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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Five New Positive Coronavirus Cases In San Diego County And Other Local News

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Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Friday, March 13th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. There are more new cases of the Corona virus in San Diego County and the Sweetwater union high district may have found a way to close its budget deficit, but it could come at a price.

Speaker 2: 00:18 It goes back to the word hope. I can't tell you how many kids come in here and they've lost hope.

Speaker 1: 00:24 That and more coming up right after the break.

Speaker 3: 00:36 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 00:36 San Diego County has confirmed at least seven new cases of the Corona virus. KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says, officials now believe the virus is spreading here locally.

Speaker 2: 00:48 Two of the new cases are women in their seventies who were aboard the diamond princess cruise ship that docked in Oakland earlier this week. Two were men who may have contracted the virus through travel to Colorado and the fifth case this week as a man who officials believe was infected in San Diego County supervisor Nathan Fletcher told reporters, Thursday things are changing by the hour.

Speaker 4: 01:10 The simple fact is this virus is highly contagious. We know that it is currently spreading throughout San Diego County and we need everyone to come together to take action to try and limit that spread.

Speaker 2: 01:21 The County has the capacity to test only 1200 individuals for the Corona virus. Though commercial and hospital testing are starting to come online. Officials believe there will be more cases in San Diego and there will be deaths. Andrew Bowen KPBS news

Speaker 1: 01:37 at least one Marine is in isolation at air station Miramar presumed to have the coronavirus KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh says others are being tested after the Marine returned from leave.

Speaker 2: 01:50 According to the Marines, a Marine at air station Miramar is presumed to test positive for the virus and is being treated in isolation. The CDC is confirming the results. A second Marine who traveled with him is also being investigated. His movements are being restricted at camp Pendleton. The two traveled to Washington state while on leave. They self reported feeling ill. a number of other Marines are also being investigated after coming into contact with the two Marines after they returned to San Diego, no one else has shown symptoms. The Marines did not have any contact with the cruise ship passengers who are being isolated at Marine air station Miramar. According to the Pentagon, there have been at least six cases of troops infected with the virus. The military is taking a number of steps that contain Corona virus including canceling overseas travel and training. Steve Walsh KPBS news

Speaker 1: 02:38 with new presumptive cases of Corona virus in San Diego County medical centers are anticipating more potential patients. KPBS health reporter Taren Minto goes to Scripps Health's corporate incident command center to see how it's preparing. A handful of people share a banquet table with their own computers and phones on the second floor. Script's corporate offices.

Speaker 5: 03:00 It's one of many operations at scripts locations. President and CEO, Chris van Gorder. Where's the incident commander vest.

Speaker 6: 03:07 We're actually moving this command center downstairs cause we need more room.

Speaker 5: 03:09 He says they're requesting safety supplies from a government emergency stockpile drafting staffing plans in case employees get sick or need to be home if school is closed in, are prepared to use their 99 specialty containment rooms and then some

Speaker 6: 03:23 we will operate up to our maximum capacity. And then we'll bring in additional capacity

Speaker 5: 03:27 that could be surge tents or even a mobile health unit from the state. In extreme circumstances, Scripps is launching a call center for public questions and an exterior testing site. They hope to begin their own testing next week with up to 80 people a day. Taryn mento, KPBS news

Speaker 1: 03:43 San Diego unified school district will keep schools open while it monitors the spread of coronavirus in San Diego County and awaits a guidance from public health officials. Superintendent Cindy Martin spoke at Thursday's press conference hosted by the County.

Speaker 6: 03:59 All decisions are made in concert with the public health officials. We do not make decisions in isolation and we cannot make decisions without the guidance and approval of the public health officials.

Speaker 1: 04:09 Martin said the district would make efforts to cancel gatherings of more than 250 people and recommend that schools keep gatherings to less than 100 people. She added that despite any restrictions, the district will continue to provide the most vulnerable students with the services they need. San Diego County officials have banned all public gatherings of 250 people or more and major sports and entertainment organizations across the country have quickly been canceling their events. KPBS reporter Prius breather has more County officials say smaller events can take place only if organizers can implement social distancing, which means keeping people at least six feet away from each other. Gatherings of higher risk people like the elderly or people with chronic health conditions should be limited to 10 people or less. But dr Nikki UFA NTDs, the county's chief medical officer says the best thing to do for the most vulnerable in our communities is to just stay home.

Speaker 6: 05:07 We are strongly recommending that they cancel all non-essential travel, that they prioritize staying in the comfort and security of their own homes

Speaker 1: 05:21 for a full list of places and events that have been canceled around San Diego. You can visit kpbs.org Prius or either K PBS news. Some restaurants in downtown San Diego say their bottom line is hurting because of coronavirus fears. Eateries in the area usually benefit from thousands of convention attendees, but conferences or canceling KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman spoke to one local business owner who is feeling the squeeze.

Speaker 7: 05:49 The restaurants would tap us and bureaus, so of course we have 20 beers on tap. Also wine and tapas means small plates, but we have small place in France.

Speaker 8: 05:58 I'm French Nial.

Speaker 9: 05:59 Shami is the owner of topis and beers. The restaurant is just blocks away from the convention center, but with events canceling, Shami is getting worried

Speaker 8: 06:06 we can survive March, but if it's more like two, three, four months, yeah, it's going to be very scary for us because we are a small business, so if we, if we do 50% of our sales every day for more than two or three weeks, it's going to be a nightmare.

Speaker 9: 06:18 Already the restaurant is seeing about half the customers as usual this week. They have also been closing early and more than a dozen large corporate events have canceled specifically citing coronavirus concerns. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 06:31 Researchers at UC San Diego have created a tool that can help devices connect to the internet and not only that KPBS science and technology reporter Shalina Celani says this prototype could help batteries and phones and other technology stay charged for years. UC San Diego engineered a niche. Bharatiya says when phones are awake, they are constantly trying to connect to the internet and

Speaker 10: 06:57 I think that signal requires a lot of energy, right?

Speaker 1: 07:00 So Bharatiya thought of a chip about half the size of a SIM card that allows the phone's wifi sensor to sleep and only wake up when a person needs to connect and the chips simply piggybacks off existing wifi readers in the area instead of using energy to generate a second

Speaker 10: 07:17 no. Then it's even sending data. It's thousand times lower power consumption than these wifi phone chips we have right now today.

Speaker 1: 07:26 Bharatiya says the chip could be a game changer for phones. Now he's working on turning it into a product. Shalena shot. Lonnie KPBS news, the Sweetwater union high school district is proposing to eliminate a key alternative education program as part of its effort to close a $30 million budget deficit. KPBS education reporter Joe Hong spoke to students and teachers about how the move could hurt the most at risk students.

Speaker 10: 07:55 Michi Ramas Hagle is a student at Olympian high school in Chula Vista, but she's able to take music classes at Southwestern college. Thanks sir. Schools learning center, an alternative education program for students who don't fit in traditional classrooms.

Speaker 11: 08:07 They think of me as just, Oh, but you just have this, but it's like, no, it's everything together. Um, so ADHD, Asperger's syndrome, that sensory sensitivity, um, dyslexia, dysgraphia. It is calcula. Fibromyalgia

Speaker 10: 08:20 and learning centers can accommodate students like Mitchie. The Sweetwater union high school district opened the learning centers in 1985 as a safety net for students at risk of dropping out. They currently serve 1300 students who need to make up credits to graduate. Many of these students struggle with social anxiety and mental illness. Some have learning disabilities, others have issues at home, so they need more flexible schedules. Learning centers are kind of a mix of independent study and the traditional classroom, they can have quiet study time and get one-on-one help on homework or they can enroll in music classes.

Speaker 11: 08:52 It's in the moment when you're up and you're about to sing. You kind of all of that kind of melts away and it's that moment where anxiety doesn't even exist.

Speaker 10: 09:06 But at last month's school board meeting to a different tune, the Sweetwater school board approved laying off all 32 teachers and the 12 counselors at the district's learning centers in total, the district approved layoffs are almost 240 employees

Speaker 12: 09:20 and we're not gonna take it and we're not gonna stand for dammit.

Speaker 10: 09:25 Spokesman Manny Rubio said the district is still figuring out what will happen to the learning centers in the weeks since the approved cuts, the district has proposed moving learning centers, students to independent study, but learning center teachers say independent study is not a substitute for the program and that cutting the learning centers will hit vulnerable students the hardest. It goes back to the word hope. I can't tell you how many kids come in here and they've lost hope. They thought, Hey, I'm 22 credits behind. I'm never going to graduate Russ. More teachers at the learning center at Sweetwater high school, we catch a significant amount of those kids. The district also has independent study. They have Palomar and they have options. Those catch a smaller percentage, right, but we're enough for you. The numbers on that were the biggest percentage that they have according to data provided by more learning centers currently serve more than three times as many students as independent study and last year learning centers graduated 861 students according to more of this makes learning centers the district's most cost effective alternative education program. In fact, Michio only started at the learning center after being unsuccessful in independent study.

Speaker 11: 10:34 It did not work. I mean they're very vague. They, I mean the instructions are like no instructions at all and they give you a stack of paper and then you go and you see the teacher that you're supposed to see that turn in the work or supposedly ask questions and they don't know.

Speaker 10: 10:47 Alexandra lib SAC, a student at Sweetwater highs learning center. So the news of the proposed cuts might derail her college plans.

Speaker 5: 10:54 I cried, um, because my academic life has been all over the place since elementary school.

Speaker 10: 11:08 Lip sex struggled with depression and anxiety for most of her life. She said to graduate in October, something she never could have imagined just a few years ago. But the learning center has helped her visualize an academic future.

Speaker 5: 11:19 After, after I graduate, I plan to go to community college to go to university, um, and pursue my career. Um, do you know what psychotic clinical and forensic psychology. I want to make my PhD

Speaker 10: 11:37 now. She feels like the rug has been pulled out from under her.

Speaker 5: 11:40 You know, I'm going to have to go to like job Corps or adult school. I don't want to do that. You know, not when they're,

Speaker 10: 11:53 the Sweetwater union

Speaker 1: 11:54 high school district has until May 15th to make final decisions about the cuts. Joel Hong K PBS news, San Diego state university made history in 1970 when it founded the first women's studies program in the country this year. It's celebrating the 50th anniversary of the women's studies departments. And while there's much to celebrate, there are still longstanding gender barriers. KPBS mid day edition host Maureen Kavanaugh spoke to two professors in the department about the barriers women face in politics. Doreen Mattingly, Mattingly's, the current chair of the women's studies department and Houma, Achmed, gosh, the former chair during bringing the conversation to the present day has been distressing for some women to see weak support shown for too strong female candidates for president. How do you account for that? So women and politics is my field and I can give you a full lecture about this, the masculinity of leadership, particularly the executive branch.

Speaker 1: 12:54 Um, and the way that we understand the duties of the president to be like what we understand masculinity to be like. And the difficulty that women have both establishing themselves as a strong leader and as a good woman. And there's a kind of a balancing act, which is almost impossible because they're never going to be more male than the man. So I think that's part of it. I think that this is a context where misogyny is acceptable is I think exceptable form of political discourse. I'm not that many people have the tools to unpack it and to think, you know, that's just flat out misogyny that that is their argument and uh, I'm still, people get persuaded by it because the, you know, online are so saturated with it that I think the needle has moved on. You know, how much is acceptable and in public discourse. How long do you think it'll take to have

Speaker 13: 13:50 a female president? Let me ask you about, let me start with OMA. Uh, I hope sooner than later and I hope in my lifetime, uh, we are getting closer to the idea and the concept and I will confess that I'm very, very disappointed. I thought to name one, Elizabeth Warren would definitely have been up there. Uh, it surprises me, especially as an anthropologist because I think we live in a bubble. Sometimes. We think things are changing faster than they really are. And maybe these are the moments when we have to self reflect, especially in an educational institution to see why things are not moving in the directions we expected them to. And I think these questions are brought about by the lack of popularity of women candidates, uh, even though they are, you know, competing equally or better and more efficiently, but uh, they're not able to sway the masses for some reason in a developed country like the U S because when I look at Asian countries, we have had women leaders

Speaker 1: 14:47 how long during? Well, that's a question that presumes kind of continual progress. Right? So that's one way of looking at it. And another way of looking at it is that we have reached the peak and that where we are now moving backwards. And I think it's a very open historical question as to whether, you know, what we're experiencing now in terms of the aggressive misogyny that's being tolerated is just the blip or the beginning of a shift in women's power and public roles.

Speaker 5: 15:19 Well, I was thinking that this last question of mine was rather silly, but based on what you just said, what do you think the program, the women's studies program might be like in another 50 years? Well, we still need women's studies.

Speaker 1: 15:31 Well, yes, we always tell them you don't want them studies. There's a revolution and the rest of the university, um, even though many people across the campus talk about gender, talk about women in different contexts, we pick the experiences of people who identify as female at the center of what we do, right. There's the, and then rethink our categories, our disciplines, our topics from there. And uh, there's no other place in the university that does that. It's a really a revolution in scholarship because then you begin to realize how much the categories that we take for granted are not based on the lives of people who identify as female. If you think about the concept of work, work versus family, well anybody who does, who does the primary tasks of caring for family will tell you work and family are the same thing. Why would there be different disciplines for them? Why would economics not talk about the family? And so even the very definition of the disciplines comes from, uh, some stability that is unlike the lives of many women. And so I think that that women's studies is and continues to be and hopefully will continue to be a revolutionary form of knowledge. That was professor Doreen Mattingly, who is the chair of the San Diego state department of women's studies and Houma, Achmed, gosh, a professor in the department.

Speaker 5: 17:02 That's it for San Diego news matters today. Consider supporting this podcast by becoming a KPBS member today. Just go to kpbs.org/membership.

The new cases include a man in his 50’s who likely got the virus from someone else in the community. Plus, gatherings of 250 people or more are banned in San Diego until the end of March. And San Diego Unified District schools will stay open for the time being.

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