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San Diego In The Orange

 April 8, 2021 at 5:02 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Thursday April 8th. >>>> How’d the first day in the Orange tier go for San Diego businesses? We’ll have that next, just after the headlines…. ###### Following a move by UC San Diego….San Diego State University now says it too will return to in-person learning and on-campus housing in the fall term. S-D-S-U plans to share updated guidance next week for faculty and researchers looking to get access to their labs this spring. A more comprehensive return to academic spaces is expected in the summer. That’s according to City News Service. ######## Police in Calexico broke up an encampment for farmworkers on wednesday in Imperial county. The encampment had been set up in January for the farmworkers, some of whom were homeless, giving them a place to stay after working the fields. Calexico owns the land and the camp became a point of contention for a divided city council. A nonprofit was on site to help to offer homeless services to the farmworkers. To learn more about the story, go to inewsource-dot-org. ######## The National Weather service has extended a wind advisory for the San Diego’s mountains and deserts through midnight tonight. Western winds are expected up to 30 miles per hour, with gusts at 55 miles per hour. Officials advise residents to watch out for blown down tree limbs and power lines. ######### From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. Wednesday was San Diego's first day in the state’s orange covid-19 tier. That means increased capacities at San Diego businesses...KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman checked back in with some of the local businesses we've been following since last year's lockdown. “Gerald Torres, city tacos owner” It’s awesome we get to increase our capacity indoors by 25 percent and I think it gives consumers a little more confidence Just outside Petco Park a new City Tacos location more than a year in the making is finally debuting-- 13;15;41;16 Torres Basically was scheduled to open in march of last year then covid hit Now things are different. Fans are allowed in the stands at Petco park, and now that we’re in the state’s orange reopening tier the Padres can increase stadium capacity to 33 percent.. 12;52;55;02 Brant Crenshaw, Social Tap San Diego owner There’s a lot of positive energy and positive attitude in our industry that things are opening back up that we can all get back to work make a living, support our families, support our staff Brant Crenshaw owns Social Tap, which is also right next to Petco Park. 12;51;22;29 Crenshaw I can’t wait until we get completely reopened up but this isn’t a bad alternative. Now he can increase indoor capacity, which has allowed him to bring back more staff, but things aren’t entirely back to normal- 12;54;19;03 Crenshaw This year a little different, butts in every seat not standing at the bar not mingling around. But I tell you what i’ll take this over last year because last year we were in the lockdown He and others are also feeling a renewed sense of optimism, especially now that the governor has announced a target of June 15th to lift nearly all Covid-19 restrictions. 12;11;01;02 Jes Pierce, Ale Tales Taproom It’s the first time that we would have a hard date to plan around Jes Pierce is the manager of Ale Tales Taproom in the east village which opened just a couple months before the pandemic first hit.. 12;08;45;20 Peirce Just the constant adaptation. We miss people at the bar, strangers meeting each other at the bar but well get there This spot is less than half a mile from Petco Park and Peirce is hoping to see some Padres fans this season, especially now that we’re in the orange tier. But business owners say they have to gradually scale up operations.. 13;16;02;15 Torres It’s still a slow process people are gaining that confidence to go out and enjoy lunches and enjoy dinners and we have to grow with it, if you don’t you’re numbers aren’t going to be right and you put the businesses in jeopardy Even with progress, California Restaurant Association president Jot Condie is estimating 30 percent of eateries statewide will shut their doors because of the pandemic. Zoom_0.mp4 7:24.812 Jot Condie, California Restaurant Association Everyday that goes by there’s restaurants that are on the edge and many of them fall off. So we fully expect in between now and June 15th there will be more restaurants that will have to throw in the towel. ######## California has administered over 4.2 million COVID-19 vaccines to some of the state’s hardest-hit communities. KPBS Reporter Melissa Mae shows us how San Diego is helping its disadvantaged areas get vaccinated. Equity continues to be a focus of vaccine efforts in San Diego. The hardest-hit communities account for 40% of COVID cases and deaths within the lowest quartile of the Healthy Places Index (HPI). Dr. Suzanne Afflalo/Medical Director, Alliance Health Clinic (: 05) “It’s about improving the health of our Black and Brown members of the southeast San Diego area.” Events like today’s Community Health & Resource Fair at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA help make vaccines more accessible. Founder of the health fair, Dr. Suzanne Afflalo (Ah-Flah-loh) received a request from Governor Newsom to help. Dr. Suzanne Afflalo(:13) “First and foremost we’re trying to get our community vaccinated. So, we were gifted with 1,000 Johnson and Johnson vaccines that UCSD is here with the volunteers to provide for our community.” Along with administering vaccines, events like this are educating people about getting it. Breast Cancer survivor and Founder of Many Shades of Pink, Wendy Shurelds (SURE-el-d) took the vaccine advice. Wendy Shurelds, Founder of Many Shades of Pink (:12 ) “I realized that I would be unprotected, so that’s what really made me, the education and wanting to protect myself and my family.” South Bay resident Ricky Sazar was grateful to have easier access to the vaccine. Ricky Sazar, Chula Vista Resident (:09) “This is fantastic for our community. We were hurt so much in our businesses. We want to get all the businesses going again.” The California Department of Public Health is still allocating 40% of vaccines to these areas and will continue to partner with community-based programs. The CDPH also has plans for a new program to text people in certain zip codes when vaccine appointments are available. Melissa Mae KPBS News. And that was KPBS’ Melissa Mae ############# Border patrol agents are rescuing more and more young children left to fend for themselves on this side of the mexican border. As KPBS’s Maya Trabulsi reports... On Monday afternoon, two young children abandoned at the US-Mexico border were rescued by border patrol agents. The siblings, a 5-year old girl and 6-year old boy, were dropped in Jacumba where the border fencing meets large boulders. The agents had spotted a man and a woman with the children before they were hoisted into the US side. Border Patrol agent, Angel Moreno says the children were visibly upset and without provisions, like food or water. CG: Angel Moreno, Border Patrol “The only thing that they do have with them is a note, with the phone number of their mother. And they also had their mother’s name and ph0ne number, I believe, on their forearm written.” The children, who are Mexican nationals, were taken in by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement. This incident is just the latest in the influx of children being left alone at the international border. (Tom-could end here for radio) Optional for length : “Since April 2020, not only US Border Patrol but CBP as a whole, has seen an increase in human apprehensions and the apprehensions of men, women, and children. So, we are starting to see these types of events and there has been a bit of an increase in recent history.” 4:13 -4:30 (:17) Last week, two Ecuadorian children were rescued after being dropped over a 14-foot border fence in New Mexico near the border city of El Paso, Texas. And on April 1st, a 10-year old migrant boy was found alone in a field in Texas, left there by the group he was travelling with. The boy is still in CBP custody. And that was KPBS’ Maya Trabulsi. ########## Across California, more than 200 people have died in state prisons of COVID-19. Donovan state prison in Otay Mesa has been among the most deadly. Inewsource investigative reporter Mary Plummer has uncovered new details about inmates there who died of the virus. The crisis peaked in mid-December. COVID-19 had spread quickly -- about 20 percent of people incarcerated at Donovan were known to have the infection. Many were relocated within the prison to try and control the virus. Over the next five weeks, 18 inmates died of COVID-19. One of them was Gilbert Rodriguez who was serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole. His son Ryan Rodriguez says the family learned of his death the day after Christmas. No one had told them he’d gotten sick. R RODRIGUEZ: One part of me, you know, was fearful of course, that, you know, Covid is running around and it's entering these prisons... Um, but certainly shocked that I got a phone call about him passing as opposed to, Hey, your father contracted COVID and here's what we're doing about it. Inewsource uncovered that his father was one of three men at Donovan found dead or dying in their cells of COVID-19. They were all 65 or older with pre-existing medical conditions. They died within eight days of each other. During that same time, five others at Donovan died of the virus at hospitals. inewsource pieced together what happened through county medical examiner records, death certificates and interviews. Rodriguez’s family asked the prison what happened, but was given very few details. R RODRIGUEZ: We don’t know what the protocols should have been, we certainly don’t know if they were followed. So whether he was given treatment or whether he was isolated. A person in his conditions with obviously diabetes, overweight, etc, high blood pressure, I would expect that there would be some treatment. About a month after Gilbert Rodriguez’s death the family received a letter from his cellmate. It said their father had requested medical help after testing positive for the virus, but staff told him no. According to the cellmate, he coughed two nights in a row getting little sleep, then seemed to have a heart attack or stroke, and died. R RODRIGUEZ: It sounds more likely than not that nothing happened. And he was left in his cell to sort of work it out. Through a spokesperson, the prison warden declined multiple interview requests for this story. Even so, corrections department officials say they've worked tirelessly to address the virus, and inmates with COVID-19 are screened twice a day by medical staff. But experts say that isn't always enough. And court filings indicate Donovan’s response to the pandemic has been among the worst of California prisons. In December, the prison oversight office found guards there had the most citations for refusing to social distance or wear masks. It’s something Mike Spilker witnessed himself. He was incarcerated at Donovan before being released during the pandemic. SPILKER: I mean we literally would be walking the track kind of isolated and walk by a group of correction officers not wearing masks with them telling us to put our masks on. Spilker says a few days before he got out, he was kept in a holding cell with an inmate who shortly after tested positive for COVID-19. The state paid for him to stay in a hotel after he was released to quarantine. Advocates and public health experts say the mixing of people with COVID-19 with those who aren’t sick is well-documented at Donovan, and it’s dangerous. UC Hastings law professor Hadar Aviram reviewed our findings. She says the atrocities that have happened to incarcerated people during the pandemic are hard to comprehend. AVIRAM: We have to keep in mind that even if you believe in harsh punishment and you believe that people should do the time, if they committed the crime, nobody was actually sentenced to die of COVID in their cell. And she says, when the virus spreads in prisons it puts the entire community at risk. Each day hundreds of people go in and out of prisons in California. AVIRAM: And that means that if you’re in a county that has a prison or a jail or both, you are at a higher risk of getting sick yourself. Over a dozen correctional facilities operate in San Diego and Imperial counties. Statewide, nearly 50,000 people in prisons have contracted the virus. And that was inewsource investigative reporter Mary Plummer. Join us tomorrow for Part 2 of this investigation. It is co-reported by Jill Castellano at inewsource, an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS. ########## Coming up.... How to start the conversation about mental health in the Latino community. We have that next, just after the break. Mental health is a hard topic to talk about. For some cultures, it can get outright ignored. And for the LatinX community, there are often barriers preventing access to mental health care...KPBS reporter Tania Thorne looked into some of those...and a warning: this report includes a graphic description of domestic violence, and discussions of self-harm that some listeners may find disturbing. Estela Chamu’s depression began when she left her hometown in Mexico at the age of 17. A family friend told her parents he had a job for Chamu in California, babysitting two American children. But there was no job and the man who took her from her family... wanted her as his woman instead. For 15 years, Chamu endured a forced and abusive relationship. (5:21 - 5:28) “My life has been really sad. I would cry, I couldn’t go anywhere, I had no activities. I was barred to the ranch. Until one day she had enough… and left. Once on her own, Chamu knew she wasn’t ok and sought out help. But the LatinX community faces language barriers, less access to health care, and cultural influences that keep them from getting help with mental health. (2:54 - 3:08) “The mentality we have as Latinos is “I’m not crazy” and it's not that we’re crazy it's that we need the support of a doctor, a specialist.” One of the biggest barriers is the stigma of being labeled “crazy”. Andrea Vasquez/Diagnosed with Depression (28:21 - 28:40) “You have these people looking at you in the face and telling you, ‘you can just pray this demon away” Andrea Vasquez was diagnosed with major depressive disorder when she was 16. (12:51-13:05) “The anger was the bigger part of it, the depression, the panic attacks I had been having and at that moment I told them this is a crisis because I don't want to live.” Vasquezs’ depression got so bad she began self harming and checked into a behavioral health center. Something her Latinx parents had a hard time accepting. (19:57 - 20:20) ‘That's a big thing in the Latin community, that its to believe that if there's something wrong with your child it was your fault.” The discomfort over mental health within the LatinX community also has to do with the lack of therapists that can understand the culture and the problems they face. (36:00 - 36:18) “Its really hard to find the therapist that connects with those issues. ‘Hey, I think I have problems with my family because of my culture.’ and you’re talking to a white male therapist that has no idea what you’re talking about. Then there are therapists like Lizeth Ma, who is Latina and says she can relate to the cultural influences Latinos face when it comes to mental health help. (5:41 - 5:53) “Grandma believes that if we pray to God and do a rosario and if we pay our prayers to the church, God’s going to grant us a miracle and those symptoms will go away.” Ma says she has to be culturally sensitive to the points of views of her patients and also incorporates them in her practice for successful treatment. (5:59 - 6:09) “Ok yes we can pray but this needs something more, we have to respect their belief system but also work with them, so what I try to do is incorporate those beliefs.” Ma says there is still progress to be made in mental health services and thinks the pandemic made the need more urgent. (23:59 - 24:18) All these things that we haven't even thought about or even seen because were still in the midst of the pandemic.” As people rebuild their lives from the aftermath of the pandemic, Ma suggests not sleeping on mental health. (13:28 - 13:45) “I think we need to educate people that it doesn’t simply go away. We need to learn and teach people the way to navigate the way to seek out resources for their specific needs, and how do they do it. And how can they find someone that they connect with.” Chamu is building that bridge to resources for her community as part of Poder Popular, a north county advocacy group.. (28:37 - 28:48) “For me it’s a new life. Since I left my life with domestic violence and got involved with the groups , it's the most marvelous thing I have found in my life. Chamu says these activities have been the best medicine to get her out of depression and help her community along the way. That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and 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.

San Diego’s business community celebrates their first day in the state’s orange covid-19 tier. Also, Donovan state prison in Otay Mesa is among those in the state with the most inmate deaths from covid-19. Our partners at inewsource have new information on what was behind the deaths. Plus, learning how to talk about mental health in the Latino community.