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2 Million COVID-19 Cases In California

 December 28, 2020 at 4:15 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Monday, December 28th. San Diego Police have someone new running their social media. That story next, but first... let’s do the headlines…. In a grim milestone, California hit 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Christmas Eve, becoming the first state to do so. Meanwhile, the situation in hospitals and ICU’s is dire. Data from saturday showed in the San Joaquin Valley - there were no ICU beds left. That, as California reported more than 50,000 new cases and more than 200 new deaths. The worst of the surge s is expected in the next few weeks after holiday travelers return home. Health inspectors and authorities stepped up enforcement at restaurants and shopping malls over the weekend in an attempt to curb the surge. Locally, San Diego County public health officials reported more than 3100 new infections on sunday and no new deaths. 50 more people were hospitalized with 7 more in ICU’s. State stay-at-home orders for the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California are set to expire today. State officials say the orders are likely to be extended but they did not say for sure just yet. A pacific storm system with both rain and snow is making landfall and will continue through tonight. The national weather service issued a winter storm warning for the San Diego mountains through 4am tomorrow morning. From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. If you were scrolling through social media over the holidays, maybe you saw some posts from the San Diego Police Department that weren't just traffic alerts or posts about missing people. KPBS investigative reporter Claire Trageser says the department is paying a consultant to help them seem more human and relatable on Twitter and Facebook. In this video from the San Diego Police Department, an officer hands a sticker to a young boy dressed up as spiderman. The police department is writing posts and making videos that show police officers doing good work or helping people, says Lt. Matt Botkin. SOT Lt. Matt Botkin"The main reason for putting out these lighthearted, humanzing posts is to let people know not it's not just cops and robbers, we're not just here to put you in jail, we're caring for family members, helping people out."The department also has some outside help. They're paying a media consultant $4,000 a month in part to help with their social media strategy.SOT Catherine Mendonca"They get so much of our city budget already from our tax dollars, for them to have to hire a consultant to train them on how to behave, says a lot about their policy."Catherine Mendonca is a community cop watcher who spends a lot of time filming police in her City Heights neighborhood. She says these social media posts are a waste of money and look like propaganda.Claire Trageser , KPBS News That was KPBS Investigative reporter Claire Trageser. Farmworkers are among the earliest tiers of people to get vaccinations against COVID-19. But a new poll says many fieldworkers are wary of vaccines. CapRadio’s Ezra David Romero reports. Hernan Herandez runs the California Farmworker Foundation based in Tulare County. His group gives farmworkers COVID tests and masks as they work in the fields. Earlier this month, Hernandez said his team surveyed 150 farmworkers… and more more than half said they won’t get a COVID-19 vaccine or are nervous about it. Hernandez says the fear stems from false information they’re reading online. [HERNANDEZ] “We've heard a whole bunch of conspiracy theories, anything from where this is a vaccination that's going to sterilize an individual and that also the vaccine is going to cause COVID. A lot of it is driven by just the click baits that they see on Facebook.” Hernandez plans to expand his survey to farmworkers across California. His team is also preparing for a public information campaign in the new year, to help dispel bad information that’s circulating among farmworkers. In Sacramento, I'm Ezra David Romero Coming up on the podcast...we’ll have two pandemic profiles. One from a Nurse working on the frontlines of the covid-19 crisis through the holidays, and another from a new mom raising a baby in the coronavirus era. That’s next, just after this break. With ICU’s nearly full, there will be no holidays for health care workers on the frontlines of the covid-19 crisis. As part of our pandemic profile series, KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman spoke to a nurse practitioner working inside the ICU at one of the busiest hospitals in the county.. Our workload has been higher for sure and I would say that it’s been the busiest I’ve probably seen Charlotte Thomas is a critical care nurse practitioner in the intensive care unit at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista. Charlotte Thomas, Scripps ICU nurse practitioner Usually by the time I see people they are really in distress Patients in the ICU tend to have a higher mortality than other areas of the hospital. Covid obviously has an higher mortality than our average, a tremendous amount of our patients have not survived hospitalization Thomas says the core of her job, taking care of patients, hasn’t changed -- but now she does it with a lot more protective equipment. The pandemic has impacted her in other ways-- It’s emotionally difficult to see people be that sick and to try to have to care for so many of them. That has been difficult for all of us but me in particular as well She says to get back to normalcy and not overwhelm the healthcare system, San Diegans have to wear masks, avoid crowds and stay home when possible. Matt Hoffman, KPBS News. 2020 began with a lot of hope and expectation for San Diego resident Mayumi Nara. In mid February she gave birth to her second child …. a month later San Diego was shut down. As part of our series of pandemic profiles, KPBS Reporter Erik Anderson has our story. Mayumi Nara was starting to hear about the virus when she gave birth to Yuki in Mid February. Mom came from Japan to help. But she left for home early because the Pandemic was spreading. “At the beginning of the pandemic it was so dreadful because we don’t know what’s going on. And we have the baby, the tiny baby. And I thought it was worst case for me in my life.” But the shutdown kept the young family at home and that was a blessing as Nara recovered from childbirth and cared for her baby. “It’s the pandemic but…I’m so lucky to be with the family, get together.” Nara’s husband is working from home so they are sharing in Yuki’s progress. The young child is learning to balance and walking can’t be far off. The park is a great distraction when her husband is working at home and her older son is on-line for school. But the Pandemic is never far from mind. She says it ruined a chance to make friends. “We’re supposed to take a class, a baby sign class, I was planning to take it and to make a friend, for me, for him. And yeah, but they cancel.” But perhaps the worst thing is the distance from her family in Japan. “everyday I’m chatting through the camera , without masks. The Nara family was planning to visit Japan around the New Year. It was to be a chance to introduce Yuki to her extended family and friends. But the resurgence of COVID 19 forced them to cancel. “It’s quite sad. They didn’t hug him yet. And it’s much different to touch him than just look in a picture or video. Ah yeah. Whenever I think about that…it makes me so sad. I, so miss them. So I am trying not to think of them more.” Nara is hopeful things will be better next summer. Perhaps allowing a trip to visit the family during the Tokyo Olympics. Erik Anderson KPBS News ….That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

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California passed a grim milestone of 2 million cumulative COVID-19 cases on Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, in San Diego, the San Diego Police Department has someone new running their social media accounts. Plus, two pandemic profiles of San Diegans living through the COVID-19 era.