Skip to main content

San Diego County Launching Weekly Flu Reports Ahead Of Potentially Severe Season And More Local News

Cover image for podcast episode

Two San Diegans have already died from the flu so far this season, pushing the county to begin its weekly flu updates slightly earlier this year. Plus, in cities all over California, medical professionals are now part of homeless outreach teams keeping the homeless healthy and out of the ER. Also ahead on today’s podcast, even though recreational marijuana was legalized in California, pot dispensaries still can't open a bank account. Congress is looking to change that. And, we take a look at the business power of Twitch and TwitchCon.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Monday, September 30th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. San Diego County begins its weekly flu update slightly earlier this year and cities all over California medical professionals are now part of homeless outreach teams.

Speaker 2: 00:18 These patients are very sick. These patients die very young. They need medical care. Let's get better medical care to them and let's give them a better medical home that they can come into that

Speaker 1: 00:27 more San Diego news stories right after the break.

Speaker 3: 00:31 Uh,

Speaker 1: 00:33 thank you for joining us for San Diego news matters. I'm Deb Welsh to San Diego. Guns have already died from the flu so far this season. KPBS health reporter Taryn Minto says that pushed the County to begin its weekly flew updates slightly earlier this year. The county's weekly Roundup of flu illnesses and fatalities will launch on Wednesday. That's about a week earlier than last year. San Diego counties. Dr Eric McDonald's as the County has tallied nearly 200 cases of flu since tracking for this season officially began in July,

Speaker 2: 01:05 which is a little higher than what we would expect at this point in the year, but it's about the same as it was at this 0.2 years ago, and that was a very severe season.

Speaker 1: 01:15 But looking over the last three years, the average number of flu cases for around this time is 94 with zero reported deaths. The flu vaccine is currently available and recommended for people at least six months old. Taryn mento KPBS news, it's been almost two years since recreational marijuana was legalized in California, but pot dispensary still can't open a bank account. KPBS a Sarah Casianos tells us Congress is trying to change that. Congress passed the safe banking act last week, which allows federal banks to provide services to growers, dispensaries, and manufacturers of cannabis products. Banks that work with cannabis companies currently face legal penalties because marijuana remains illegal on the federal level. Forcing these companies to operate on a cash only basis. SDSU marketing lecturer and cofounder of bottom line marketing mural Kopech says that the bill would allow cannabis companies to store money safely, take out loans and accept credit cards which could benefit the economy.

Speaker 1: 02:15 That takes away a little bit from the tax base because if you are able to open it up where I can expand these businesses or I can accept credit cards, the demand might actually go up quite a bit. In order for the safe banking act to become law, it needs to pass the Senate and be signed by the president Sarah [inaudible] K PBS news, the San Diego convention center. This past weekend hosted TwitchCon full of big events and gamers decked out in costumes. KPBS editor Tom fudge says the business potential of their favorite web platform. Twitch is impressive and growing.

Speaker 4: 02:51 Okay, let's be clear. TwitchCon is not Comicon, which has an attendance more than four times the size, but this weekend's congregation of enthusiasts in San Diego was evidence of how far Twitch's come. Mural COPEC is a marketing lecturer at SDSU and co founder of bottom line marketing. He says the Twitch platform has some competition. When it comes to video gaming, but Twitch is the biggest in the last three months alone. Over 2.7 billion live streaming hours have been viewed on Twitch, which is bigger than YouTube gaming and Facebook gaming combined by a factor of three. So this is really big. Twitch was bought for $1 billion by Amazon five years ago in addition to East sports and dress ups. TwitchCon this year, featured panels on climate change, drag Queens streaming and around table with NASA, Tom fudge, gay PBS news.

Speaker 1: 03:42 California has filed more than 60 lawsuit against the Trump administration on everything from the border wall to the U S senses. But is the state really winning in court? His top Democrats have claimed capital public radio's PolitiFact reporter Chris Nichols. As more

Speaker 5: 03:58 listen to president Trump and he'll tell you he's all about winning.

Speaker 2: 04:03 We can't stand winning so much. You remember I used to say that right?

Speaker 5: 04:09 Governor Gavin Newsome and attorney general Javier Bissera say it's California that's winning, at least in court.

Speaker 2: 04:16 The vast majority of the lawsuits, uh, been adjudicated in favor of California where the most [inaudible] Trump state in the United States of America.

Speaker 5: 04:24 So what does the record show? Most of the lawsuits are still pending, but of the completed cases, California has prevailed 16 times against just three losses. That's according to Marquette political science professor Paul Nicolette, who's tracking the lawsuits. They think it's very accurate that California has had great success in court against the Trump administration. Looking at both those completed cases as well as looking at those other cases that are still working their way up through the system. Both the governor and the ag are on the right track, but with about 40 cases still yet to be determined. There's no guarantee they'll always have a winning record. We rated their claims mostly true in Sacramento. I'm Chris Nichols,

Speaker 1: 05:10 like Santa C DRO and the Mexican port of entry in Nogales, Arizona has suffered from poor air quality, but the air Nogales improved dramatically after a joint inspection program was implemented three years ago. That's according to a study commissioned by the EPA or Hey Valencia reports from [inaudible] from terrorist desk in Mexico city

Speaker 6: 05:31 three years ago. U S customs and border protection implemented a joint inspection program with their Mexican counterparts that sped up crossing inspections for some cargo trucks. So the staff at the North American research partnership, a Phoenix based think tank, went to find out whether that resulted in better air quality. Eric Lee is the lead author of the study and he says they were surprised to find there was a significant reduction in the emissions of carbon dioxide and particulate

Speaker 5: 05:58 matter.

Speaker 7: 05:58 We absolutely expected to see an improvement in air quality, but, but not quite 85% so yeah, we were. We were pleasantly surprised.

Speaker 5: 06:06 The study was conducted in the spring of 2018 it does not account for unrelated increases and border wait times later in the year in Mexico city. I of course, Hey Balenciaga,

Speaker 1: 06:17 a growing number of California cities are banning e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco products, Capitol public radio, Scott rod reports on hell. Some lawmakers see this as a tipping point for a statewide ban.

Speaker 5: 06:29 It began with San Francisco banning e-cigarettes in June than Richmond and Livermore. Ben flavored tobacco products. Now, cities like Los Angeles and San Jose are considering their own bands. Sacramento democratic assemblyman, Kevin McCardy says these local efforts are building momentum behind statewide legislation.

Speaker 8: 06:46 Yeah, this all started by cities stepping up and doing what's right and then you know it's common sense and you don't want all these cities having different rules on this. It's better to have a statewide rules.

Speaker 5: 06:57 McCarty compares it to local bans on plastic bags, which eventually led to a statewide law that took effect in 2016 governor Gavin Newsome called for a bill to ban flavored e-cigarettes in California last week, but that we'll have to wait until next year's legislative session. Popular e-cigarette company jewel declined an interview request, but said California should focus on preventing teen access to tobacco products instead of broader bands in Sacramento. I'm Scott rod,

Speaker 1: 07:23 the homelessness crisis in California gets labeled a public health crisis time and time again, but for those living it, homelessness is a personal health crisis multiplied more than 100,000 times over statewide. Our California dream collaboration is looking at solutions to some of the problems facing the state. Matt Tenneco of KPCC has this story from LA on how outreach workers or addressing some of those health needs.

Speaker 9: 07:51 It's a hot September morning and I'm walking down a street in Venice, Los Angeles with Dr. Cole lay King. Here's third in rows. It's a sprawling block, long homeless encampment with maybe 30 tents under the beating late morning sun Kings, one of the doctors in the LA County who practices what's called street medicine.

Speaker 2: 08:09 These patients are very sick. These patients die very young. They need medical care. It's let's get better medical care to them and let's give them a better medical home that they can come into.

Speaker 9: 08:18 King works out of a nearby free medical clinic that he refers all his patients to living on the street shaves 30 years off a person's life expectancy. The median age of death outside is about 52 the goal of street medicine is to proactively include people in a healthcare system that's otherwise inaccessible until they hitch a ride in an ambulance to the ER

Speaker 2: 08:39 and how you feel now on these medications. I love these medications cause I'm not tired.

Speaker 9: 08:45 Shawnda Thorton has been on several of those expensive hospital trips since she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure back in January.

Speaker 2: 08:51 I feel when you walk a block or two I feel fine. I can walk the way up to the 99 cent store and back.

Speaker 9: 08:57 She's in her forties and has been in the hospital more than not this year.

Speaker 2: 09:01 September is the first month that I haven't,

Speaker 9: 09:04 Sean does conditioned would be challenging even if she wasn't homeless. She was given a defibrillator vest and instructions to always aware it, but it malfunctions. SG sweats through the summer living inside her nylon tent.

Speaker 2: 09:15 It was said that I was having a heart attack but I was just really perspiring a whole lot

Speaker 9: 09:19 so she keeps the vest in its box and a shopping cart beside her tent. She doesn't have a place to charge it.

Speaker 2: 09:25 It's like a pain and trying to keep it, keep it going.

Speaker 9: 09:28 So Dr. King works a compromise, stay on her meds, get checked up in the clinic every now and then and make sure her encampment, neighbors know to call nine one one if they see her in trouble. For Dr. King, the goal is to ensure Shonda has access to ongoing medical care that keeps her out of the ICU.

Speaker 1: 09:46 Street medicine has been a vehicle to stop the bear go round a little bit.

Speaker 9: 09:51 Corrine Feldman is a USC researcher who studies health outcomes for homeless patients. Reducing the Merry go round trips in and out of the hospital by homeless people is basically the main reason there's more medical practitioners working on the street everywhere in the state than there ever has been before. LA County has almost 40 teams on any given weekday reaching homeless people where they are.

Speaker 1: 10:11 There's a multitude of reasons why they might legitimately want to access that care, but they legitimately cannot.

Speaker 9: 10:17 Research shows that street medicine can encourage patients to more regularly seek medical attention that can lead to reduced ER visits and greater overall trust between patients and homeless outreach providers. The reality is though, people are going to be on the street for the procedural future. King says Californians need to look beyond the garbage and tense and to really see the people out there who are struggling to survive.

Speaker 2: 10:40 The pitfall of labeling a public health crisis. It becomes a reactionary, not in my backyard issue where it doesn't need to be that that's, that's not what this is about. This is about the individuals who are sicker than the rest of us and are dying sooner than the rest of us.

Speaker 9: 10:54 That is the squalid conditions on the street are mostly a risk for those who live in them. Not so much the rest of us. As for Shonda when it comes to getting off the street, she's actually doing better than most.

Speaker 2: 11:07 Right now I'm searching. I have a voucher. I'm searching for housing.

Speaker 9: 11:11 A public housing voucher is a major step towards finding a home. The next is actually locating somewhere to use it. Her problem is just that she's been sick though. She's had several appointments to meet with property managers.

Speaker 2: 11:23 Every time I had an appointment or something, I would be in the hospital,

Speaker 9: 11:26 which means her voucher is now close to expiring. Dr King's job is to make sure she stays on her meds, stays out of the hospital, and actually has time to find a place to live. The street is no place to heal.

Speaker 2: 11:38 You can work on it. This is certainly a place to start working, but to fully heal out here, I don't think, I don't think it's possible,

Speaker 9: 11:47 but it's the only place Shonda has to start from Los Angeles. I'm Matt to

Speaker 1: 11:53 thanks for listening to San Diego news matters. If you like the show, do us a favor and tell your friends and family to subscribe to the show.

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

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.