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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Several Democrats Sickened With Virus, Election Gatherings Appear To Be Source And More Local News

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Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Wednesday, March 25th. I'm Deb Welsh and you are listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. The Cova 19 pandemic leaves hundreds of thousands of San Diego County workers at risk of layoff and Corona viruses affecting one of the industries that helped define the San Diego region.

Speaker 2: 00:19 We have had trouble with uh, when I was a tuna fisherman with some of the tuna canneries closed, but nothing, nothing like this

Speaker 1: 00:26 that more coming up right after the break, County officials announced Tuesday a second death from Cova 19 of a person who was in their late seventies. KPBS reporter Shalina Celani says, officials have taken new policy action to address residential and business financial concerns.

Speaker 3: 00:52 The total number of cases in San Diego has climbed to 230 with two of those cases occurring with an infants official say this is just the tip of the iceberg. But supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the County is trying to address economic concerns. It officially put a hold on evictions for residential and commercial renters for several months and it has dispersed funds from the community response fund.

Speaker 4: 01:14 Uh, to date $950,000 has been granted out, uh, to individuals who are in need of help with food security, with rental or utility assistance, uh, with income replacement or gap funding.

Speaker 3: 01:26 A law enforcement official said the County has not issued any citations yet for violations of the state's state home order. He says officials are relying on voluntary compliance but can issue fines up to a thousand dollars if they need to. Shelina trot Lani KPBS news.

Speaker 1: 01:41 New data from the San Diego workforce partnership shows nearly 200,000 Californians filed for unemployment in the first few days of partial business closures or layoffs and restrictions could be on the way as cases of coronavirus continue to rise. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says businesses and restaurants are trying to find new ways to keep their doors open and staff employed.

Speaker 5: 02:06 It sucks having to fire or get rid of good people for no reason or their own, you know, or our own

Speaker 6: 02:12 Brant. Crenshaw is the co owner of social tap in downtown. He's had to lay off nearly all of his staff.

Speaker 5: 02:17 They've all been extremely understanding. They are all in the industry. They're seeing all their friends in the industry have the same fate. Right now

Speaker 6: 02:24 only a handful of staff remain as the restaurant is now trying to change its business model from mainly dining orders to take out and delivery. If he can build up that side of the business, he'll be able to hire back more staff.

Speaker 5: 02:35 We're working our butt off to try to get these people back to work so we can flip our business on its head, get the money coming back in so we can hire our people back.

Speaker 6: 02:44 Crenshaw says, if people don't support restaurants now, some will close and never reopen. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 02:50 Well, many California businesses are closed due to the Corona virus. The construction industry remains open and that's because governor Gavin Newsom designated it along with some other businesses as an essential service that builds critical infrastructure in the state. Dan Dunmore, you're of the California building industry association says this keeps home-building alive and construction workers employed.

Speaker 7: 03:14 You have hundreds of thousands of families that will have a paycheck and will be able to continue to bring in groceries, pay rent, and not get behind.

Speaker 1: 03:24 Builders say they're asking workers to stay six feet apart, not to share tools and not to eat meals together. All to prevent the spread of Cova 19 some of the other jobs in the state designated as essential farm workers. Those in the energy industry, transportation, logistics, manufacturing, communications and information technology. On election day, San Diego County was still a week away from officially reporting community spread of the coronavirus, but it now appears that the days before and after the March 3rd primary or the beginning of an outbreak is sick and several people in the local democratic party, KPBS reporter Claire tragus or has details, four people including the San Diego County democratic party chairman, will Rodriguez Kennedy have tested positive for the virus. Two of them, Rodriguez Kennedy and tool Avista, Councilman Steve Pedea are in intensive care at local hospitals. The others are recovering at home. Other people active in the party are also self isolating and showing symptoms of coven 19 but as of now, there aren't reports of more positive tests.

Speaker 1: 04:34 That's according to party spokeswoman Eva Posner. She says the four who did test positive spend time together on election night and at events before and after the election. We all naturally spend a lot of time together, but we also spend a lot of time out in the community, especially our candidates and elected officials, so it could have come from anywhere and it could have spread in several different ways. Posner says the biggest concern right now is not politics, but that everyone gets better. Claire Trag, sir KPBS news, governor Gavin Newsome is closing parking lots at some state parks and beaches to discourage California's from crowding public spaces during the Corona virus pandemic cap radios, Nicole Nixon reports the closures come after some state parks reported record visitation over the weekend, a weekend when Californians were supposed to be staying home. Newsome called out. Young people in particular telling them to heed the warnings and practice safe social distancing.

Speaker 8: 05:34 You can't do that when you're recreating a, as you have in the past, so please, please let us all step up our game and recognize our obligation not to store ourselves but to each other to meet this moment.

Speaker 1: 05:49 The governor also said updated projections for the Corona viruses spread show California could need an additional 50,000 hospital that's

Speaker 9: 05:58 up from 20,000 last week. Newsome is trying to bring on retired and student health care workers and says the state is trying to secure enough personal protective equipment to last a three month surge in Sacramento. I'm Nicole Nixon.

Speaker 1: 06:13 Ocean beach residents are living without their beaches and waves as the city tries to slow the spread of the coven. 19 virus KPBS reporter Eric Anderson says that's not the only thing. Closed

Speaker 10: 06:25 yellow police tape is a line of demarcation and police are on hand to make sure people observe the city's ban on using local beaches, but beaches aren't the only things that are closed in ocean beach. The neighborhoods only public restroom located at the lifeguard tower is shut down. San Diego. Doug Mattson. Thanks. That's a problem.

Speaker 11: 06:46 It was about a hundred homeless people that hang on, hang around here a lot and I'm just wondering where they're going to go to the bathroom. I think we know where that's going to go and that's going to create problems. I think

Speaker 10: 06:59 people were mostly observing the closure today and there were plenty of police on hand to remind them

Speaker 12: 07:05 they got too close, friendlier, minor folks are boardwalks and beaches are closed. Thank you.

Speaker 10: 07:11 Eric Anderson. KPBS news,

Speaker 1: 07:13 the Trump administration is controversial, remained in Mexico program which sent asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait for their court dates has been placed on hold for at least a month due to the Corona virus. Pandemic KPBS reporter max Willa never has the story.

Speaker 13: 07:30 For the past two weeks as schools, businesses and government offices closed down to STEM, the spread of Corona virus immigration courts in San Diego have remained open for asylum seekers in the remain in Mexico program. That changed on Monday when the department of justice issued a statement saying all remain in Mexico. Hearings have been postponed to at least April 22nd due to coven 19 most asylum seekers are living in crowded shelters in Tijuana as they await their court dates. Monica long Eureka and attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial counties believes this leaves them vulnerable to the pandemic.

Speaker 1: 08:04 Many people are forced to live in these. These very highly concentrated, very dense shelters. You know, their, their risk of contagion has heightened

Speaker 13: 08:13 longer. Eureka and other advocates have called on the Trump administration to accept people in the remain in Mexico program into the U S while their asylum cases wine through the courts max with Adler KPBS news.

Speaker 1: 08:25 California is under stay at home. Orders are flocking to grocery stores and stocking up on essential goods. That means some shoppers who rely on government subsidies may be left with few options. That's the case for beneficiaries of a program called WIC, spelled WIC. It helps low income women, infants, and children get nutritional food. Sarah D is with the California WIC association, says eligible items have a sticker next to the price tag on the shelf. Non-work can use those logos to identify what maybe they would want to skip if there's a comparable option available. Congress has appropriated half a billion dollars in additional funding for the program. In light of the Corona virus outbreak, the international Olympic committee or IOC has decided that the Tokyo summer Olympics set for late July cannot go ahead and schedule this year because of the Corona virus outbreak. Debbie Meyer is an Olympic swimming champion who won three gold medals during the 1968 Mexico games.

Speaker 1: 09:26 She's a swim coach in Truckee now. I am happy I'm astatic that they postponed it. Meyer says delaying the games will help keep people safe from the virus. She says there are other benefits too. It gives athletes that are injured right now whose trials aren't until July or end of June, a chance to recover. It helps athletes that are right on the cusp of making trials to make the Olympic team to have a little more time to prepare. The IOC says the games will be held no later than summer 2021. The impact of Corona virus on San Diego's economy is a long way from being determined. But the pandemic has already affected industries throughout the city, including one that helped define it. I knew source reporter Brad Racino explains,

Speaker 14: 10:21 do you know what if you want them cleaned up

Speaker 15: 10:23 once called the tuna capital of the world. San Diego is home to some 130 commercial fishermen who bring in millions of pounds of fish each year. But the restaurants that buy the vast majority of their catch have closed to contain the pandemic. Now, the Saturday fish market, which is allowed to remain open on the San Diego Bay is the fleet's main way to reach customers.

Speaker 2: 10:46 It's hard when, um, if you catch thousands of pounds of fish to sell to a consumer,

Speaker 15: 10:52 David Hayworth is a San Diego commercial fishermen. Even with decades of experience in the industry, nothing has prepared him for this.

Speaker 2: 11:00 We have had trouble with, uh, when I was a tuna fisherman, when some of the tuna canneries closed, but nothing, nothing like this. So, yeah, I've never, I've never seen it like this. No, not this. Not this bad.

Speaker 15: 11:12 San Diego's fishermen have never lived through anything quite like this. Pandemic. Tim Jones, captain of the gutsy lady said he's decided to shut down and wait out the storm.

Speaker 16: 11:23 So we got a PR insurance, we got a PR slip fees, but as soon as we're done this little maintenance thing that we're doing, we're just going to shut it down. It's going to hurt, but I'm sure we'll get through it.

Speaker 15: 11:38 Coronavirus isn't the first to test the resilience of San Diego's commercial fishermen, environmental restrictions, foreign competition and other factors eviscerated this once thriving sector of the local economy, beginning in the 20th century. Today, less than 10% of the seafood consumed by San Diegans is domestic and grocery store shelves are more likely to display fish from China, Thailand, or Vietnam than from California. But San Diego has an open air fish market. I visited it on Saturday. Curious whether anyone would show downtown was mostly empty, safer joggers taking advantage of the open streets, but along the dock, hundreds of customers lined up to buy fish. There were indicators of the new normal fishmongers or surgical masks. Harbor police insured customers did six feet apart and hand sanitizer a bounded, but Hayworth and most of the other vendors sold out within a few hours.

Speaker 2: 12:40 Just important for us if the public could support us too and try to buy local and uh, go through the little extra effort if they have to to drive down, let's say to tuna Harbor Dockside market or other markets up and down the coast where they can buy direct from the fishermen right now because they're the middleman are all, uh, you know, temporarily out of business.

Speaker 15: 13:02 Wow.

Speaker 1: 13:05 Fish markets in California are considered essential and will remain open during the States. Stay at home order. A slice of San Diego's original economy determined to survive the world's latest disruption. For KPBS I knew source reporter Brad Racino to see photos from Saturday's fish market go to. I knew source.org I knew source is an independently funded nonprofit partner of KPBS. 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.

It appears that the days before and after the March 3 primary were the beginning of a COVID-19 outbreak that's so far struck four members of the local Democratic Party. And around 350,000 San Diego County workers are at high risk of layoffs and reduced hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, The county Board of Supervisors approved a moratorium on evictions for both residents and small businesses located in the unincorporated area.

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