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COVID-19 Outbreak Tracking App

 December 8, 2020 at 4:27 AM PST

San Diego County officials reported 1998 new coronavirus cases on Monday. It is the 7th consecutive day the county reported over 1000 cases. A record of 2287 was reported last Friday. There were 50 new hospitalizations Monday, and nine more patients placed in intensive care. No new deaths were reported. There’s been an outbreak of Covid-19 among temporary residents at the convention center. Health officials say there’s 82 total recently confirmed cases within the past week. The convention center was repurposed in April to house unsheltered San Diegans. Up until this recent outbreak, the center had just 30 cases over the course of the pandemic. Many businesses have had to shut down under the new stay at home orders. Beaches and parks are allowed to stay open, but playgrounds are not. Some local officials think the shutdown orders go too far... San Diego Mayor-elect Todd Gloria called on Governor Newsom to reconsider in a letter he shared on social media. Outgoing Mayor Kevin Faulconer is also against the move. Meanwhile County supervisor Jim Desmond says he’s taking it a step further. "i'd like to see and i plan on making a motion that our county officials and law enforcement not enforce the closures of playgrounds of san diego county -- you know our children need to be outside. they can't all go to a ski resort, which the governor has allowed to stay open. Desmond says some restrictions are warranted, but he says businesses that have invested in upgrades and have proven they can operate safely should be able to stay open. The restrictions will last at least three weeks. It’s Tuesday, December 8th. This is San Diego News Matters from KPBS News. I’m Annica Colbert. Stay with me for more of the local news you need to start your day. Officials are encouraging all Californians to use a new phone app that was piloted at UC San Diego to track exposure to the virus. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman reports. “CA Notify” is built into iphones and is an application on the google play store that uses bluetooth technology to let people know when they might have been exposed to the virus. UC San Diego Health’s Dr. Chris Longhurst estimates 75 percent of on campus students are using the platform. We got great feedback from students some who tested positive and said this took a weight off their shoulders they could launch this anonymous and keep people around them safe Here’s how it works -- you activate “exposure notifications” on your phone, then if you have close contact with another user for more than 15 minutes who tests positive you’ll get a pop up alert. Officials say no personal or location information is collected and you have to opt in meaning it won't automatically turn on Thursday. Matt Hoffman KPBS News That was KPBS’ Matt Hoffman. “California notify” rolls out statewide on Thursday. California hospitals are strained with this latest surge of COVID-19 patients, but Governor Gavin Newsom says more health care workers are on the way. CapRadio’s Nicole Nixon reports. The state is bringing on more than 800 nurses and intensive care unit staff as contractors. NEWSOM: Most will be here within a week, which is encouraging. Four hundred and thirty-five specifically to support our ICU strike teams. The workers will help at hospitals and surge medical sites like the Sleep Train Arena, an old NBA venue in Sacramento which is getting prepped to receive patients. Dwindling ICU capacity has pushed millions of Californians under fresh stay-at-home orders. A spokesperson for the California Hospital Association said staffing is the tightest resource and any help is welcome. As other states grapple with their own coronavirus surges, workers trained in a critical care setting are limited. The governor said he’s requested additional help from the federal government. Health officials are encouraging people to stay home as much as possible in some parts of the state that have entered a second round of stay-at-home orders. CapRadio’s Ezra David Romero reports on how to get outdoors during the lockdown. Under the new state rules, when a region’s hospitals have less than 15 percent capacity in their intensive care unit the larger community is asked to stay at home. People can still leave their homes for fresh air, but they are asked to stay local, wear a mask, and stay six feet away from others not in their household. People should not travel long distances to play outdoors, according to the order. But Mario Lara, parks director for the City of Sacramento, says staying local doesn’t have to be boring. “We would encourage people to stay within their local areas. Use the parks that are in their neighborhoods and communities, rather than traveling further distance to access parks.” Lara suggests taking neighborhood walks, bird watching and mapping trees and species while outside. Health officials hope the restrictions will slow the spread of the virus. In Sacramento, I'm Ezra David Romero. Coming up on the podcast….President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to reinstate DACA - Deferred Action for childhood arrivals. “I do have high hopes for this new administration. All we can really do is wait, hold on, go out and show them that we're here and that we're here to stay.” We’ll hear from two students who are DACA recipients and whose immigration status has been left in limbo because of the pandemic and Trump administration efforts to kill the program. That story is next just after this break. DACA recipients, or Dreamers, are holding onto hope that the incoming Biden presidency will bring some certainty to their immigration status. The Trump administration actively tried to kill the program -- and the pandemic didn’t make things any easier. KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne speaks to two students who are DACA recipients about their experiences. “I kind of did know that I was undocumented but I didn’t know what that meant.” Luna Azul Chacon arrived in the U.S. from Mexico with her parents and younger brother when she was only 5 years old. When she turned 15, she was eligible to apply for DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. LUNA AZUL CHACON/DREAMER (6:17:10 - 6:17:22) “That process was really intense, I know that for me I literally just wanted to give up because I was like is it even worth it.” Luna has been DACAmented for 4 years. Approximately 750,000 DACA recipients in the U.S have gone through journeys similar to Luna’s. She is now a first generation college student studying to become a pediatrician or OBGYN. When the pandemic hit, Luna needed to help support her family financially until…... she contracted COVID-19. LUNA AZUL CHACON/DREAMER 6:24:44 - 6:24:52 “I wanted to have as minimal contact with them as possible because I knew they had jobs so if they got sick we would be in an even worse situation.” Despite living under the same roof, Luna was the only one in her family to get sick. Forced to take time off work to recover, Luna still needed to navigate the ever-changing DACA renewal and pay the $495 filing fee. Kevin Tracy is a San Diego attorney who handles DACA cases. He says President Trump terminated DACA in 2017 to force Congress to take action. KEVIN M. TRACY/ATTORNEY AT LAW (ZOOM 5:35 [JUMPCUT] 5:47 - 6:05) “Congress is the body that enacts immigration legislation. [JUMPCUT] Although it was implemented in 2012, for 18 years before that you had the Dream Act, and the Dream Act had been in Congress for over 18 years and they could never agree as to how to implement it. “ New DACA applications haven't been taken since the Trump administration suspended the program in 2017. Marian Mata Garcia is another Dreamer who came to the U.S from Mexico in 2001,when she was 1.5 years old. When she turned 15, her parents helped her apply for DACA, granting her a drivers license and work authorization. MARIAN MATA GARCIA/DREAMER 6:39:30 - 6:39:40 “I was never discouraged because of my status, if I saw something that was Oh permanent residence and US citizen, ok well I wont apply to that. And i just kept looking for other resources.” Her perseverance to look for opportunities led her to transfer from community college to UCSD where she is studying Global Health and Biology. Marian says her personal experience with DACA helped her look at the pandemic from a different point of view. MARIAN MATA GARCIA/DREAMER (6:47:15 - 6:47:30) “I live in uncertainty every single day, thats my life, so for me ok well the governments gunna control whatever and then were just gunna do it, you know. Thats been my life. DACA is now only one year, ok well now its one year.” While the Trump Administration continues its legal fight over DACA, Both Luna and Marian say they have high hopes for president elect Biden who has pledged to reinstate DACA after taking office. MARIAN MATA GARCIA/DREAMER “I do have high hopes for this new administration. All we can really do is wait, hold on, go out and show them that were here and that were here to stay.” That was reporting by KPBS’ North County reporter Tania Thorne. This story was produced with support from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. That’s it for the podcast today, thanks for listening and have a great day.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced a cell-phone-based system designed to notify residents when they've been exposed to COVID-19 for statewide use on Monday.. It was piloted at UC San Diego starting back in September. Meanwhile, local officials are pushing back on county stay-at-home orders. Also, we’ll have an interview with local DACA recipients who are hopeful about the incoming Biden Administration after being left in limbo during the Trump presidency.