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COVID-19 Illnesses Down In San Diego County

 August 4, 2020 at 4:18 AM PDT

The Board of Supervisors is about to consider a proposal to privatize medical and mental health services at the county jails. The proposal comes from Sheriff Bill Gore, who says it will improve the level of care. But Supervisor Nathan Fletcher disagrees. "I don't believe we need a system designed to maximize profits. Fletcher says those services should be transferred from the Sheriff's Department to the County's Health and Human Services Agency. We need a system designed to get the best outcomes. That is not only right for the individual in our care, but right for the taxpayers of San Diego County. The Board of Supervisors will take up the proposal today. ###### Fundraising reports are out in the San Diego mayor's race. KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen says the race looks more competitive now than it did on the night of the primary. ___________________________________________________ CAMPAIGNFINANCE 1 (ab) 0:43 soq AB: State Assemblyman Todd Gloria finished well ahead of City Councilmember Barbara Bry in the March primary vote tally. But campaign finance reports filed last week show that since the primary, Bry has dominated Gloria in the money race. Gloria pulled in more than $289,000 from mid-February to the end of June. Bry raised more than $531,000 from donors, plus $150,000 of her own money that she loaned or donated to her campaign. Gloria still leads in terms of cash on hand, and his campaign has a fraction of the debt carried by Bry. Spending on things like TV ads and mailers is likely to heat up soon, with the election just three months away. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news. ###### San Diego’s Museum of Man in Balboa park has a new name. It will now be called “The Museum of Us.” Discussion about the change goes back to 1991---when community members said the gendering of the museum’s name made some feel unwelcome. In a statement the museum said the renaming is part of a broader effort to reassess its role in the community, and have “a new identity that better reflects our work towards equity, inclusion and decolonization.” The name change announcement came Sunday afternoon. I’m Anica Colbert, filling in for Kinsee Morlan. It’s Tuesday, August 4th. You’re listening to San Diego News Matters from KPBS News. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. an Diego County reported Monday some good news about a key data point on COVID 19 that's keeping us on the state's watch list. But, there ‘s still more work to do. KPBS Health Reporter Tarryn Mento has this report. _______________________________________ The county's case rate dipped to 118 per 100,000 residents. That's still above the state's threshold of 100 per 100,000 but below the 144 reported a week ago. County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten says this shows progress. But she says daily case counts would have to drop to 240 for two weeks to reach the state's goal. "We have had a couple of days over the past week where the total number of cases are in the 200s so we want to see that continue downward projection." Officials announced 343 new positives but no additional people died, raising totals to more than 30,200 cases and 565 deaths. However, the number of community outbreaks in a week is remaining high at 39 after showing days of decline. Tarryn Mento KPBS News ###### New data show California is once again flattening the curve when it comes to coronavirus. Governor Gavin Newsom announced monday that hospitalizations and ICU admissions slowed just in the last week. And there's been a slight decrease in the rate of positive cases. Newsom says it's because of restrictions for indoor businesses... and because people are simply acting responsibly GOVCOVID 1A :14 Encouraging signs but one week does not make a kind of trend that gives us confidence to make headlines we're looking forward to that and will need to see a few weeks of this kind of data to come in The majority of Californians are still living in counties facing restrictions for businesses. ###### in Washington DC, Congressional leaders have failed to reach an agreement on a new Coronavirus relief bill. On Friday, people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic stopped receiving an additional 600 dollar federal unemployment benefit. The Democratic-controlled House has already passed their version - known as the Heroes Act. It would cost an estimated three trillion dollars. Democratic Congressman Mike Levin represents the 49th district in San Diego County. He told KPBS Midday Edition that he’s concerned about the national debt. But, he says, vital to invest in putting people back to work to prevent what he called another "great depression." COVIDRELIEF 1A (:09) "For today, with rates being what they are, that is money well spent...doing nothing would be even worse and cause even greater havoc and devastation." To hear the complete interview, go to and listen to the Midday Edition podcast. ###### Meanwhile, research on the coronavirus continues. In San Diego scientists are growing mini-lungs from a diverse set of stem cells to see how Covid-19 impacts the organ. KPBS science and technology reporter Shalina Chatlani says researchers are hoping the study shows how coronavirus affects people from different backgrounds. ----- MINILUNGS 1 superspot 1:06 The researchers collected stem cells from people with different racial and gender backgrounds then grew these organoids, or small functioning organs, in petri dishes. Federal data show coronavirus disproportionately impacts people of color and men, says UCSD neonatologist Sandra Leibel. LEIBEL: Is this something inherent or is it something environmental? We want to use our minilungs to understand why this is happening. Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute biologist Evan Snyder says they are exposing the minilungs to coronavirus and a number of promising antiviral drugs. Not only to show biologically why the disparity exists, but also whether certain antivirals could be tweaked to help different people more effectively. SNYDER: If we validated these drugs and we saw a difference we could just compensate.. by changing dose or dosing regime so that anything we discover should be applicable to all patients across the board. Researchers are collecting the data. And are also planning to look at how the virus may impact mini-brains. Shalina Chatlani, KPBS news. That was KPBS’s Science and Technology Reporter, Shalina Chatlani. ##### The online review service Yelp estimates some 29-thousand California businesses on its site have closed since the pandemic started… more than half for good. For those who remain open, business is way down. They're doing what they can to stay afloat. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman introduces us to one of those owners… Tammy Spounas (Spoon-yas), who says she's trying to keep the lost art of alterations alive in la jolla. ___________ TAILOR MH (3:26) 14;21;39;08 Tammy (under VO?) The simplest button to the most elegant wedding dress we do it all Nats 14;30;16;25 Tammy Spounas (Spoon-yas) this is our livelihood. My mom started it thirty years ago and I don't want to close. It's going to be a last resort Kiki's Alterations was started by now 83 year old Kiki Spounas who came to the United States after growing up in Greece. 15:14:57:46 I learned from Greece the tailoring (b&w white photo of her as a kid) 15:17:05:01 I'm very happy what I'm doing- Kiki's daughter Tammy has taken over the majority of the responsibilities- 15;18;20;29 Now I'm more easier going- I work less -I come late- I leave early When the pandemic first hit.. Kiki's shut down for three months. 14;25;50;28 March april may busiest season may is the biggest that's where i make most of my income we were closed then Since reopening in June, business has been down nearly 75 percent. 14;27;24;27 where income doesnt pay the rent but i do stay open because i dont want to lose my customer base. I want to let them know that I'm here that I'm open that im ready to do work it's just no one's travelling no one's going everywhere The business did get a PPP loan, which helped cover some expenses, and the owners are applying for a county relief grant, but the possibility of closing is something weighing heavily on everyone. 15;18;37;01 Kiki Sometimes I cannot sleep at night I'm thinking what's going to happen the next day. I call tami anything happen with the business? Oh mom don't worry one or two people came 14;28;32;07 Tammy I do have some weddings which is a great treat for me nat 15;50;02;09 Allie Fahner, lives in La Jolla I came in for my second fitting and getting ready for my wedding august 22nd it's coming up-- Allie Fahner (Fonner) and her fiance David Adams have been planning a nearly 200 person wedding for more than a year.. 15;50;56;01 It was going to be the whole ordeal but had to make the tough decision to push it off just a little bit Now the couple is opting for a small backyard ceremony with plans for a bigger bash sometime next year. 15;50;34;03 It's uh different but a lot of us are in the same boat Tammy says the majority of her clients have opted to delay their weddings, while others are going smaller. 14;26;55;16 Less groomsmen less bridesmaids where we get a lot of the business through the bridesmaids 14;27;08;16 And if less people are going they're not going as formal The pandemic has brought some other changes. Some consultations are now done over video chat. And Tammy has pivoted to making face coverings. She says she can make them out of almost any material. 14;34;39;2 I've made masks for brides so I use some of the fabric from the wedding dress 16;06;54;11 Matt Hoffman, KPBS News (standup) With no signs of coronavirus slowing down kiki's has some tough months ahead of them but they're just hoping the whole industry tailoring and alterations can survive the pandemic-- 14;30;29;12 There is a need for alterations I think i just have to stick it out probably another year and hopefully we'll have some funding to keep going to keep it open because tailor shops are needed. Clothes aren't going to mend themselves it's a lost art Nats Matt Hoffman, KPBS News. That was KPBS Reporter Matt Hoffman ##### Coming up….the warming ocean waters are changing the undersea habitat off the San Diego coast. TZ KELP :10 “If the kelp forest itself goes away, the kelps. Then a lot of those species are going to be less abundant of the food structure of that whole community is going to change over time.” A look at how persistent heat waves are changing the ocean. That’s just ahead. The warming climate is putting environmental pressure on California’s forests. But what about the underwater forests? The Southern California coast is home to a number of underwater kelp forests. KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson has this report KELPFOREST (sea) soq 4:20 Ed Parnell didn’t have to walk far from San Diego’s Scripps Pier to find strands of giant kelp washed up on the beach. 03:33:14 – 03:33:21 “The root system is called the holdfast, it holds the kelp plant to the bottom, right there you can see that.” They aren’t really roots. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography biologist says it’s how the algae stays anchored to the ocean floor. 03:33:21 – 03:33:35 “Basically they put out these stipes. And each individual stipe puts out these blades that then make it up to the surface for it to photosynthesize.” Small gas filled bulbs carry the long stems to the surface where the blades can soak up the sunshine. Parnell says Giant Kelp can grow up to two feet a day, making it one of the fasting growing living things on the planet. 03:35:16 -- 03:35:30 “The canopy depends on how much bottom, hard bottom, is located at depth. Here of San Diego we have the two largest kelp forests on the west coast because we have hard bottom that the kelp can attach to over large areas.” Underwater the Giant Kelp forests off the coast of La Jolla and Point Loma can be spectacular. Biologist have compared them to an underwater forest of sequoias, but unlike the giant trees, kelp grows fast and dies fast. (GOPRO 654 :40 secs)(nat pop of diving) These young kelp just off the shore of San Diego are already reaching skyward in the cool Pacific Ocean. Plants can quickly reach lengths of 100 feet. but their life span is pretty short in this vital but delicate ecosystem. Parnell says the kelp provide food and habitat. 03:37:00 – 03:38:08 “The bottom hosts a lot of habitat for species that live in the Kelp forest over their entire lifetime.” Parnell says Giant Kelp in San Diego is under siege. Storms and sea urchins have taken a toll, but the potentially more devastating issue is heat. That’s on full display at the end of Scripps Pier, where Sean Bruce is one of many people who perform a daily ritual. 00:01:20 -- 00:01:29 “So this is one of the longest, ongoing data sets in history.” Those daily temperature readings show the ocean has been warming here since the mid-1970’s. Temperatures hit a sustained peak in 2015 and 2016, and have set records just two year later. The heat is devastating the fast growing kelp. Parnell shared video of a rocky barren seabed near La Jolla that has yet to recover. It’s a rocky area that should be full of kelp. And the problem is not limited to Southern California. 00:01:04 – 00:01:19 “Australia, Tazmania, especially up in New England , also in Europe. And so it’s a phenomenon that is affecting these ecosystems in northern and southern hemispheres.” Mark Carr studies evolutionary biology at U-C Santa Cruz. 00:04:15 – 00:49:49 “As the water temperature increased along the coastline, one of the consequences that warm water temperature has is, “it reduces the nutrient availability to the algae in shallower waters. And you see this for example down in Southern California when we have these El Nino events and the surface waters warm up you’ll notice how the kelp forests tend to die back.” Southern California Kelp are not yet at the point where they are struggling to survive, but the iconic underwater habitat is at risk. Climate science predicts oceans will continue to warm and data confirms that trend has been underway for some time. 00:16:36 – 00:16:48 “The concern now is whether we are now starting to experience more and more of these heatwaves over time and whether they become more intense.” Scripps researcher Ed Parnell says the iconic kelp may already be in trouble. And that could have a dramatic impact on the region’s nearshore habitat. 03:37:56 – 03:38:16 “They host hundreds of species themselves and they provide shelter, habitat and food for many, many species. So if the Kelp forest itself goes away, the Kelp, then a lot of those species are going to be less abundant of the food structure of that whole community’s going to change.” And it will become a lot less appealing to humans who dive in the underwater forests, removing a small slice of the state’s coastal tourism economy. Erik Anderson KPBS News That was KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson. <<>> San Diego News Matters is a daily morning news podcast powered by all of the reporters, editors and producers in the KPBS Newsroom. Tune in to KPBS Midday Edition at noon on KPBS radio or KPBS Evening Edition at 5pm on KPBS television to keep up with the news throughout your day. You can also find us on Twitter @ Kpbs news, or to find our podcast producer, Kinsee Morlan, she’s @ Kinsee. I’m @AnicaColbert. And as always you can find more KPBS podcasts, like Only Here or Cinema Junkie, on our website at KPBS dot org slash podcasts, or wherever it is you get your podcasts.

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Of 6,536 tests the county recorded Monday, just over 5% returned positive, bringing the 14-day rolling average of positive tests down to 5.3%. And, online review service Yelp estimates some 29,000 California businesses on its site have closed since the pandemic started. Also, Giant Kelp have survived off the Southern California coast for hundreds of years, but the iconic plant may be in trouble as the ocean warms.