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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Virus Spread At Senior Residential Communities Could Trigger Staffing Shortages And More Local News

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Speaker 1: 00:01 [inaudible].

Speaker 2: 00:01 It's Thursday, March 26 I'm Shelina chat Lani. And you are listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. Virus spread at senior residential communities could trigger staffing shortages and for rural schools in San Diego, online learning isn't really an option, but if you're over in any of these little ravines, you, you don't get a direct signal. That and more San Diego news stories coming up.

Speaker 1: 00:34 [inaudible]

Speaker 2: 00:36 biotech companies in California or not included on governor Gavin Newson's list of essential businesses when he issued a stay at home order. But Joe Panetta, CEO of industry group Biocom says they are essential because they are providing life saving therapies and innovations.

Speaker 3: 00:50 We don't have any clear and specific language yet, uh, from the state of California, uh, as to how many of our various types of biotech companies can be allowing their employees to, to, to work during this time.

Speaker 2: 01:08 He says he'd like to see a broader exemption, but in the meantime, he says many biotechs are working to hand over their share of medical supplies like gloves and mass to healthcare providers. We've all had to make adjustments to our daily lives to try to stop the spread of coronavirus. But some have also had to make last minute changes to major life events. This past weekend, the mother of KPBS photo journalist Andy Duke lith got married KPBS reporter Prius Streeter showed us how they did a wedding in the middle of a global pandemic.

Speaker 4: 01:35 Beatrice cast Anita and her soon to be husband. Rick keen had planned a small wedding for mid-March, but they had to change their plans quickly when it became clear that none of their wedding guests would be able to travel safely to San Marcos because of the rapidly spreading Corona virus.

Speaker 2: 01:53 Should we scheduling our wedding would have been really hard for them. Um, so this is the best we could do, you know, and it's so wonderful to have technology so they can, they are with us here.

Speaker 4: 02:04 Instead around 45 guests from Colorado, California, Mexico, and even Italy were able to watch the ceremony on a video conference call cast. Anita, his daughter Erica is under a quarantine in Italy where she moved a few weeks ago to work as a nanny. It is strange.

Speaker 5: 02:23 I know mom get married on like Zhou was, she means like the university, so her happiness is my happiness too and I'm really happy she met a guy like that

Speaker 4: 02:34 after being together for three years and getting married in the middle of a global pandemic. The couple says they're confident their love can get them through anything. Pre history, their K PBS news,

Speaker 2: 02:46 the coronavirus pandemic is leading to critical shortages of protective equipment for hospital workers. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman explains how one local hospital is turning to the public. It's great how San Diego come in a

Speaker 6: 02:59 crisis.

Speaker 2: 03:00 John [inaudible] with sharp healthcare says they are looking for the community's help right now

Speaker 6: 03:04 globally, there is a short supply of PPE, personal protective equipment such as masks that our caregivers need to protect themselves and our patients.

Speaker 2: 03:15 Healthcare officials are asking for donations at four drop-off sites throughout the County.

Speaker 6: 03:18 The items that we're looking for are disposable face masks. There's the end 95 masks that again, the construction industry might have. There are disposable, uh, booties for the feet. There's gowns that we're looking for. If anybody has access to what's called a Papper or the hood, that's like the face shield.

Speaker 2: 03:36 Sharp healthcare will continue collecting personal protective equipment for the foreseeable future. We have a list of dropoff locations and the items they're looking for on our website. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news. The coronavirus has upended all of our lives, but for San Diego's immigrant communities, it can be especially tough. KPBS reporter John Carroll explains why San Diego Somali community is pleading for help.

Speaker 7: 03:59 San Diego is home to the second largest Somali community in the United States, some 10,000 strong. The community is located in city Heights. It's primarily low income. And now thanks to the Corona virus. Life here is more difficult than ever. People here need help with getting food and water, medical supplies and rental assistance. But there's a big barrier when it comes to asking for that help. So EDA BEO heads up the local branch of the Somali Bantu association of America.

Speaker 8: 04:28 And our people are limited of languages skills, their lack of language skills and nobody will understand them about the issues that they have.

Speaker 7: 04:37 There's information on how you can help on the Somali Bantu associations website, S B a O You'll find a link to it on our website, John Carroll KPBS news

Speaker 2: 04:51 San Diego city officials voted Wednesday to key people and businesses are being evicted during the coronavirus shutdown. KPBS reporter Eric Anderson has details.

Speaker 9: 05:00 San Diego County officials say it's crucial to continue to keep people from passing along the coven. 19 infection. Much of the County has been on lockdown since last week as state and local officials do what they can to control the spread of the illness. County medical supply officer Robert sills says local officials are trying to make sure healthcare workers have the safety gear they need. That includes masks, gowns, and gloves from the national stockpile. We received about 30% of what we asked for and we have already submitted our next request up to the state. County officials are urging residents to obey social distancing habits as local officials work. To stop the spread of the disease. Eric Anderson KPBS news

Speaker 2: 05:44 on Monday and immigrant detaining and accounting jail in New Jersey became the first person and immigration and customs enforcement custody. The test positive for Corona virus KPBS reporter max driveline Adler tells us why this might be the beginning, a large scale crisis in immigrant detention centers

Speaker 10: 06:00 when immigration attorney Dorian Edgar Seto walked into the OTI Mesa detention center last week to deliver papers to a client of hers. She was shocked by what she saw. Guards and employees at the private facility, which is contracted by ice, were going about their work without seemingly any precautions to stop the spread of the Corona virus.

Speaker 11: 06:20 Um, none of the guards had gloves. The security officers were not practicing social distancing. Um, there were signs up in the facility encouraging people to do so, but it looked very much like business as usual at the detention center.

Speaker 10: 06:31 Advocates say the greatest risk of the spread of Corona virus doesn't come from the detainees themselves who have been kept isolated from the larger world for weeks and months, but from the guards and other employees at the facility. A spokesperson for core civic, which runs Otay. Mesa says that its employees are following a series of guidelines to stop the spread of the virus, including practicing social distancing. Max Loveland, Adler, KPBS, news

Speaker 2: 06:57 state and County officials in California are negotiating with hundreds of hotels in order to house homeless people during the coven 19 outbreak and it could turn into a longterm solution for getting people off the streets.

Speaker 12: 07:08 The opportunity to turn this into some, some permanent housing solutions and adding stock is something we're really trying to keep an eye on as he, as he move forward.

Speaker 2: 07:17 Ali Sutton is governor Gavin Newson's, deputy secretary of homelessness. So far the state is secured about 4,000 rooms during the outbreak. Priority will be given to people experiencing homelessness who test positive for Corona virus are showing symptoms or are elderly with school shut down for the foreseeable future because of the Corona virus pandemic. Those in the most remote parts of the country are struggling to get their students on the internet. KPBS education reporter Joe Hong, spend time at some rural school districts to see how they're serving their students.

Speaker 13: 07:48 Well, I, I don't want to sound like a crazy person, but, um, being a science teacher, uh, I taught about the Spanish flu, uh, and uh, and when bird flu was happening and stuff, I, when I was a teacher currently in the classroom, we use those as, um, discussion points.

Speaker 14: 08:04 They've, McCloud is the superintendent at Warner unified school district, San Diego county's smallest K through 12 school district serving about 200 students. When he first heard about the Krone virus spreading across the world, he didn't hesitate to act. But when he decided to close schools, he knew online learning wouldn't really be an option. The district is tucked between mountains, so cell phone reception can be spotty and internet access is limited, especially at the native American reservations. We're about a third of the students live in the clouds there. You see that Hill,

Speaker 13: 08:34 so that broadcasts to this whole Valley. But if you're over in any of these little ravines, you, you don't get a direct signal. And then there's cell towers, but they're like narrow along the highway. And if you're off the highway, you get no reception.

Speaker 14: 08:51 Luckily McCloud asks teachers to start preparing for distance learning in early February, about a month before school started closing in San Diego County. While some districts are relying on online instruction, Warner unified is going old school with paper packets. Rudy Mercado is a sophomore at Warner high.

Speaker 15: 09:07 Yeah, it's mostly packets because out here, just like barely any internet connection as you can say. And yeah, so mostly packets

Speaker 14: 09:17 on the other side of the County is the [inaudible] elementary school district, which serves a sparsely populated community in Eastern San Diego. Elizabeth by stud is the superintendent. She said she's been flooded with calls in recent weeks from educational technology companies offering help with distance learning

Speaker 16: 09:34 emails. And it's amazing how many emails are coming from vendors all over in order to try and support schools, which is wonderful. Um, but that's, they're inundating at the same time, so they're trying to be helpful. But it's a lot.

Speaker 14: 09:49 [inaudible] students also went home with packets, but both districts are working to purchase devices called hotspots, which would allow students in remote areas to get an internet connection.

Speaker 16: 09:58 Our technology department is working with vendors, trying to get some hotspots that we could check out to families who don't have internet. We have Chromebooks, we have enough Chromebooks. So it's really the issue of making sure that if we give them a Chromebook, they could actually use the Chromebook.

Speaker 14: 10:16 These districts have another big job that goes beyond academics keeping students fed while schools are closed. Hormonal Zura has partnered with the Grossmont school district to distribute food at Warner. About 85% of students are low income and eligible for free and reduced price lunches. Since school's closed last week, McLeod has been hand delivering meals to students who live in Lake Henshaw. Resort

Speaker 13: 10:39 a trailer park about 10 minutes from the district office as one. You're welcome. Good manners. It's not just the students who need food in this community. So, so many people from the community are like, Hey, can you give us food too? So are you able to, we do buy extra. So, and y'all like, you know, if we have extra milk, it's going to expire. So we give that out. We have proof that's going to go bad. So I only brought a little bit because I only expected seven and what was there 15 or 16 different families here. So I'm going to go back and see if I can come back and give them some fruit. So just tell them the cloud has hoped this would last for just a few weeks, but now he's preparing for a much longer or

Speaker 14: 11:24 deal. Joe Hong K PBS news,

Speaker 2: 11:27 a deal for a federal $2 trillion stimulus package comms as the state's efforts to slow the spread of coven 19 have caused many businesses to scale back early off employees, people who work in occupations that require customer interaction along with black and Brown people have been most impacted according to a recent report from the San Diego workforce partnership. Here's midday edition cohost Jade Heinemann, speaking with Peter calssroom, CEO of the San Diego workforce and Ray major,

Speaker 17: 11:54 chief economist at SANDAG. What are those occupations that will be hit hard? Uh, according to this [inaudible]

Speaker 5: 12:01 yes. Uh, the outlook is very grim until this changes. And because of the nature of our economy with so many in the service sector, hospitality, tourism and so forth, restaurant work, those roles cannot work remotely for the most part. And so with so many closures, employers in many cases have no choice but to lay folks off. And we've seen an influx of reductions and more notices which are worker adjustment, retraining notices that employers have to file when doing closures. Those have come in in an unprecedented clip. So we're seeing quite an impact already and until this changes, that's only going to grow. So we're really hoping for the relief that the federal government has finally acted upon and we happen to talk about that. But right now we've seen so many folks displaced and we're trying to do all we can to serve both the workers and the employers affected.

Speaker 17: 12:56 And Ray, I want to bring you in. How does the loss of jobs and reduced hours in the occupations of Peter was talking about impact the overall economy in the County?

Speaker 18: 13:07 Well, currently we've only been shut down for a couple of weeks and there has been a significant impact just in these last couple of weeks. Um, if this continues for, for any prolonged period of time, say even into mid April, we will probably be looking at going into a recession and the depth of that recession, whether it would be a mild or a moderate or a severe recession is going to depend a lot on how long this shutdown lasts. Uh, but with that, I think you're going to see many more people lose their jobs or become unemployed, uh, in the, in the next couple of weeks as this plays out.

Speaker 5: 13:47 Okay.

Speaker 17: 13:47 You know, I, I mean, Ray, how do you think the federal $2 trillion stimulus package will impact the County?

Speaker 18: 13:54 Well, hopefully it has positive effects. I mean when, when that's passed, there'll be money coming in to help those people who are most in need, which are the ones that Peter was referring to previously, that people who are in the lowest income brackets, those in retail, food preparation, waitresses, weight waiters, those types of people will, will be benefiting from that $2 trillion package. So in that case, it gives them a lifeline. It gives them the ability to hopefully make it, make it through this. But I think that again, in the, in the longer term, I think you're going to see a significant change in the landscape when it comes to the type of restaurants that we have in San Diego. A small independent businesses that are hit very hard. They won't have the cash for the reserves to be able to make it through this.

Speaker 17: 14:44 Uh, Peter, you know, the report also suggests that black and Hispanic workers would be hardest hit by all of why is that?

Speaker 5: 14:53 It is the current demographic of who makes up more of the positions within those sectors. It's just the nature of who is in those roles right now. So when, when those closures occur, then that disproportionately impacts them because many of people from different demographics, nonwhite are in these roles and they do such important work,

Speaker 2: 15:17 you know, Peter, are there any systemic issues that you can point to that lead to this disparity with black and Hispanic workers being hardest hit?

Speaker 5: 15:26 Yeah, that's a great question. I think a lot of it comes down to just the makeup of our region and where, um, different communities have congregated and what has led to some of the disparity that Ray knows best as an economist and what, what it looks like in our region. And, uh, the, the diamond district for example, is, has far more people of color and diversity than many other regions of the County. And they are less economically strong right now. And, uh, again, then they get impacted far more.

Speaker 2: 15:57 That was KPBS as Jade Heideman speaking with Peter calcium, CEO of the San Diego workforce partnership and Ray major chief economists at SANDAG. For more information on resources, go to or call two one one.

San Diego senior-care facilities believe they have enough caregivers to withstand a coronavirus outbreak, but they are worried. And biotechnology companies were not explicitly included on the governor’s list of essential businesses, but some industry leaders think that should change. Plus, business closures and job losses can be especially tough for immigrant communities -- one that's been hit especially hard is the Somali community in City Heights.

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