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San Diego Unified Surpasses State, Nation On Test Scores And More Local News

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San Diego Unified School District outperformed state and national averages on math and reading tests. Hear from superintendent Cindy Marten about how the district has become an academic outlier. Plus, flu season comes around every year and it can send a sudden surge of people to the hospital. Find out how the county is working with hospitals to prevent the next "flu-mageddon." And, a new report looks at how local law enforcement is complying with California's "sanctuary state" law, two years after its passage.

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Friday, November 1st I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. The San Diego unified school district is considered an academic exception and flu season comes around every year, sending a sudden surge of people to the hospital

Speaker 2: 00:18 that, um, impacts our ability to take care of our patients,

Speaker 1: 00:21 preventing the next flu mageddon and more right after the [inaudible]

Speaker 2: 00:25 right.

Speaker 1: 00:33 San Diego unified school district outperform state and national averages on math and reading tests. KPB as education reporter Joe hung spoke with the superintendent about how the district has become an academic exception.

Speaker 3: 00:48 Well, us education secretary Betsy DeVos described this year's national results as devastating San Diego unified has outperformed the state and the country in both math and reading with between 35 and 42% of students meeting proficiency superintendent Cindy Martin attributes the success to a focus on reading

Speaker 2: 01:05 that happens through investment in early literacy. And that's been key to the strategy in San Diego unified

Speaker 3: 01:11 that said, scores for black, Latino and socioeconomically disadvantaged students continue to lag behind throughout the country. Martin says the district will use this data to illuminate and address individual students at each of its schools. Joe Hong K PBS news,

Speaker 1: 01:26 weather conditions that have put San Diego at high alert for wildfires are on their way out. At least for now. Alex tardy with the national weather service says the single digit humidity levels we've had. We'll moderate providing a little more moisture in the air. He said winds are also dying down.

Speaker 4: 01:44 We'll lose most of the wins, so I think for the most part everyone can have a break. The bad news is we're not really out of this type of weather pattern, so we're still potentially susceptible. As we go into November. The first couple of weeks of seeing another Santa Ana

Speaker 1: 01:58 fire risk gradually decreases in November. As the change of rain increases. Tardy says we could see some rain toward the middle of November, but don't bet the house on it. The new government agency that will soon provide electricity to many in San Diego County held its first board meeting. Thursday KPB has Metro reporter Andrew Bowen was there.

Speaker 4: 02:20 The agency's current name is a mouthful. The San Diego regional community choice energy authority, but its goal is simple to provide cheaper and cleaner energy. Cody Hovan is sustainability director for the city of San Diego and the new entities, interim executive director,

Speaker 2: 02:36 they need to establish an implementation plan. So what are we going to do over the next 24 months? Um, what, what is our budget look like? Um, and some of the documents that we have to file for this state, they're gonna be looking at those now and getting an idea of what they'd like to see in them.

Speaker 4: 02:51 The agency will provide power and set electricity rates for San Diego, LA Mesa, Encinitas, Chula Vista, and Imperial beach. Starting in 2021. It hopes to provide a hundred percent renewable energy by 2035. STG and D will continue to operate the electrical grid. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news,

Speaker 1: 03:09 thousands of evacuees who fled Northern California wildfires. Return home KQ EDIS Mary Franklin Harvin asked an expert about the first steps involved to account for damage and returning to routine. Again,

Speaker 2: 03:24 the most important piece of navigating the road to recovery after a wildfire loss, um, is documenting the value of what was damaged or destroyed. That's Amy Buck, cofounder of the consumer advocate, nonprofit United policyholders. Find digital photos of your home and its contents or ask family friends for them. Box says, if you don't have a current copy of your insurance policy, ask your insurer for one in writing today. Track all correspondence in a notebook and start this process as early as you can. It just is a life changing event and it really affects people's mental and emotional state and you don't think as clearly trust the insurance company to do its job, but also verify its findings boxes and look at your insurance claim like a business negotiation for the California report. I'm Mary Franklin heartburn.

Speaker 1: 04:19 A new report looks at how local law enforcement is complying with California's sanctuary state laws. Two years after its passage. KPBS reporter max Rivlin Adler says the report finds that compliance and San Diego isn't as strong as it could be.

Speaker 4: 04:35 Two years ago, California passed SB 54 how did at the time as the strongest sanctuary state laws in the country, it was meant to limit local law enforcement's cooperation with federal immigration authorities like immigration and customs enforcement. Felicia Gomes, a policy analyst with the California immigrant policy center says that compliance with the law in San Diego is a mixed bag. Gomez coauthored the report. She says the Sheriff's department has begun publicly posting the release dates of all people from County jail making it easy for ice to make arrests without needing direct cooperation from the sheriff. It's loopholes like this that Gomez wants to focus on

Speaker 5: 05:10 recognizing that release States are now publicly available. Some of them go very much into detail, such as posting photos of individuals, exact time, exact location that makes it very easy for ice to then go on to that public website and identify the person that they want to pick up

Speaker 4: 05:24 in a statement. The San Diego Sheriff's departments that have began posting release dates in November, 2018 to provide an up to date indicator of an individual's released status to the public. The department also says it is still allowing ice to have workspace in County jails. Gomez says even without full implementation, the sanctuary state law has been effective at driving down ICRs across the state. Max Riverland, Adler, K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 05:48 It's flu season. That time of year when more and more San Diego ones are getting sick and turning up in hospitals. KPBS health reporter, Terran Minto tells how medical

Speaker 2: 05:58 facilities and County officials are bracing for an influx of patients ahead of a potentially severe season. The garage behind sharp Chula Vista medical center houses, crucial emergency equipment, portable sinks, room dividers and military tested tents. Senior safety management specialist, Kathy Muth says it can all be assembled in a [inaudible] back parking lot for a sudden surge of patients increase a patient's that um, impacts the, our ability to take care of our patients like a disaster major accident or an outbreak of a common infectious disease. So primarily we've used them for exercises, thankfully, but we have also used them a couple of times for, um, during the flu season. If the hospital notices more people are coming in with flu symptoms, it can divert them to the tents to keep them from bottlenecking the system. It gives the emergency room a little bit of breathing space. The breathing space is one part of the county's capacity plan to deal with the ebb and flow of the regions urgent medical needs from an unpredictable earthquake to the annual flu season. Officials monitor real time data to spot when the healthcare system is stressed and take action to prevent it from becoming fully overwhelmed.

Speaker 6: 07:13 This is a measure of how busy our hospitals are

Speaker 2: 07:16 inside the county's division of emergency medical services. Senior epidemiologist Joshua Smith is monitoring transfer of care data. That's how long it takes paramedics to hand off a patient to hospital personnel. Is that minutes? Those are in minutes. Yep. It was within normal range during a recent October visit. A little over 19 right. But the busier hospitals get, the more it grows.

Speaker 6: 07:38 So we're looking for a spike, a actually up above 21.33 is our, is our official level, uh, that concern.

Speaker 2: 07:46 Emergency medical services. Medical director, dr Kristy Canuck says data points like this serve as an early warning system that hospitals are reaching their capacity

Speaker 7: 07:57 because it's taking longer for the paramedics to deliver the patient to the healthcare staff at the hospital. It also means that it takes longer for them to be available to respond to the next nine one one call.

Speaker 2: 08:10 This tells her it's time to implement actions outlined in the capacity plan to alleviate the pressure,

Speaker 7: 08:16 potentially waiving requirements that I as the EMS medical director would have authority at the local level to waive for how many paramedics respond

Speaker 2: 08:28 instead of two paramedics, maybe one is sent along with someone who has less advanced skills. The plan is designed for any sort of disaster, but was developed in 1997 to help manage a flu outbreak and the plan has improved each year, especially since 2017 when the County experienced what senior epidemiologist Smith calls flu mageddon

Speaker 6: 08:48 our duty officers, we're, we're being bombarded with reports.

Speaker 2: 08:52 It was one of the most severe seasons on record and after it peaked, Smith looked back at nine one one call volume, transfer of care time and other metrics to identify when it started.

Speaker 6: 09:02 But what we were able to do is take the data from that year and look at it retrospectively and then apply our current system of uh, using metrics and trigger points. And we realized we would have picked up the flu mageddon about two weeks early that year and been a little more prepared

Speaker 2: 09:20 this year. Flu activity is above average, but well within the medical system's capacity. That means at sharp Chula Vista, the surge temps remain in storage. In the meantime, emergency room, doctor Karar Ali says the hospital already has an internal system to mitigate any patient surge from the flu. There's a separate emergency room team to triage less severe cases,

Speaker 6: 09:43 an asset, uh, an indispensable asset during the flu season.

Speaker 2: 09:47 Instead of waiting among patients in dire situations, people with flu symptoms are diverted to the team that addresses only mid-level patients.

Speaker 6: 09:55 I mean, they're in and out, you know, in in a very short amount of time that

Speaker 2: 09:58 keeps patient satisfaction up, emergency staff morale high and can help keep the County from triggering it's capacity plan. Taryn mento KPBS news. Thanks for listening to San Diego news matters. If you liked the show, do us a favor and tell your friends and family to subscribe to the show.

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San Diego News Matters

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.