth to get the specimen. Um, just there's such a demand and there was so there's just so little to, to go to everybody. So that's also that as well.

Speaker 1: 06:13 Was there anything said about how the County is addressing the, the possibility of the virus spreading to the homeless population? So supervisor Nathan Fletcher has really been taking the lead on this and they are really working to identify motel rooms. I think they're up to, um, hundreds now. They're, they're working very quickly, um, that if someone does have, I think even just symptoms, they're taking them out of a shelter area and they're putting them into a motel room to, to monitor and test. And we expect another update this afternoon. Correct? Should be around two 30 I've been speaking with KPBS health reporter Taran mento Taryn. Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 3: 07:00 Officials at San Diego's largest school district are trying to work out the complex task of keeping schools closed, keeping kids safe and fed and parents informed. All wildly outline a plan for moving forward. Yesterday school superintendent Cindy Martin appeared to break with governor Gavin Newsome's prediction that schools would remain closed through the rest of the term, but San Diego unified is working on innovations that could bring back school and still keep kids at home. Joining me, a San Diego school board member, Richard Barrera and Richard. Welcome. Thank you. Maureen. What is San Diego unified thinking of doing?

Speaker 4: 07:38 Well, we've got two jobs. One is day by day. We have to meet the needs of our students. Now while we plan for, you know, the potential of longterm closure of our facilities. So as of today, we're really focused on two main issues, student learning and food distribution. So probably the most important thing that I could tell you is parents and people from the community said, go on the district's website, S a N D I. Dot net. And if you go on the information button about the Corona virus, you'll go to sections about both where our food distribution sites are and learning options for students. So for learning options when students left school on Friday, they all went home with packets of work for the next couple of weeks. That included reading materials included, uh, you know, guided questions and included, uh, journals for writing. So there's a lot of work that students, you know, can and should be doing right now.

Speaker 4: 08:47 And of course, in addition to that, our partnership with KPBS KPBS too, is providing educational programming for students, uh, all throughout the day. And on our website, on the learning options section, uh, parents and students can find day by day lesson plans, uh, for all grades in all the core subject areas. So there's plenty, uh, that students can and should be working on right now. And I know parents are taking on an incredible, uh, obligation responsibility right now to work with their students. And every parent I talk to is exhausted and more than ever appreciative of the work that our teachers do every day. Um, but student learning really should be going on now.

Speaker 3: 09:32 But the district is also working on an aspirational program of churning classrooms, virtual for all the students who are at home.

Speaker 4: 09:41 That's exactly right. So in the event that we are going to see longterm closure of our facilities, we need to be able to ramp up our distance learning program. And that's the work that's also being done right now by district leaders in partnership with the teachers and in partnership with, uh, with other stakeholders. So the first thing that we need to do though in any comprehensive online program is we need to make sure that there's equity for students across the district. So for instance, right now we're doing an inventory and assessment of all of the students in our district who do not have access to internet at home. And we are home delivering computers with wifi hotspots so that every student will have access to the, um, online tools that they need to participate in online learning. In addition to that, we are developing professional development programs, training for our teachers and other educators so that they'll be able to do, for instance, what a lot of teachers are already doing, which is setting up virtual classrooms over zoom and having an irregular schedule and being able to, uh, regularly, uh, you know, uh, assess students' work and give students feedback.

Speaker 3: 11:05 Do you expect students will get their normal grades and tests this way when it's fully up and running

Speaker 4: 11:11 when it's up and running? You know, it really is. It is school, you know, and so students are going to have assignments and they're going to be graded. Um, now in terms of things like the statewide testing, you know, we anticipate that that is going to be postponed indefinitely. And then for, you know, students who are, uh, you know, applying to college things like sat tests, AP exams, those are likely to be postponed as well. And I know that the college board is also working on, uh, trying to figure out how to do those tests online. But in terms of our own district assessments, um, that will, um, that will be part of, you know, the, uh, the comprehensive program.

Speaker 3: 11:54 Will students be able to have any kind of graduation ceremonies this year?

Speaker 4: 11:59 At this point? We should assume that that will not happen. You know, uh, obviously a graduation ceremony is a large gathering of people and it's, you know, hard to those graduation ceremonies would be regularly scheduled for June 8th and ninth. You know, for most of our students now, if that, if we are in a position to be able to bring our students back onto our classrooms and, and then, and then be able to hold those graduations again, we will do that. And we want to not close that option off because as you know, Marine, none of us know where we're going to be in a month from now or six weeks from now.

Speaker 3: 12:37 Now when it comes to the school food services staying open, what precautions are you taking to make sure the meal program stays safe for everyone involved?

Speaker 4: 12:45 Yeah, so right now it is a, what we call a grab and go program. So families can either drive up or walk up and they're simply going to be handed by either a volunteer or somebody on our food services staff, a, a, you know, a school lunch or a and, and a and a breakfast for the following day. And there's very limited contact, you know, in that, in that process.

Speaker 3: 13:14 What about spring break? Is that taking place as normal?

Speaker 4: 13:18 So again, you know, we, our school is going forward on schedule, so that means this week and next week students should be working. Uh, teachers are fully available to their students. Uh, and again, many students, many teachers have already taken the initiative to do virtual classrooms. Um, but students should be working, you know, this week and next week, the following week, March 30th is the spring break week for all schools. And then traditional calendar schools will resume on April 6th, uh, unlikely to be in their facilities. But again, we'll, we'll resume with what's happening now and then the ramp up to comprehensive online. Um, we'll resume on April 6th and then for the year round schools, a school will resume on April 27th.

Speaker 3: 14:08 Okay. Then quite a lot to deal with. I appreciate your time. I've been speaking with San Diego school board member Richard Barrera. Thank you.

Speaker 4: 14:16 Thank you Maureen.

Speaker 3: 14:17 And please remember that San Diego unified is grab and go school meal program will continue during spring break. This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Cavanagh and I'm Jade Hindman. As businesses closed their doors to prevent the spread of covert 19 many employees have been laid off or had their hours reduced. The state, local and federal governments have been working to put tools in place to help people during this difficult financial time. Andrew Paccar. It is chief programs officer for the San Diego workforce partnership. Oh, an organization

Speaker 5: 14:52 that provides people with information on state benefits. He joins us to talk about what kind of help is out there. Andrew, welcome. Thank you. Happy to be here. So president Trump signed an emergency aid package into law last night. What's your understanding of the type of aid it will provide to people out of work because of Corona virus?

Speaker 6: 15:10 Yeah, we're watching the news carefully to understand what resources are going to become available for uh, San Diego guns. We understand that cash aid is part of that package. Um, but more importantly, what we're watching carefully is an expansion of current unemployment benefits, um, as well as special dislocated worker grants to help those who may have been impacted by the COBIT 19 crisis.

Speaker 5: 15:35 Now those who have been laid off or had their hours reduced, are eligible for unemployment and the waiting period to apply has been waived our part time or self-employed workers eligible for unemployment as well,

Speaker 6: 15:47 part time and self-employed workers can still qualify. Um, and we encourage all to take advantage of these benefits. They can go online and file a claim online through EDIS website or um, call it anytime, Monday through Friday.

Speaker 5: 16:01 We've heard of people having trouble getting through to the EDD online or on the phones. What advice do you have for them?

Speaker 6: 16:08 Yes, we have seen a higher increase in traffic on, um, web, online clams as well as phone calls. Uh, my advice is to hang in there and to keep trying. And if you're still having difficulties, you can find out the phone number of one of our local career centers here on our website, workforce.org and someone standing by to help assist you

Speaker 5: 16:28 for those who are sick and could possibly have coronavirus or have been told to quarantine themselves due to exposure, what financial resources are available to them.

Speaker 6: 16:38 Yeah. In this case, individuals would, will also want to go to EDD. Uh, in this case you'd be filing for disability insurance. Disability insurance can help provide a benefit up to 60 to 70% of wages depending on the income. Um, and whether you're currently sick or on a medical quarantine, uh, you can apply and be eligible for this benefit for up to 52 weeks.

Speaker 5: 17:01 And what financial resources are available for those who are over 65 or have preexisting conditions and are being told to self isolate and can't work remotely?

Speaker 6: 17:10 Yeah. For those individuals who are 65 and plus, they could potentially qualify for both. The first resource I'd have them check out is the disability insurance that I just mentioned where they can supplement wages. They may also qualify for unemployment insurance if they had been working previously. Uh, both benefits can't be claimed at the same time. So I'd encourage all over 65 to go online and find out more about both options and what best fits their situation.

Speaker 5: 17:38 Your organization, San Diego workforce partnership has six career centers to help those looking for unemployment, but they're close to the public right now. How are you now providing services?

Speaker 6: 17:50 That's correct. While our six centers may have closed the doors to walk ins, our staff are still standing by to help everyone impacted by the code of 19 crisis. We're available over the phone by email. We're even setting up zoom meetings to provide all of the great employment and career coaching services that we offer out there. I'll also say that for those EDD and unemployment benefits, um, at this time, we're still open to helping those who may need in-person assistance. At this time. It's only on an appointment basis that could change in the future. But we know that some of our community members may not have access to a computer and internet or phone. Um, and so we want to make sure that all of our resources are available to all who may need them.

Speaker 5: 18:38 And how about small businesses? Is there any help available to them if they've been impacted?

Speaker 6: 18:43 Yeah, absolutely. Uh, with the governor's executive order, we saw that there was extensions in payroll tax filing. There's also through EDD, um, a program called worker sharing program. If you're considering laying off, uh, employees due to the economy in this crisis, there's programs, um, that may help supplement those workers wages to prevent you from laying them off. We also at the local level operate what's called layoff aversion programs, where we're going to be connecting with businesses on a great variety of resources in the community. Um, if in businesses wanted to learn more about that, I encourage all to visit our website, workforce.org to find out more about these programs.

Speaker 5: 19:28 You know, a lot of assistance available to those who have been impacted is in flux. Talk to me about that.

Speaker 6: 19:34 Yeah, that's correct. Um, a lot of social services providers and community providers like us, um, are scrambling to, uh, redirect our services to our a remote level. Um, we're fortunate that we had the technology and infrastructure in place, um, but we're still trying to move more of our content, more of our resources online. So my recommendation for all who are seeking assistance is to continually check both our website, the state's website, um, and resources because as information is becoming available, we're pushing that out to the community.

Speaker 5: 20:08 I have been speaking with Andrew Picard, chief programs officer with San Diego workforce partnership. Andrew, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. Pleasure to be here.

Speaker 7: 20:20 Uh,

Speaker 5: 20:22 Corona virus cases in San Diego County have shuttered businesses and forced residents to stay away from each other. A local lab is hoping to bring relief with its experimental DNA based vaccine. KPBS health reporter Taran mento has been following the progress at ENOVIA pharmaceuticals since January and brings us this update from senior vice president Kate Broderick. Due to extra precautions,

Speaker 3: 20:48 the two spoke just outside the Sorrento Valley lab where Broderick discuss the latest developments.

Speaker 8: 20:55 Yes, certainly. So we've managed to accelerate [inaudible] and the timelines considerably. Tons. So we're now looking at getting into the clinic and next month and April, we don't have an exact date yet. As you can imagine, there's still a lot of organization, a lot of moving parts at the moment. But when you think that we only started and designing this vaccine on the 10th of January is pretty remarkable that we are aiming to be in the clinic by the, the, um, by next month. And another M goal that we've set ourselves is that by the end of the year, we hope to have a million doses and ready for distribution, which is really quite a remarkable scale up from kind of a small scale trial like we're doing at the mall.

Speaker 1: 21:44 But there's still a lot more testing to go. Why we have a million doses ready for distribution by the end of the year. What's the point?

Speaker 8: 21:50 I think it's just really good to have a figure to target. And we thought that on the scale up basis, targeting a million doses that stellar a number that could be used to really protect and people health care workers from lane and medical professionals that are going to potentially need this vaccine. And also potentially people who have underlying health issues as well, which is obviously our tier one group that needs to be protected.

Speaker 1: 22:20 Is the expectation that you would have completed all three trials by that time?

Speaker 8: 22:25 No, absolutely not. So, um, so as I mentioned, we'll be starting our phase one testing and April and we would hope to get what we call an interim readout, which means you know, you would start to get to see and you wouldn't get the whole through trial, but you'll get to um, get some of the details of that certainly by, um, late summer, autumn fall type time. And then we would be hoping to move into a phase two trial, which is where we can actually ask the question, does the vaccine work to protect people against the Vidas? And we would hope to do that very, very quickly, but that would have to of course have the Seesaw of the, to the authorities.

Speaker 1: 23:06 And with the first phase of the trial starting next month, I believe you've already identified those locations. Correct. So we're going to be two sites.

Speaker 8: 23:15 It's for our phase one trial and starting in the U S and April. And we're looking at one site at the university of Pennsylvania on one site and Kansas city.

Speaker 1: 23:26 Based on what you know about how this virus works and how viruses like it work. Is this what we should be doing or should we be doing more? Should we be doing less?

Speaker 8: 23:35 To be completely honest, we don't really have a choice. If we don't do what we're doing right now, the situation will get a lot worse, a lot more quickly. Um, so I, I'm very supportive of all the measures that have been put in place, both at the sort of local and national level. And it seems like the testing now we're starting to come through, we're getting higher numbers of testing and that's absolutely critical. And so, so that's something that's a positive. Definitely. And I'm sure over the days and weeks that's going to improve more and more, you know, in late December when I first heard about this fight as if anybody had asked me would we be essentially shutting down all, all spheres of public interaction in San Diego in a couple of months time, I think I wouldn't have believed that would have been possible. And yet here we are today and it's a reality. It's a reality that my children are at home and you know, predicting not to be at school for another month and it's almost hard for me to get my head wrapped around that and I kind of, I'm living and breathing this everyday so I can't imagine what it's like for everybody else.

Speaker 5: 24:46 That was KPBS health reporter Taran mento speaking with the Novios Kate Broderick

Speaker 7: 24:55 [inaudible].

Speaker 5: 24:57 During San Diego's 2017 hepatitis a outbreak, 20 people died. More than half of them homeless regional officials were criticized for a slow and disorganized response. Now that San Diego is faced with the Corona virus, pandemic officials are pulling from previous experience to slow the spread of novel coronavirus and provide resources to one of the most vulnerable populations. The homeless Lisa Halverstadt, reporter with voice of San Diego joins us via Skype with more. Lisa, welcome. Thank you for having me. You know, there were lots of lessons to be learned from the hepatitis a outbreak. What do you think are, are some of the biggest changes since then that we're seeing being implemented today to address the coronavirus pandemic?

Speaker 9: 25:42 Well, what I saw this time that was different from last time I think was just the immediate sense of urgency around the homeless population. And a couple of days ago I talked to public health officer, Wilma Wootton and I was asking her about this and she just noted that, you know, even though they recognize this is a global pandemic, it affects, you know, people obviously all over the world and the initial guidance that they were being given, um, were, you know, around people traveling or who might've had contact with people with coronavirus that mainly you wouldn't necessarily think the homeless population, um, would be most at risk that they realized because of that experience with the hepatitis a outbreak, that if this coronavirus were to spread to individuals and the homeless population, they are especially vulnerable and the, the pandemic could just spread so dramatically there. So what I've just been hearing great from the start is a lot more focus both of city and County leaders on focusing on what can be done to protect the homeless from this horrible outbreak.

Speaker 5: 26:45 You know, as you point out in your article, there are areas where regional officials are falling short and providing resources to the homeless as the coronavirus pandemic emerges here, what are some of those areas?

Speaker 9: 26:56 So I would just say that there's a sense of confusion and panic out there, um, among the unsheltered population. And then there's also some people that are just completely unaware of what's going on. Um, the city and the County are just really working hard to ramp things up to, to work on their response. But homeless San Diego [inaudible] and providers who work with them tell me that there's been sometimes a lack of clarity around protocols or when certain resources might be available. Um, I mean, I think the important thing to emphasize here is obviously that if you do not have a home, it is very difficult to quarantine yourself or fall. A lot of these social distancing type protocols and shelters and other homeless services are trying to adjust, certainly. But there's also been confusion among the homeless population of if there's somebody who's concerned that they're at risk, what do they do? What is an unsheltered person to do if he or she thinks that they have symptoms, who did they go to if they don't have a healthcare provider? Um, you know, certainly the County has said they're really trying to ramp up these outreach teams, um, that will go out to homeless camps. But, you know, there's a question some have asked, well, what if, what if no one comes to me or how do I proactively get resources or, you know, potentially access health care, um, or, you know, maybe an opportunity to get off the street. Hmm.

Speaker 5: 28:21 Yeah. You know, so far we've seen the coronavirus touch almost every sphere of society, from Congress to the sports world and Hollywood. How vulnerable is the homeless population in particular to outbreaks, including this pandemic?

Speaker 9: 28:35 Extremely vulnerable. So I often like to bring up this, um, UC San Francisco study that was published back in 2016. Um, they studied, uh, some homeless seniors in Oakland over a period of time. And these were people actually in their late fifties, so they weren't, you know, in their older senior years, they were facing health issues that were often similar to people in their seventies or eighties. Just think about that for a minute. Back to speaks to, I mean, literally the, the um, expert who really led that research said basically in the homeless population, 50 is the new 75. So we're talking about a population that, you know, is often experiencing health issues beyond their years. You also have an aging population and you have a population that's, you know, often again living on the street. And so there can be mental health issues that rise up as a result of that or other health issues, um, that can rise up as a result of the stresses of living on the street. And then on top of that, you also have the issue of the fact that homeless people often lack this easy access to all of us who are housed, have to being able to wash our hands and shower every day. Um, these are things that homeless people don't necessarily have easy access to and the lack of good sanitation really can fuel an outbreak. And that's what we saw with the hepatitis a outbreak.

Speaker 5: 30:01 You know, yesterday we heard some homeless shelters are not taking in new people amid this Corona virus outbreak. And there's a lot of concern about what would happen if Corona virus starts spreading among San Diego's homeless. Do you think local public health officials would be ready to respond if that did happen?

Speaker 9: 30:20 Well, certainly they're trying, they'd say that they're trying to make every effort to try to protect this population. Um, they, uh, have, uh, been trying to deploy more outreach to try to get the word out about this outbreak to prevent the worst from happening. Um, they've also been trying to, uh, you know, deploy nurses in homeless shelters, which are particularly risky spaces because of all the close contact, um, to be screening individuals. So I think right now the focus is on, you know, trying to prevent the worst. Um, and, and really, you know, they're hoping for the best.

Speaker 5: 30:57 I have been speaking with Lisa Halverstadt via Skype. She's a reporter with voice of San Diego. Lisa, thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 5: 31:10 The Corona virus pandemic is also affecting the courts and people who depend on that system for justice. The Edelman children's courthouse in Los Angeles, which has been closed for much of the outbreak handles cases of child abuse and neglect. The courthouse is set to reopen tomorrow, but like so much this week that can change. Here's Deepa Fernandez. When Leslie Haim off arrived at court early Tuesday morning, she found a lot of families waiting, so I am over here at the children's courthouse in IRA park where the notice on the courthouse door says that the court is closed for three days and doesn't really provide a lot of information about what to do. Hi. Mav directs the children's law center, which represents old children in the child welfare system in LA and Sacramento. She was the one explaining the closure to confused parents. They were all told to come to court, so they're showing up.

Speaker 5: 32:06 Some of them taking public transportation, some with their babies, with them. Hi Mav worries that the precautionary court closures due to the spreading coronavirus might have other harmful impacts. While we take our civic duty to flatten the curve extremely seriously, we also recognize that there are some situations where there are equally as important concerns for the welfare of a child or of the family that need to be addressed timely and can't be put on hold indefinitely. The Colts will remain closed April 16 for all but time-sensitive and essential functions. This worries grandmother Janine Townsend of Paris, California who relies on a court order to guarantee visitation with her grandson. I'm open. We get a good good. On Friday, the child was removed from his parents and placed with a foster family. She's worried it'll be a long time before she can see him again because they're scared the single wall, but Bobby Cagle who runs the department of family and community services in Los Angeles, the nation's largest child welfare agency in the country says visits with family members will proceed.

Speaker 10: 33:15 We're doing things like telephone calls, face time, Skype.

Speaker 5: 33:19 What worries Kagel more is that his emergency call center, a hotline number that receives between 500 to a thousand calls per day reporting alleged child abuse or neglect has seen a dramatic drop in the number of coals since school's closed on Monday.

Speaker 10: 33:35 Well, we have seen is a 30 to 50% decrease in the amount of calls, the volume of calls over the last couple of days.

Speaker 5: 33:45 Teachers are often the ones that notice when a child might be the victim of abuse and they call the hotline. Now children are confined at home, something that also worries advocates for women who are victims of domestic violence. Common MacDonald is the director of legal services at the Los Angeles center for law and justice. Often staying home is not

Speaker 11: 34:06 the safest plan because the abuser, the person hurting them knows where they live or they live together

Speaker 5: 34:14 and oftentimes again, schools play a critical role in helping women get out of dangerous situations. She says, but with all the closures, the child not going to school to tell their teacher what's happening at home. LA superior court announced that all restraining orders due to expire will automatically be extended 21 days, which is very helpful. McDonald says, but she worries about women, mothers who need a hearing and won't get one. I'm thi Puffin Landis in Los Angeles.

Speaker 11: 34:45 You're listening to KPBS mid day edition. I'm Jade Hindman. I'm Maureen Cavanagh. One thing that we can count on, despite all the uncertainty surrounding us is that spring will come. In fact, it's just around the corner and who better to help us welcome spring time than our gardening guru, host of the KPBS TV series, a growing passion. Nan Sturman Nana. So good to see you. It's great to be here. Thank you for having me. Seven seasons now have a growing passion. It's absolutely a certified hit. Why do you think it's gotten so popular? Well, we're actually shooting season eight and you know, I think it's the stories we tell. We know we tell stories about plants in every setting and I think people are so surprised to see all the ways plants influence our lives and all the really cool stuff happening around our area. And we have a great crew.

Speaker 11: 35:34 We produce beautiful footage and it just all comes together. People are so gracious when we call them and say, Hey, we want to include you in the show. They say, okey-dokey, let's do it. And it's really, it's really fun. Now for our spring gardening in San Diego, we've gotten a good amount of rain lately. How does that determine it? How are planting preparations? Well, you don't want to Groton in the rain because first of all it's wet, but second of all, when the soil is wet, you don't want to step on it cause it Gould compact. Even though it seems like the ideal time to get out there and pull weeds, don't do it. Wait a few days until the water kind of recedes and then get out there and pull your weeds. But wet soil, I mean is we get into spring planting. Having wet soil is a great thing because when you put those little plants in the ground, the first thing they need is to establish their roots.

Speaker 11: 36:23 And if the soil's moist, they have that much easier time doing it. What do you tell people when they ask you the very general question, what should I plant in springtime in San Diego? Are you talking about edible or ornamental? Oh I we can talk about both. Well the rule of thumb for orange for edibles rather is what we're going to plant in spring now is going to carry us through summer. Those are our summer vegetables. So this is what I tell people. If you eat the fruit, the fruit is any part of the plant that has seeds. So that would be tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons, all that. Those generally we grow in summer. It's the last part of the life cycle of a plant and it takes the longest for those plants to ripen and they need the heat. So we grow all, we plant all those in spring so we can eat them through summer.

Speaker 11: 37:10 If we eat the stems, the roots or the leaves, we generally grow those in the cooler seasons. Hobby, lettuce and carrot thing. Do carrots pretty much anytime. But you know, broccoli, cauliflower, all those, those are the cool season crops and those we don't want to be planting now cause it's going to get warm too soon. Those you want to wait until the end of summer and prepare those for next fall and the ornamentals well this is a really interesting question. The drought tolerant Mediterranean climate ornamental, so that would be our California natives and the plants that come from Australia, South Africa, the Mediterranean and the West coast of Chile. Those we really want to be done planting depending on where you are in the County you want to be done planting them by a pro more or less because they want to establish when it's cool. We want to start planting those when the weather cools and fall and plant them all the way through the cool wet weather.

Speaker 11: 38:06 Then they establish easily, you don't want to plant them in the heat cause they'll really struggle. So that would be like Rosemary and Bay and [inaudible] and the beautiful gravillias and that pincushions all of those. When the weather gets too warm, it's too hot. But if you're planting subtropical, so that would be like oranges and the nanas and um, uh, angel trumpet and those kinds of plants. They're a little thirstier but those do better if you plant them now kind of June. Well you can plant them through summer, but they do better if they establish when it's warm when you have them in the ground. What about fertilizers? When should you use them? For vegetables, you want vegetables are very, very hungry plants. They need a lot of fertilizer. So you want to get a really good organic and I like granular, granular vegetable fertilizer and read the label.

Speaker 11: 38:58 You want to fertilize when you plant and then periodically through the growing season, you know, most of those plants are just annual. So by the time we get to winter they'll be gone. If you're planting all those Mediterranean climate plants, I don't fertilize those at all. I mulch them really well and they'd get a little bit of nutrients from the mulch, but they all come from regions of the world where the soil is as lacking in nutrients as, as lean as we call it, as ours may be even leaner so they don't need fertilizer, and in fact, if you fertilize them, sometimes they grow too fast and sometimes they become very susceptible to critters. You know Peston diseases, so you don't want to fertilize them. When you're talking about citrus for example, you start fertilizing those as the weather worms kind of February, more or less, depending again on how close you are to the ocean or how you know how fast your garden warms up.

Speaker 11: 39:47 Again, go for a really good quality organic citrus and avocado food and read the label. It'll tell you for that fertilizer, how much to use, how often do you use it, and when to start and when to finish. In the growing season, you mentioned just a few minutes ago, drought tolerant plants and drought tolerant garden. A few years ago, the big question was how do I replace my lawn and build a drought tolerant garden? Is that still a major concern in San Diego? Yeah, absolutely. And with climate change that's going to be even more of a concern because we're just going to get hotter and drier. And even though I've been going to a lot of conferences lately, so this is something that's really on top of my mind. On the top of my mind, what the experts are telling us is that we may not change the overall amount of rain we get, but it's going to come in very short, fast.

Speaker 11: 40:39 Fear is spurt. So we're going to have longer dry periods in between. Have you yourself seen any effects of climate change on the growth of plants in San Diego? Oh, I sure have. I sure have. There's a lot of plants that are starting to bloom, especially like fruit trees, which bloom in spring. They're starting to bloom at different times and a little or radically our production last year in terms of fruit, which had been, you know, pollinator, uh, fruits that are, that are, um, pollinated by bees and things like that. And I didn't do so well last year. Tomato crops not so well either. What about invasive plants? Do you see how serious of a problem is that in our County? Um, it's a big problem. I don't know that it's a more of a problem than it's been in the past, but invasives are a huge problem because our, our, um, we have such a diverse, we have so many diverse microclimates that lots of plants can get hold and they thrive here and then they do better than thrive.

Speaker 11: 41:35 They escape into habitat and then they take over and a lot of people say, well, what's the big deal? What's the big deal is those habitats are like well oiled machines. They have different parts, the butterflies, the birds, the lizards, all that. If the plant chunk combination changes, the animals can't adapt and so their habitat disappears and then we lose our native habitats and we lose the native butterflies and we lose the native bees, not the honeybees. Those are actually an invasive, um, you know, we just, it's just a domino effect in the seven now eight seasons of a growing passion. You touch on so many of these topics and so much more. How can people see your show? Well, they can tune in at eight 30 on Thursday nights and Sunday at 1130 in the morning, I think it's 1130 maybe 11 1130 and they can see shows. The shows that are airing now are shows that have aired previously as we prepare for the new season. They can also find our shows online on the KPBS website or on our website, a growing passion.com. But there's 42 episodes that are online. You can watch them anytime you want. You don't have to have a television, you can go into the computer and find them. I've been speaking with garden expert, Nan Sterman, host of a growing passion. Nan, thank you so much. Thank you, Maureen.

Local officials say immigrants, regardless of legal status, should continue to seek medical help during the pandemic without jeopardizing their immigration status. Plus, if you’re out of work due to the coronavirus shutdown, there are resources that can help you weather the crisis. Also, even though schools are closed, students still need to learn. San Diego Unified is moving to online instructions. And, a San Diego biotech company is moving its coronavirus vaccine to human trials after getting an expedited approval from the FDA. Finally, Spring is almost here and we have tips on how to get your garden blooming so you can practice social-distancing with a beautiful garden.

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KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.