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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Largest Single-Day Loss of Life Yet

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On Tuesday, San Diego County officials announced the greatest single-day jump in fatalities: 12 more people in the county have died from the virus. That's a total of 31. Also on the San Diego News Matters podcast: the overall coronavirus testing ability in San Diego is ramping up, a wearable device researchers say could help healthcare workers stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic, some creative downtown coronavirus communications and more local news you need.

The state is giving San Diego $3.7 million to help its homeless population through the coronavirus pandemic.

The funds will help pay for the use of the Convention Center as a homeless shelter.

The makeshift shelter is expected to house more than 800 people.

Tamera Kohler, CEO of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, told the San Diego City Council on Tuesday the work doesn't end when the pandemic is over.

HOMELESS 2A
Our goal is to safely shelter those in the Convention Center, but it is also to help those in our system exit to housing and to bring more people in off the streets.

The city hopes to bring an additional 700 homeless people off the streets and into the Convention Center in coming weeks.

At full capacity, this effort will cost an estimated 2.8 million dollars per month.

Beat

Six detainees and five employees at the Otay Mesa Detention Center have now tested positive for COVID-19.

The private detention center houses people in immigration and federal custody.

Immigration attorney Dorien Ediger (Edi-ger) - Seto (set-o) told KPBS the detention center is ill-equipped to handle a coronavirus outbreak.

DETAINEES 2A
The measures that the facility took to control the disease came far too late, and really the facility is not designed to manage any sort of infectious disease outbreak like the one they're seeing.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties filed a lawsuit against the government, trying to secure the release of detainees who are especially vulnerable to the virus.

Beat

And the latest covid-19 numbers...San Diego County officials on Tuesday began reporting - for the first time - the estimated number people RECOVERED from COVID-19. Officials put that number at 201.

But on Tuesday they also announced the greatest single-day jump in fatalities. 12 more people in the county have died from the virus… bringing the countywide total to 31.

But that bump didn’t happen in the last 24 hours. The county's public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten says the large one-day increase includes fatalities that occurred over a wider time period.

Tuesday covid 1A
(:09) "They have occurred over the past several days, so it takes time to also confirm the deaths and complete the death certificate."

The county also reported an additional 50 confirmed cases of the illness, bringing the region's total up to 1,454.

But there’s some light, folks…

Beat

On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the coronavirus curve — a metric public health officials use to monitor the spread and anticipate the peak number of cases — appears to be flattening in California.

GOVERNOR PRESSER 200407 (cut from 14:17 ish to whatever works)
“That curve continues to rise but just not at the slope that was originally projected,”

In other words: Eventually….This too shall pass.

Beat

I’m Kinsee Morlan and you’re listening to San Diego News Matters.

It’s Wednesday, April 8.

If you have a question about our region and the coronavirus, please call (619) 452-0228‬ and leave a voicemail. Or, if you have a story about how you’re staying connected through the coronavirus...creative pandemic pivots as I’ve started calling them, I want to hear those stories, too. Again, the number to call is 619-452-0228.

Stay with me for more of the news you need.

Midroll 1

The number of Californians getting tested for the coronavirus continues to climb.

And local testing is ramping up.

KPBS Reporter Erik Anderson reports.

TESTING 1


San Diego County medical officials are ramping up their ability to test screen people for the disease. UC San Diego officials say they are pretty close to being able to check more than a thousand COVID-19 tests a day. US infectious disease specialist David Pride – Speaking on KPBS MidDay Edition-- says the university’s local lab is now processing several different kinds of approved tests

“This is something that most laboratories, including ours, wouldn’t do in normal times, but we’ve got such large patient demand for testing that we felt like if we diversified early then we would be able to manage obtain the materials that we needed to meet our patients demand.”

Pride says UCSD researchers are also close to rolling out a test that can deliver a positive reading in just five minutes, and a definitive negative reading in 15.

Erik Anderson KPBS News

UC San Diego researchers are part of a nationwide effort to study whether a wearable device can help predict if a person is getting sick.

KPBS science and technology reporter Shalina Chatlani says the device could help healthcare workers stay safe during the pandemic.

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EARLYWARNING 1

When people go to the doctor they get their vital signs checked -- like temperature and pulse -- to help determine whether they are sick.

But what if those signs could be measured 24/7? That's the idea behind a nationwide study, says UCSD bioengineer Benjamin Smarr.

SMARR:So when you have continuous temperature… you can actually say is that structure a nice stable lapping waves of a healthy body.. Or is it getting roiled up and a storm is coming?

Researchers have teamed up with Finnish company Oura, which makes a ring that continuously tracks vital signs. People volunteer to wear the ring and record their symptoms.

Marco Lee, a neurosurgeon the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center near San Jose, is participating along with some of his colleagues

LEE: Wearing the Ouroring could spot some temperatures you may not notice, and that could hopefully prompt the person to take their symptoms more seriously… but at the end of the day we don't know how useful the ring… that's why there's a study and hopefully we get a lot of participants.

The ring has already been distributed to thousands of healthcare workers. Bioengineer Smarr says they're hoping to collect enough data to provide early warning signs when someone is getting sick with an illness like coronavirus.

Shalina Chatlani, KPBS news.

Health officials are now recommending people going out in public wear face coverings to slow the spread of coronavirus.

But there is a right and a wrong way to use them.

KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman spoke to a doctor about the new normal of covering our faces in public.
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MASKS 1 (:51)

The goal of it is to basically be able to cover your nose and your chin

Dr. Joelle Donofrio (Don-off-rio) -Ödmann (ode-a-man) is an assistant professor of clinical medicine at UC San Diego, an ER doctor and the associate medical director for the city of San Diego. She says a variety of different materials will work, like cloth, but it should be able to pass a light test.

5:42.260
So if you hold it up to a light can you see through? And if it's one of those materials that's very very see through and you're seeing a lot of work through it's not going to work because if light is getting through than virus particles can too

While it might be hard, people also need to remember not to touch face coverings as it will contaminate the mask.

15:22.239
It's not a I'm going to wear it out in public and get it all germed and contaminated I'm going to through it my purse I'm going to pull it back out and put it over my face that is how you inappropriately use it

Reusable face coverings should be washed regularly.

Matt Hoffman, KPBS News.

Jails were not made for social distancing, excessive handwashing and all the other things we’ve been told to do in order to stay safe during the pandemic.

But there are things that can and are being done to keep inmates and the people who work in local prisons and jails safe.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore joined Midday Edition’s Maureen Cavanaugh earlier this week to talk about the department's response to the pandemic.

Gore Midday Edit

OK, before I go. I want to leave you with this.

Coronavirus communications

Hopefully, you’ve seen the videos of Italians singing together from the safety of their balconies while they were isolated during the worst of the pandemic there.

Well, What you’re hearing under me right now is an instagram video of people in high rises in the east village near Harbor Drive in downtown san diego.

In the video, people are flashing on and off their lights and hollering back and forth.

It’s a beautiful little moment of people connecting in the time of covid-19 isolation.

Coronavirus communications

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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.