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Experts eye variant as Ontario again reports fewer than 1,000 COVID-19 cases – Toronto Sun

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Ontario has posted three days of under-1,000 daily COVID-19 cases but testing shows variants now represent about 7% of those infections, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says.

If variants of concern (VOC) — United Kingdom, South African or Brazilian mutations — hit 10%, then public health officials will considering hitting an “emergency brake” on the province’s move to a colour-coded COVID-19 framework, she said.

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“That’s why right now the public health lab is actually … testing every single positive case of COVID-19 now for (genome) sequencing,” Yaffe said Tuesday. “From February 3 to now, I think they’ve tested over 14,000 positive specimens and 7% of them are variants of concern.”

There have been 319 confirmed VOC cases out of a pandemic total of 287,736 cases of COVID-19.

Ontario reported 309 cumulative cases of the U.K. variant, nine cases of the South African variant, including an outbreak at one Mississauga condo identified over the weekend, and one case of the Brazilian variant that was confirmed in Toronto.

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There were 904 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and 1,012 resolved infections.

The province administered 27,005 tests with a 3.6% positivity rate in the previous 24-hour period.

Thirteen additional deaths were linked to COVID-19 Tuesday — five were in long-term-care (LTC) residents.

COVID-19 patients in hospital numbered 742, including 292 in intensive care and 201 on ventilators.

The public health measures that have been put in place are having a positive impact on the numbers, Yaffe said.

“But if we let loose, we are going to see another pandemic wave and possibly worse,” Yaffe said.

Ontario administered a relatively modest 5,053 doses of vaccines on Family Day Monday, and so far the province has fully vaccinated 186,934 residents with the required two doses.

aartuso@postmedia.com

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Live Blog: California Tops 50000 Virus Deaths, Including 806 In Los Angeles – KPBS

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This is a breaking news blog for all of the latest updates about the coronavirus pandemic. Get our complete coronavirus coverage here →


California Tops 50,000 Virus Deaths, Including 806 In Los Angeles

– 6:27 p.m., Wednesday Feb. 24, 2021

Los Angeles County on Wednesday reported another 806 deaths from coronavirus during the winter surge, pushing California’s toll above 50,000, or about one-tenth of the U.S. total from the pandemic.

The county, which has a quarter of the state’s 40 million residents, said the deaths mainly occurred between Dec. 3 and Feb. 3. The Department of Public Health identified them after going through death records that were backlogged by the sheer volume of the surge’s toll.

Johns Hopkins University put California’s overall COVID-19 death toll at 50,890. – Associated Press

San Diego County To Start Vaccinating Teachers, Law Enforcement, Child Care, Farm And Food Service Workers

– 5:45 p.m., Wednesday Feb. 24, 2021

COVID-19 vaccinations for those in emergency services, education and child care and food and agriculture will start Saturday, Feb. 27, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced Wednesday.

Those groups comprise roughly 500,000 San Diegans, he said, with food and agriculture workers accounting for nearly 400,000 residents.

The head of the California Restaurant Association told KPBS Wednesday this action includes all food workers whether it be a grocery store worker or a server at a restaurant.

During the weekly county COVID-19 briefing, Fletcher said vaccinations for K-12 teachers and school personnel will not be administered through county sites.

Individuals in that group will be directly contacted for vaccination appointments, which will be run and administered by the California Schools Voluntary Employees Benefits Association (VEBA) in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education. Vaccinations for those groups will also start Saturday but appointments can not be booked online through the county’s website. – KPBS Staff

Birch Aquarium Partially Reopens Starting Saturday

– 12:52 p.m., Wednesday Feb. 24, 2021

Birch Aquarium announced this week it will be opening outdoors-only in accordance with coronavirus restrictions. The Aquarium will be open starting Saturday, Feb. 27 with a members-only day Friday, Feb. 26.

Under current California COVID-19 health orders, theme parks and aquariums such as Legoland and Birch aren’t allowed to fully reopen until case rates decline.

Birch Aquarium has added new animals and activities in addition to discounted ticket prices, according to a statement from the aquarium. Some of these include a new tide pool experience and an outdoor leopard shark exhibit. – KPBS Staff

Nearly 80,000 COVID-19 Vaccines To Arrive In San Diego County

– 7:22 p.m., Tuesday Feb. 23, 2021

Nearly 80,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped to San Diego County have begun arriving, allowing for rescheduling of previously canceled vaccination appointments due to shipment delays.

These vaccines are the doses expected this week and those delayed last week by severe winter storms in the U.S., according to a statement from San Diego County.

To date, over 828,000 COVID-19 doses have been delivered to San Diego County with nearly 752,000 administered. Nearly 185,000 San Diegans who are fully vaccinated, while 19.1% of the population over age 16 has received at least one dose.

San Diego County COVID-19 metrics as of Feb. 23, 2021:

  • 454 cases were reported to the County on Feb. 22. The region’s total is now 257,805.
  • 29 new COVID-19 deaths were reported Feb. 22. The region’s total is 3,218.
  • 13,040 or 5.1% of all cases have required hospitalization.
  • 1,578 or 0.6% of all cases and 12.1% of hospitalized cases had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.
  • In the past seven days 23 community outbreaks were confirmed.
  • 10,900 tests were reported to the County on Feb. 22, and the percentage of new positive cases was 4%. The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 4.6%.

For more information on vaccine sites near you, click here. – KBPS Staff

San Diego County To Provide Rental Assistance To Those Eligible

– 4:44 p.m., Tuesday Feb. 23, 2021

Starting next Tuesday, San Diego County renters will be able to apply for additional rental and utility assistance through the county’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

The program, funded by $100 million in state and federal money, is meant to assist low-income renters who’ve experienced loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those eligible can receive assistance for back-rent and utility bills dating from April 2020 to March 2021.

The amount of back-rent covered by the program, however, depends on if the landlord agrees to participate in the program. Landlords who are owed back-rent can also apply to the program on behalf of their tenants.

To qualify for the program, residents:

  • Must have experienced financial hardship, directly or indirectly related to COVID-19
  • Earn no more than 80% area median income (e.g. a single-person household can earn up to $64,700)
  • Must be either at risk of homelessness or facing housing instability
  • Must not live in the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista. (Those residents may visit this website for information about rental assistance for their respective cities.)
  • Must not receive aid from other forms of housing subsidies, other rental assistance programs or rapid rehousing assistance

First priority goes to applicants with household income at or below 50% of area median income and have been unemployed at least 90 days from the date of application. Single-parent households and those living in areas with ”less access to healthy opportunities based on the Healthy Places Index” will be further prioritized.

Click here for information on how to apply to San Diego County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program or call (858) 694-4801. – Lara McCaffrey, KPBS Web Producer

San Diego Unified School District Plans To Reopen Schools In April

– 12:00 p.m., Tuesday Feb. 23, 2021

San Diego Unified San Diego Unified School District has announced it plans to launch hybrid instruction for all grades on April 12th, which would allow students to split their time between virtual and in-person learning. In preparation, the county will start vaccinating district employees next Monday, March 1.

School board president Richard Barrera said the April timeline is contingent on both the staff being vaccinated and San Diego County being out of the purple tier for COVID-19 infection rates.

Last Friday, Gov. Newsom said California plans to set aside 10% of first vaccine doses for educators, school staff and childcare providers starting in March to help get children back in classrooms.

San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher released a statement Tuesday morning applauding the district and the teachers union for reaching an agreement on the timeline for hybrid instruction.

In a written statement, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said:

“I want to thank San Diego Unified for providing a clear timeline on getting kids back in the classroom and, more importantly, providing parents with some certainty. This news provides some relief to parents who have had to juggle multiple roles during the pandemic. While a hybrid schedule is still difficult for many working families, this represents a step in the right direction. I will keep working with and urging the school district officials, teachers and stakeholders to continue making progress toward getting our kids back in the classroom full time.”

Barrera said the district will survey parents to get a more accurate sense of how many students will be on campus, which will help the district determine the details of hybrid instruction.

San Diego County public health officials Monday reported 321 new infections, increasing the county’s total to 257,351 since the pandemic began. The death toll decreased by one to 3,189 due to a reporting error.

It was the 11th consecutive day with fewer than 1,000 new cases. The 321 infections are the fewest reported since early November.

Of 9,806 tests reported Monday, 3% returned positive, decreasing the 14-day average positive percentage to 4.7% from Sunday’s 4.9%.

Virus-related hospitalizations continue to decline, dropping to 639 patients — 205 of whom are in intensive care units. COVID hospitalizations have decreased by 59% in the past 30 days while ICU patients with COVID-19 have decreased by 53% in the same time period. – KPBS Staff

Petco Park Vaccine Site To Re-Open Tuesday

– 6:12 p.m., Monday Feb. 22, 2021

The Petco Park COVID-19 vaccine super station will reopen Tuesday following a five-day closure owing to delayed vaccine shipments.

The Petco Park site — San Diego County’s largest COVID-19 vaccination site — has been closed since Thursday as inclement weather has made shipment from the Midwest and East Coast difficult. It only uses the Moderna vaccine, while other sites use Pfizer or both.

Appointments for second doses Friday through Monday were canceled and will be automatically rescheduled, UC San Diego Health officials said. People who had appointments should check the MyUCSDChart website for updates.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that people can wait up to 42 days between doses and still achieve maximum immunity.

If a person received a first dose of Pfizer or Moderna, they cannot switch and get the second dose of the other company’s vaccine and still achieve effective immunity.

San Diego County public health officials reported 321 new infections Monday, increasing the county’s total to 257,351 since the pandemic began. The death toll decreased by one to 3,189 due to a reporting error.

It was the 11th consecutive day with fewer than 1,000 new cases. The 321 infections are the fewest reported since early November. – City News Service

Limited COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments Available At Del Mar Fairgrounds

– 11:00 a.m., Monday Feb. 22, 2021

While the San Diego County COVID-19 Petco Park vaccine super station remains closed due to delayed vaccine shipments, limited appointments are available at the Del Mar Fairgrounds vaccination site.

Scripps Health announced Monday there are about 2,100 available appointments available over the next three days.

– Approximately 600 appointments are available for Monday, Feb. 22.

– Approximately 1,200 appointments are available for Tuesday, Feb. 23.

– Approximately 350 appointments are available for Wednesday, Feb. 24.

These drive-through vaccinations using the Pfizer vaccine are available by appointment only.

Visit myturn.ca.gov to schedule an appointment.

Currently, all county COVID-19 vaccination points of dispensing and the North County Super Station in San Marcos are only offering appointments for second doses.

Appointments for first doses at these sites are being rescheduled into next week.

The Sharp HealthCare vaccination super station sites at Chula Vista Center and Grossmont Center are still offering first and second dose appointments with Pfizer vaccine.

The massive winter storm gripping much of the nation has slowed supply lines for the vaccines. Moderna produces the bulk of its vaccines in Massachusetts, while Pfizer makes its in Michigan. Sub-freezing temperatures across much of the United States have delayed shipments of the vials around the country. – – KPBS Staff

517 New COVID-19 Cases And Two Additional Deaths Reported

– 4:43 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021

San Diego County reported 517 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths as UC San Diego Health officials said the Petco Park COVID-19 vaccine super station will be closed Monday because of delayed vaccine shipments.

Appointments for second doses on Feb. 19-22 were canceled and will be automatically rescheduled, the hospital said. People who had appointments should check the MyUCSDChart website for updates.

Sunday’s data increased the number of COVID-19 infections to 257,030 since the pandemic began, while the death toll increased to 3,190.

It was also the 10th consecutive day with cases below 1,000.

Of 18,194 tests reported Saturday, 4% returned positive.

Three community outbreaks were reported Saturday, with 26 reported in the past week and 102 cases associated with those outbreaks.

As of Friday, of the 779,000 vaccine doses the county has received, 705,985 have been administered, more than 5,000 are awaiting processing and 67,000 are yet to be administered. A total of 18.5% of San Diego County’s population over the age of 16 have received at least one dose and 6.4% are fully inoculated.

San Diego County Reports 711 new cases of COVID-19, 19 Deaths

– 5:36 p.m., Saturday Feb. 20, 2021

San Diego County Saturday reported 711 new cases of COVID-19 and 19 additional deaths as UC San Diego Health officials announced that the Petco Park COVID-19 vaccine super station will be closed Sunday and Monday because of delayed vaccine shipments.

Saturday’s data increased the number of COVID-19 infections to 256,513 since the pandemic began, while the death toll increased to 3,188.

It was also the ninth consecutive day with cases below 1,000 and the 12th straight day to fall beneath that metric.

Of 18,194 tests reported Saturday, 4% returned positive.

Three community outbreaks were reported Saturday, with 26 reported in the past week and 102 cases associated with those outbreaks. –KPBS Staff

Petco Park COVID-19 Vaccine Super Station Closed Through Monday

– 1:53 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021

The Petco Park COVID-19 vaccine super station, which was scheduled to open Sunday, will instead be closed Sunday and Monday because of delayed vaccine shipments, UC San Diego Health officials said today.

Appointments for second doses on Feb. 19-22 were temporarily canceled and will be automatically be rescheduled, the hospital said. People who had appointments should check the MyUCSDChart website for updates.

The federal government announced it would attempt to get all delayed COVID-19 vaccines to their designated locations by the end of next week, and San Diego County public health officials said they were ready to administer those doses as soon as they arrive.

“We have the mechanism in place to be able to administer all the doses we get in San Diego County,” Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said Friday. “In the meantime, we’re asking San Diegans to be patient. As the delayed doses arrive, we will administer them to everyone who has an appointment and release new time slots.”

The county’s Health and Human Services Agency said residents who were scheduled for their second dose of the vaccine will also be rescheduled. – City News Service

San Diego Judge Allows Youth Sports To Resume In San Diego County

– 6:00 p.m., Friday, Feb. 19, 2021

A judge today cleared the way for youth sporting activities including football and basketball to resume in San Diego County, hours after the state revised its guidelines to allow the activities in counties with relatively low rates of new COVID-19 cases.

The state’s new standard allows for a resumption of “outdoor high- contact sports” in counties that reach an adjusted daily average of 14 new cases per 100,000 residents. San Diego County currently has a rate of 22.2 cases per 100,000 residents.

However, through a lawsuit recently filed by two San Diego-area high school athletes, a judge on Friday granted a temporary restraining order allowing high school and youth sports to resume in San Diego County “as long as the(y) follow the same or similar COVID-19 protocols imposed for competition in professional and/or collegiate sports within the county.”

San Diego Superior Court Judge Earl H. Maas III, who heard arguments Friday afternoon from attorneys representing the state, county and the two student athletes, agreed with the plaintiffs in his written ruling that young athletes were not at greater risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 than their professional or collegiate counterparts. – City News Service

Appointments Available At Chula Vista, Grossmont Vaccination Sites

– 12:48 p.m., Friday, Feb. 19, 2021

While Petco Park and Balboa Park vaccination sites have temporarily closed due to shipment delays of COVID-19vaccines, Chula Vista and Grossmont’s sites have walk-in appointments available.

According to Sharp HealthCare officials, 200 walk-in appointments are available at Chula Vista’s Vaccination Super Station Friday. Six thousand appointment slots are open at Chula Vista and Grossmont Center’s vaccination site Saturday and Sunday combined.

Those wishing to make an appointment can visit San Diego County’s website for more information. – KPBS Staff

County Reschedules Vaccine Appointments As 810 Cases, 36 Deaths Reported

– 7:17 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021

San Diego County rescheduled hundreds of COVID-19 vaccine appointments due to weather-related shortages Thursday as public health officials reported 810 new viral infections and 36 deaths.

The massive winter storm gripping much of the nation has frozen supply lines for the vaccines, prompting county officials to reschedule approximately 1,000 first-dose appointments at its sites on Thursday and Friday. Those affected are being notified they will be rescheduled for next week, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.

Moderna produces the bulk of its vaccines in Massachusetts, while Pfizer makes its in Michigan. Sub-freezing temperatures across much of the United States have delayed shipments of the vials around the country.

As of Thursday, of the 765,500 vaccine doses the county has received, 684,278 have been administered, more than 4,000 are awaiting processing and 77,000 are yet to be administered. Nearly 18% of San Diego County’s population over the age of 16 have received at least one dose and 5.5% are fully inoculated.

The county has five vaccine super stations and 15 smaller neighborhood distribution sites. Despite the supply chain problems, Fletcher said the county has allocated its vaccines efficiently enough that he believes teachers, food and agriculture workers and law enforcement officers will be able to begin receiving vaccines by as soon as the first week of March. – City News Service

Petco Park Super Station Closing Temporarily Due To Supply Issues

– 3:14 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021

San Diego County will shut down the Petco Park vaccination site Friday through at least Saturday due to supply chain issues with delivering COVID-19 vaccines, county spokesperson Mike Workman confirmed.

The delays could also be extended through Sunday and Monday, depending on vaccine arrival.

In North County, all PODs and supersites at San Marcos are offering second doses only.

RELATED: Tracking Vaccines In San Diego County

Palomar Health’s COVID-19 vaccination site will be closed Friday, but open on Saturday. Appointments can be rescheduled through MyTurn. It’ll be closed Sunday and Monday as per usual.

“Sharp Chula Vista and Grossmont are not doing any Moderna vaccine and still doing first and second dose Pfizer,” said Sarah Sweeney, San Diego Health & Human Services Agency spokesperson, in a written statement.

Weather-related delays of vaccine shipments has also forced the closure of vaccination sites in Orange County and postponed vaccination appointments in Los Angeles County. – KPBS Staff, City News Service

COVID-19 Vaccine Shipments Delayed Again Due To Bad Weather

– 3:26 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021

Bad weather around the U.S. has caused delays for some COVID-19 shipments that were expected to arrive this week in San Diego County.

“We have received word that several shipments that were scheduled to arrive this week will not be arriving due to weather,” Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said during a Wednesday press conference.

WATCH LIVE: San Diego County Health Officials Provide An Update On COVID-19

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Nevertheless, the vaccination super station at Petco Park reopened Wednesday morning after being closed due to a delayed Moderna vaccine shipment. But, Fletcher said starting Thursday, the county will pause ongoing vaccination at some locations.

The supply chain issues should resolve themselves over the next week to 10 days, Fletcher said. – KPBS Staff

San Diego Reports 568 New COVID-19 Cases

– 7:50 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021

Public health officials had reported 568 new COVID-19 infections and 28 deaths on Sunday.

Of the 13,700 tests Sunday, 4% returned positive, bringing the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 5.8%.

The total number of cases was reported to be 252,250 on Sunday, and the total virus-related death toll rose to 3,037.

Eight community outbreaks were reported Sunday, bringing the total over the past week to 62. There were 255 cases associated with the recent outbreaks.

Hospitalizations were up 27 and patients moved to an ICU unit were up four. – City News Service

Sailors Aboard USS Roosevelt Test Positive For COVID-19 While Deployed

– 6:22 p.m., Monday, Feb. 15, 2021

Three sailors aboard the San Diego-based USS Roosevelt tested positive for COVID-19 a month into the ship’s deployment in the South China Sea, according to a statement released Monday by the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet.

The trio of sailors, who tested positive on Sunday, have not experienced any symptoms, Navy officials said. Those sailors and others closest to them have been isolated in accordance with Navy and CDC guidance.

The Theodore Roosevelt and Nimitz Carrier Strike Groups are conducting dual carrier operations in a multi-month deployment, according to the Navy’s website.

A Navy spokesman in San Diego did not have information on whether servicemembers on the Theodore Roosevelt have been vaccinated. – City News Service

Petco Park Vaccination Super Station Will Reopen Wednesday

– 6:08 p.m., Monday, Feb. 15, 2021

UC San Diego officials said the super station at Petco Park will be operational again on Wednesday after a missed Moderna vaccine shipment temporarily shut down the site. The location is operated by UC San Diego Health with support from the county and is usually very busy — delivering 5,000 vaccinations daily.

On Friday, county officials announced the site would be closed for a few days due to lack of supplies, but that shipment is still expected to arrive on Tuesday.

Even though the downtown site is closed, the county’s other super stations and smaller sites are still taking vaccination appointments. That includes the CSU San Marcos location and the new drive-thru site that just opened last week at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Monday afternoon the fairgrounds site had first-dose appointments open for majority of this week. – Matt Hoffman, KPBS General Assignment Reporter

San Diego County Reports 568 COVID-19 Cases, 28 Deaths As Vaccine Shortage Hits

– 5:49 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021

Public health officials have reported 568 new COVID- 19 infections and 28 deaths as San Diego County faces a vaccine shortage because of a delayed Moderna shipment.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 13,700 tests Sunday. The 14-day rolling average of positive tests was 4%.

The total number of cases was reported to be 252,250 on Sunday and the death toll rose to 3,037.

Eight community outbreaks were reported Sunday, bringing the total over the past week to 62. There were 255 cases associated with the recent outbreaks.

Hospitalizations were up 27 and patients moved to an ICU unit were up four.

The delayed vaccine shipment, now expected on Tuesday, forced some vaccination sites to dramatically slow the pace of inoculations or reschedule appointments altogether.

San Diego County coronavirus inoculation sites have received 703,200 doses of vaccine and administered 597,945 doses, according to the HHSA.

A total of 16.44% of San Diego County residents age 16 and over have received at least one of the two shots required to develop antibody protection against the virus. Around 4.02% of the population over the age of 16 is fully vaccinated.

San Diego County Reports 891 COVID-19 Cases, 30 Deaths As Vaccine Shortage Hits

– 6:13 p.m., Sat. Feb. 13, 2021

San Diego County is facing a vaccine shortage because of a delayed Moderna shipment, as public health officials reported 891 new COVID-19 infections and 30 deaths.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 18,223 tests Saturday. The 14-day rolling average of positive tests declined from 6.4% Thursday to 6.3% Friday and rose to 6.7% Saturday.

The total number of cases was reported to be 251,682 on Saturday and the death toll rose to 3,009.

Seven community outbreaks were reported Saturday, bringing the total over the past week to 64. There were 267 cases associated with the recent outbreaks.

Hospitalizations were up 72 and patients moved to an ICU unit declined by one.

The delayed vaccine shipment, expected Tuesday, forced some vaccination sites to dramatically slow the pace of inoculations or reschedule appointments altogether.

The interruption will affect the region’s largest vaccination site, the UC San Diego Health Petco Park Super Station, with no vaccinations taking place on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Petco appointments will be automatically rescheduled through UCSD MyChart.

The Chula Vista and La Mesa super stations have supplies sufficient to get through Monday. The county’s distribution sites and super station in San Marcos have sufficient supplies to meet second-dose appointments, along with a limited supply of first doses, county officials said. – City News Service

San Diego County Reports 817 COVID-19 Cases, 24 Deaths As Vaccine Shortage Hits

– 6:11 p.m., Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

San Diego County is facing a vaccine shortage owning to a delayed Moderna shipment, as public health officials reported 817 new COVID-19 infections and 24 deaths Friday.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 20,533 tests Friday, 4% of which returned positive. The 14-day rolling average of positive tests declined from 6.4% Thursday to 6.3% Friday.

A milestone in case numbers was crossed Friday, as the county’s cumulative cases crossed the quarter-million mark to 250,791. The death toll rose to 2,979.

The delayed vaccine shipment, expected Tuesday, forced some vaccination sites to dramatically slow the pace of inoculations or reschedule appointments altogether.

The interruption will affect the region’s largest vaccination site, the UC San Diego Health Petco Park Super Station, with no vaccinations taking place on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Petco appointments will be automatically rescheduled through UCSD MyChart. – City News Service

California Releases Interactive Map Of School Reopenings

– 2:19 p.m., Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday the release of an interactive map showing the status of school reopenings across California. The map can provide data to school officials to help them make reopening decisions, said a release from the governor’s office.

The “Safe Schools Reopening Map” shows which districts have in-person instruction, which are remote learning only and those that employ a hybrid model. It will show data from not only school districts, but charter and private schools.

“As COVID-19 conditions continue to improve and vaccinations ramp up throughout the state, this map will provide local communities with accessible, up-to-date information on how districts in their communities and beyond are adapting to the pandemic, including safety planning and implementation,” said Governor Newsom.

The California Department of Public Health will be adding other data points to the map such as outbreaks reported. Schools are supposed to input data every two weeks, to provide up-to-date information. Additional data — like student enrollment — is to be collected and displayed, subject to legislative approval. – Lara McCaffrey, KPBS web producer

California Adds 4-6 Million People To COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility List

– 2:43 p.m., Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

California is expanding the list of people eligible for coronavirus vaccine by another 4 to 6 million people.

State Health Director Dr. Mark Ghaly said Friday that starting March 15 severely disabled people and those with health conditions that put them at high risk can get in line for shots.

Among those included are people with certain cancer, heart, lung and kidney conditions, as well as pregnant women, those with Down syndrome, organ transplant recipients and the severely obese.

California has been plagued by vaccine shortages and Ghaly acknowledged he’s not sure how long it will take for the federal supply of shots to meet demand. – Associated Press

Delayed Shipment Causes COVID-19 Vaccine Shortage In San Diego County

– 12:58 p.m., Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

The County of San Diego announced a shortage of COVID-19 vaccine Friday caused by the delayed arrival of an expected Moderna shipment. The shipment is expected now on Tuesday.

Due to the delayed arrival, vaccination sites in the county will slow operations and even reschedule appointments. However, second doses will remain priority.

The following sites will be affected: UC San Diego Health Petco Park Super Station, with no vaccinations taking place on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Petco appointments will be automatically rescheduled through UCSD MyChart.

The South County Super Station has supplies sufficient to get it through Monday as does the East County Super Station.

The County PODs and North County Super Station in San Marcos have sufficient supplies to meet second dose appointments along with a limited supply of first doses.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has advised that people can wait up to 42 days between doses and still achieve maximum immunity. – KPBS Staff

USD Implements ’Stay-On-Campus’ Order Due To COVID-19 Surge

– 11:42 a.m., Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

University of San Diego (USD) officials issued a “stay-on-campus” order Friday due to the surging COVID-19 cases at the school.

USD President James T. Harris III released a video on Twitter announcing temporary directives for students living on-campus. These include:

-All on-campus resident students must stay on campus and are not permitted off-campus for non-essential reasons.

-All co-curricular student organizations and activities may function only in a virtual or remote setting

Harris asked students living off-campus to shelter-in-place to “the greatest extent possible.”

“It’s clear from our tracing efforts that parties and other social gatherings off-campus are occurring. These events, coupled with the disregard by some for our health and safety measures both on and off-campus, are the primary reason for the recent surge in cases” Harris said.

Students are encouraged to enjoy the outdoors while taking “appropriate precautions” — wearing face coverings, staying six-feet apart from others and hand washing. – Lara McCaffrey, KPBS web producer

San Diego County Reports 1,113 COVID-19 Cases, 51 Deaths

– 10:15 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021

San Diego County public health officials reported 1,113 new COVID-19 infections and 51 fatalities Thursday, breaking a three-day streak of fewer than 1,000 new cases and bringing the number of cases since the start of the pandemic to just shy of 250,000 and the death toll to 2,955.

Of 21,356 tests reported Thursday by the county’s Health and Human Services Agency, 5% returned positive, continuing a slow decrease in the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to below 6.5%, the lowest yet this year.

San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher noted the increase in new case numbers and deaths but said numbers overall were still trending favorably.

In the last two days, 102 people have died of the virus in the county, 83 of whom were senior citizens, according to the HHSA. Fletcher asked people to be cautious and be aware the virus still remains deadly.

Hospitalizations continued to decline, dropping to 945 from 992 on Wednesday. The number of intensive care patients decreased by 12 to 306, and the HHSA said there were 46 available staffed ICU beds in the county as of Thursday. – City News Service

UCSD, County Begins COVID-19 Testing Program For Schools And Childcare Centers

– 10:15 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021

In an effort to help schools reduce the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks as they resume in-person instruction, UC San Diego and San Diego County are testing a program to detect the virus which causes COVID-19 at schools and child care centers, it was announced Thursday.

Modeled after UCSD’s Return to Learn — an approach to safely resume teaching, learning and research at a university — Safer at School Early Alert system is scaled for individual schools and child care centers without the resources available at a research university.

Through daily wastewater and surface monitoring, the alert system tests for the presence of particles of SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19-causing coronavirus. Combined with a responsive testing strategy, the aim is to quickly identify children or staff members who are infected with COVID-19 before an outbreak occurs.

Ten San Diego County-area TK-8 schools and two child care centers are participating in this SARS-CoV-2 early detection program, funded by the county and designed by UCSD.

When Vista Grande Elementary School began offering a hybrid-teaching model with 50% in-person classroom capacity, it instituted daily symptom screening, social distancing and requiring masks be worn by all students and staff. – City News Service

2 Cases Of South African Virus Variant Found In California

– 6:25 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021

The first cases of the South African strain of the coronavirus were reported Wednesday in California, a worrisome development that comes as the state’s COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations plummet but its vaccination rollout continues to draw criticism.

The cases were found in Alameda and Santa Clara counties, both in the San Francisco Bay Area. In total, the state has less than 1,500 identified cases of different variants, Newsom said. Alameda County officials offered few details on their individual, saying they had just started their investigation, while Santa Clara County’s health officer said the individual had an extensive international traveling history and quarantined as mandated after returning home.

Scientists and health officials fear the variants could be more contagious, less responsive to treatments and more likely to re-infect people who already had the virus. The South African variant was first identified in the United States late last month in South Carolina. – Associated Press

San Diego County Reports 810 COVID-19 Cases, 51 Deaths

– 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021

San Diego County public health officials reported 810 new COVID-19 cases and 51 deaths Wednesday as the county announced plans for a new vaccination super station at the Del Mar Fairgrounds to open Friday.

The percentage of positive tests and hospitalizations continued to decline Wednesday, good indicators the pandemic may finally be on the wane, despite the heavy death toll.

Of 19,461 tests reported by the county’s Health and Human Services Agency on Wednesday, 4% returned positive, dropping the 14-day rolling average of positive tests from 6.8% last week to 6.5%, the lowest yet in 2021.

Hospitalizations from the virus dropped below 1,000 for the first time this year, declining by 29 patients from Tuesday to 992. Intensive care patients rose by one overnight to 318 but remain generally on the decline. There were 43 available, staffed ICU beds in the county as of Wednesday. – City News Service

Companies To Test COVID-19 Safety Concepts At San Diego International Airport

– 8:02 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021

San Diego International Airport has invited six companies to test health and safety concepts aimed at improving traveler protection amid the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said Wednesday.

The companies in the accelerator program at the airport’s Innovation Lab will take part through the summer. The effort will include online workshops, sessions with Airport Authority experts and potentially live testing in the airport as health and safety restrictions permit.

The program will focus on airport health and safety, particularly mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

“COVID forced airports around the world to re-evaluate health and safety protocols to mitigate spreading the virus,” said Rick Belliotti, airport director of Customer Experience & Innovation. “We recruited companies that offer viable solutions to reducing passenger contact with high-touch points and effectively managing social distancing. This is an exceptional batch of innovators and we are already extremely impressed with their ideas that have the potential to shape the future airport customer experience.” – City News Service

Supervisors Vote Down Proposal To Prioritize Law Enforcement For COVID-19 Vaccine

– 6:41 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021

A divided Board of Supervisors Tuesday rejected a proposal to immediately administer COVID-19 vaccinations to all law enforcement personnel, with dissenters citing the limited availability of vaccine doses and the need to finish inoculating health care workers and seniors.

Supervisor Joel Anderson made the proposal, saying it was important to prioritize those in uniform, who are risk every day while out in the field. A law enforcement officer who contracts COVID-19 may not die, but if they’re not on duty, it hurts overall public safety and could put residents’ lives at risk, Anderson argued.

“I’m not saying what’s best for every district, (but) we’d like to move law enforcement up,” he said, adding that counties such as Monterey, Riverside and Sacramento have made law enforcement vaccinations a priority.

Paramedics, emergency medical technicians and others providing emergency medical services are currently eligible for vaccines, according to the county. However, law enforcement officers are not included in that group. – City News Service

San Diego County Reports 789 COVID-19 Cases, 32 Deaths

– 5:31 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021

an Diego County public health officials reported 789 new COVID-19 cases and 32 deaths Tuesday as hospitalizations and intensive care patient numbers continue to decline.

Of 12,370 tests reported by the county Tuesday, 6% returned positive, dropping the 14-day rolling average of positive tests from 7% Monday to 6.8% Tuesday, the lowest in 2021.

The new infections followed Monday’s numbers — the fewest reported in a single day since Nov. 13, when 611 were reported by the county’s Health and Human Services Agency.

Tuesday’s numbers raise the total number of coronavirus infections in the county throughout the pandemic to 248,051, while the death toll increased to 2,853. – City News Service

San Diego County Gets $52M In State Funds For Rental Assistance

– 4:56 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021

The county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to provide $52 million in state funds for rental assistance to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds will be available to county residents outside the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista, both of which have separate funding assistance.

Emergency rental assistance funds “will bring needed financial relief to families who are still having a hard time making ends meet as we work our way back from the devastating effects of this pandemic,” said board Chairman Nathan Fletcher, who is also a member of the county’s COVID-19 subcommittee.

Fletcher also praised the Biden administration and Gov. Gavin Newsom “in recognizing there are still struggling families that continue to need our support.” The funding comes from the recently adopted Senate Bill 91.

Supervisors had three options on how to handle fund distribution, and chose one that gives the county more say on allocating the money. – City News Service

Supervisors OK More Small Business Aid, Pending State, Federal Dollars

– 3:14 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously voted to provide $30 million in grants to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as soon as federal or state stimulus dollars are available.

County staff will develop the grant program, and each supervisor’s office will choose the recipients.

Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, who made the proposal along with colleague Joel Anderson, said it was important to support small businesses, who were “asked to sacrifice their livelihoods for the greater good” once the pandemic began.

The county’s many mom-and-pop stores “are (the) backbone of our local communities,” she added. “This is the right thing to do.”

To be eligible, small businesses must employee fewer than 20 people, and comply with state and local public health guidelines. – City News Service

San Diego Announces Loans To Help Businesses Adapt To COVID-19 Restrictions

– 2:07 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021

San Diego announced a business loan program Tuesday aimed at helping owners adapt to changing restrictions and protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 3% interest loans ranging from $25,000 to $95,000 are for qualified businesses as part of the CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund. The money can be used to cover expenses such as furniture, safety equipment, website development and digital marketing.

“With the pandemic, it’s our goal as a city to do everything we can to help small businesses survive,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “We hope by lending financial assistance, we can help these businesses with a much-needed lifeline during this time of uncertainty.”

The city’s Economic Development Department is issuing the loans with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.

The non-forgivable, term loans are intended to help entrepreneurs adapt their business models to operating under pandemic restrictions while retaining or creating jobs. The city may only make RLF loans that are reasonably expected to be repaid in full. – City News Service

San Diego County Reports 698 COVID-19 Cases, Fewest Since Nov. 13

– 7:07 p.m., Monday, Feb. 8, 2021

San Diego County public health officials reported 698 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths as UC San Diego Health opened a vaccination super station on its campus Monday.

The new infections are the fewest reported in a single day since Nov. 13, when 611 were reported. Monday’s data raises the aggregate coronavirus infections in the county to 247,262, while the death toll remains at 2,821.

Monday’s low numbers do come with some caveats, however. Mondays have tended to be the lowest-reporting day of the week, and just 10,523 tests were reported Monday, 7% of which were positive for the virus. The 14-day rolling average of positive tests declined over the weekend from 7.7% to 7% on Monday. The county averages 18,475 daily tests, according to data provided by the county’s Health and Human Services Agency. – City News Service

Report Concludes Leadership Failures Led to USS Theodore Roosevelt Outbreak

– 7:05 p.m., Monday, Feb. 8, 2021

Ineffective social distancing and the premature release of sailors from quarantine were the primary causes of increased COVID- 19 infection aboard the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, according to a report released Monday by the Department of Defense.

The findings were featured in a report evaluating the Navy’s response to COVID-19 infections on board warships and submarines, and included pointed criticisms of the Roosevelt’s leadership team’s decisions.

The first Roosevelt sailors tested positive last March 24. The ship’s outbreak ultimately resulted in more than 1,200 sailors testing positive for the virus, one of whom died.

According to the report from the DOD’s Office of Inspector General, “the USS Theodore Roosevelt leadership did not effectively implement mitigation measures for the majority of the crew,” including by allowing social gathering areas to remain open and releasing sailors from shipboard quarantine due to the belief that infection was increasing amid crowded conditions onboard.

The report says the ship’s leaders believed “social distancing would be impossible onboard an aircraft carrier” and thus allowed social gathering areas like gyms to remain open. The report also states that urinalysis screenings for illegal substances continued, though “the leadership team should have considered (the screenings) non-essential during the COVID-19 outbreak.” – City News Service

Gov. Newsom Visits San Diego’s Vaccination Super Station At Petco Park

– 3:16 p.m., Monday, Feb. 8, 2021

Gov. Gavin Newsom toured the Vaccination Super Station at Petco Park Monday and congratulated San Diego on its work administering doses at the state’s first-of-its-kind mass vaccination site, nearly one month after it opened.

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The governor held his daily COVID-19 update on the infield of Petco Park, during which he said San Diego “inspired others all throughout the state of California” with its vaccination super station, where about one-third of all county residents who have been vaccinated received their doses, according to officials.

Saying he had “deep respect and deep admiration” for county leadership, Newsom said San Diego County is “leading this state, per capita, in the administration and distribution of this vaccine.”

But Newsom acknowledged a nationwide vaccine scarcity and said distribution needs to be ramped up locally to vaccinate a state of nearly 40 million people. – City News Service

Breeders’ Cup, Planned For Del Mar, Delays Ticket Sales Due To COVID-19

– 1:50 p.m., Monday, Feb. 8, 2021

Organizers of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships are delaying ticket sales for the November horse racing event until there is more clarity from COVID-19 vaccine progress and event restrictions, it was announced Monday.

Drew Fleming, president and CEO of Breeders’ Cup Limited, said it was still his intention to have fans in person at the two-day event, planned for Nov. 5-6 at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

“As always, the health and safety of our fans, participants, employees, athletes and the public remain our top priority,” he said. “We are working closely with Del Mar, local officials and public health experts to safely plan the 2021 World Championships.

“To ensure we have the most up-to-date safety protocols in place in compliance with CDC guidelines, including the permitted levels of attendance, we are delaying ticket sales for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships until we have greater clarity on the ever-changing landscape. Rest assured, it is our strong intent to safely host fans at the 2021 World Championships,” Fleming said.

– City News Service

UC San Diego Health Opens Vaccine Super Site On Campus For Patients, Faculty

– 10:33 a.m., Monday, Feb. 8, 2021

UC San Diego Health opened a COVID-19 Vaccination Super Station on campus Monday, intended to serve vaccination-eligible UCSD Health patients as well as the university’s faculty and staff.

The vaccination site is operating inside UCSD’s Recreation, Intramural and Athletic Complex and is the fifth such Vaccination Super Station in the county.

“The opening of a new vaccination site at RIMAC represents another opportunity to partner with the County of San Diego to end the pandemic,” said UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla. “UC San Diego Health is a statewide leader in vaccine distribution. Our continuing partnership with the county and the opening of this new superstation are parts of our overall commitment to establish the San Diego region as an exemplar for vaccine distribution.”

The RIMAC site at 9730 Hopkins Drive is operated by UCSD Health, which also collaborates with the county, San Diego Padres and San Diego to run a vaccination superstation adjacent to Petco Park in downtown San Diego.

The Petco site, which opened Jan. 11, operates seven days a week and inoculates roughly 5,000 persons each day. As of Sunday, more than 100,000 people had received their first doses of vaccine at the Petco site. Gov. Gavin Newsom is scheduled to visit the site late this morning with San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

– City News Service

San Diego County Reports 1,230 New COVID-19 Cases, Nine Deaths

– 4:37 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021

San Diego County public health officials reported 1,230 new COVID-19 infections Sunday and nine additional deaths from the virus.

After Tuesday’s case totals came in at 926, ending a 63-day streak with more than 1,000 cases, it appeared the pandemic in San Diego County was ebbing. On Wednesday, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 968 new cases, but 1,598 new cases were reported on Thursday.

Sunday’s’ report pushed the aggregate coronavirus numbers in the county to 246,564 cases and 2,821 deaths from the disease since the pandemic started.

ICU patients with COVID-19 decreased by 95 in that two-week window. There are 42 available, staffed ICU beds in the county.

The county health agency reported 10 new community outbreaks Saturday, bringing the total in the past week to 73, tied to 285 cases. – City News Service

San Diego County Health Officials Report 1,265 New COVID Cases, 35 Deaths

– 9:00 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021

San Diego County public health officials have reported 1,265 new COVID-19 infections Saturday and 35 deaths from the virus.

After Tuesday’s case totals came in at 926, ending a 63-day streak with more than 1,000 cases, it appeared the pandemic was ebbing. On Wednesday, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 968 new cases but 1,598 cases Thursday.

Saturday’s report pushed the aggregate coronavirus numbers in the county to 245,334 cases and 2,812 deaths from the disease since the pandemic started.

The HHSA reported 1,183 patients with COVID-19 in county hospitals, 353 of whom were in intensive care units, a decrease of nearly 400 hospitalized people from two weeks ago and 621 fewer than the record 1,804 patients set Jan. 12.

ICU patients with COVID-19 decreased by 95 in that two-week window. There are 42 available, staffed ICU beds in the county.

The county health agency reported 10 new community outbreaks Friday, bringing the total in the past week to 73, tied to 394 cases. – City News Service

Chula Vista Church Wins Right To Worship Indoors Amid Pandemic

– 9:11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021

A Chula Vista church was celebrating a legal victory Saturday after the U.S. Supreme Court granted a partial injunction against California’s prohibition against indoor worship services to help limit the spread of coronavirus.

On a 6-3 vote late Friday, the court cited the Constitution’s protection of the free exercise of religion and ruled that “regulations like these violate the First Amendment unless the State can show they are the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling government interest.”

The ruling allowed restrictions on crowd size, singing and chanting to remain in place.

It came in response to filings on behalf of 600-seat South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista and Pasadena-based Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, which has more than 160 churches across the state.

The decision reflected the court’s current ideological divide with six conservative justices in favor of the partial injunction and the three liberals dissenting.

“Justices of this court are not scientists,” Associate Justice Elena Kagan wrote in dissent to the majority ruling. “Nor do we know much about public health policy. Yet today the court displaces the judgments of experts about how to respond to a raging pandemic.”

The ruling did leave in place a 25 percent capacity restriction and a prohibition on singing and chanting.

California’s regional stay-at-home orders have prohibited indoor activities across a broad range of industries, but does allow for outdoor religious services.

Representatives for South Bay and Harvest Rock have argued that outdoor worship or those held by video-conferencing are “inadequate substitutes” for in-person gatherings and that the public health orders prohibit the church “from holding the services mandated by scripture.”

They have also argued that California has arbitrarily allowed certain sectors considered essential to stay open and conduct indoor operations while discriminating against religious institutions. – City News Service

San Diego County Health Officials Report 1,453 New COVID-19 Cases, 39 Deaths

– 7:05 p.m., Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

San Diego County public-health officials Friday reported 1,453 new COVID-19 infections and 39 deaths from the virus, including the county’s first pediatric fatality.

The 10-year-old boy who died from the disease had underlying medical conditions, according to Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer.

“This boy’s death is a somber reminder that this pandemic impacts everyone in our community, regardless of their age, and we must do everything we can to protect each other and slow the spread of the virus,” Wooten said.

After Tuesday’s case totals came in at 926, ending a 63-day streak with more than 1,000 cases, it appeared the pandemic was ebbing. On Wednesday, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 968 new cases but 1,598 cases Thursday.

Friday’s report pushed the aggregate coronavirus numbers in the county to 244,069 cases and 2,777 deaths from the disease since the pandemic started.

Of the 23,259 tests reported Friday, 6% returned positive, nudging the 14-day rolling average up slightly to 7.7% from Thursday’s 7.5%. As recently as Jan. 22, the percentage was more than 10%. – City News Service

First COVID-19 Pediatric Death Reported In San Diego County

– 6:25 p.m., Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency on Friday reported the first COVID-19 pediatric death: a 10-year-old boy with underlying medical conditions.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of this child,” said Wilma J. Wooten, the County’s public health officer. “This boy’s death is a somber reminder that this pandemic impacts everyone in our community, regardless of their age, and we must do everything we can to protect each other and slow the spread of the virus.”

As of Friday morning, 2,738 people have died from COVID-19 complications. – KPBS Staff

San Diego City Receives $45.5 Million In COVID-19 Rent Relief From State

– 10:45 a.m., Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

On the heels of announcing federal rental assistance in late January, Mayor Todd Gloria announced Friday the state will provide $45.5 million in assistance for San Diego residents unable to pay rent due to the impacts of COVID-19.

The state and direct federal funding amounts to nearly $87.9 million in relief for families and individuals who have been devastated financially by the pandemic. This is on top of $13.75 million in emergency rental assistance that helped 3,717 San Diego households in 2020.

“Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and the California Legislature really came through for tenants and landlords in our city and across California who have had an incredibly hard time throughout this crisis,” Mayor Gloria said. “I will work to get these rent relief dollars out for the benefit of our renters as soon as possible.”

The funding comes as part of Senate Bill 91, which distributes to local agencies funds the state received from the federal government. SB 91 also extended a statewide moratorium on evictions of residential tenants unable to pay rent due to the effects of COVID-19. The moratorium is effective through June 30. — City News Service

WH: US Will Boost Vaccines, At-Home Tests

– 10:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

The White House says President Joe Biden is using the Defense Production Act to help bolster vaccine production, at-home coronavirus testing kits and surgical gloves.

Tim Manning, the White House’s COVID-19 supply coordinator, says the administration will help Pfizer clear a bottleneck around capabilities with vaccine production by giving the drugmaker first priority to needed supplies.

Manning says the U.S. is also investing in six manufacturers to develop at-home and point-of-care tests for the coronavirus, with the goal of producing 60 million tests by the end of the summer.

Manning says, “The country is well behind where we need to be in testing,” and the new contracts will help boost supply.

Manning expects the nation will produce more than 1 billion gloves a month by the end of the year. — Associated Press

Pentagon Deploys 1,100 Troops For COVID-19 Vaccine Drive

– 9:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

The Pentagon will deploy more than 1,100 troops to five vaccination centers in what will be the first wave of increased military support for the White House campaign to get more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19.

President Joe Biden has called for setting up 100 mass vaccination centers around the country within a month. Two of the five new military teams will go to vaccination centers opening in California.

Coronavirus senior adviser Andy Slavitt says military personnel will arrive at those centers in a little over a week.

Three additional centers are expected to be announced soon. — Associated Press

Health Officials Report 1,598 New Local COVID-19 Cases

– 7:58 a.m., Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

Public-health officials in San Diego County reported 1,598 new COVID-19 cases Thursday and 55 additional deaths from the disease.

There have been 242,616 coronavirus cases and 2,738 deaths from the disease in San Diego County since the pandemic started, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

There were 968 new cases reported Wednesday by and 926 Tuesday following 63 consecutive days with more than 1,000 new cases.

The “vaccination superstation” at Petco Park administered its 100,000th dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher announced.

“Every dose of the COVID-19 vaccine put in someone’s arm is a reason to celebrate,” Fletcher said. — City News Service

Johnson & Johnson Asks For Emergency Authorization For Its COVD-19 Vaccine

– 3:55 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021

Johnson & Johnson has asked U.S. regulators to clear the world’s first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, an easier-to-use option that could boost scarce supplies.

Preliminary results from a massive study showed J&J’s vaccine was safe and offered strong protection against moderate to severe COVID-19. It didn’t appear quite as strong as two-dose competitors made by Pfizer and Moderna.

Johnson & Johnson filed an application with the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday. An FDA panel will meet and pore over the results.

The company also is studying a two-dose version of its vaccine, but results won’t be available for several more months. — Associated Press

US Coronavirus Deaths Surpasses 450K

– 3:03 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021

Coronavirus deaths in the United States have surpassed 450,000.

The number of daily deaths remains stubbornly high at more than 3,000 a day, despite falling infections and the arrival of multiple vaccines.

Infectious disease specialists expect deaths to start dropping soon, after new cases hit a peak right around the beginning of the year.

The new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says new COVID-19 deaths could ebb as early as next week.

But there’s also the risk that improving trends in infections and hospitalizations could be offset by people relaxing and coming together — including this Sunday to watch the Super Bowl. — Associated Press

County Opens More Vaccine Appointment Times For Thursday At Petco Park

– 11:32 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021

San Diego County Reports Fewer Than 1,000 COVID-19 Cases For Second Straight Day

–3:48 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021

San Diego County public health officials reported 968 new COVID-19 infections and 54 deaths Wednesday as hospitalizations continue to decline, while the number of vaccines continues to be insufficient for demand.

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher praised the work county staff have done in getting vaccine infrastructure running, but admitted the number of actual vaccines available is behind what he would like.

“Efforts have far outpaced the supply of vaccines,” he said.

The county has the capacity to administer more than 20,000 vaccines daily and expects to raise that to 30,000 next week, Fletcher said, but only has the supplies to administer around 10,000 vaccines a day. He asked for patience as the county was working to get more doses.

“Because of this, we only make appointments available for vaccines we have or are confident are coming,” he said. “We don’t want to cancel an appointment.” — City News Service

UCSD Opens COVID-19 Vaccine Super Station

–12:05 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021

UC San Diego Health will open a COVID-19 Vaccination Super Station on the UCSD campus next Monday, serving vaccination-eligible UCSD Health patients as well as the university’s faculty and staff, it was announced Tuesday.

The vaccination site will operate inside the UCSD’s Recreation, Intramural and Athletic Complex and will be the fifth such Vaccination Super Station in the county.

The RIMAC site will be operated by UCSD Health, which also collaborates with the county, San Diego Padres and San Diego to run a vaccination superstation adjacent to Petco Park in downtown San Diego.

Once fully operational, the RIMAC site is projected to provide up to 5,000 vaccinations daily, operating seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Vaccinations will be administered by invitation only through the MyUCSDChart application and an online appointment scheduling process. — City News Service

California Joins Feds In Bid To Speed Coronavirus Vaccines

– 11:41 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021

California is joining with the federal government to open two new vaccination centers as test areas for new President Joseph Biden’s effort to create 100 mass vaccination sites nationwide in 100 days, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

The sites at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum and California State University, Los Angeles, will be jointly run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

The move comes as California’s most deadly pandemic surge eases but as the state struggles with vaccine shortages and bureaucratic headaches in a race to vaccinate a sometimes bewildering array of the most vulnerable.

The new sites are scheduled to open Feb. 16 for eligible members of the public, who will be able to sign up for vaccine appointments using the state’s MyTurn scheduling system. — Associated Press

COVID-19 Cases In San Diego County Hit 2-Month Low; 10 New Deaths

– 5:07 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021

San Diego County public health officials logged 10 COVID-19 deaths and 926 newly confirmed infections Tuesday, marking the first time since Nov. 30 that fewer than 1,000 new cases were reported.

The county’s cumulative caseload rose to 240,050 and the death toll to 2,629 amid signs that the post-holiday case surge is waning.

Of the 9,955 tests reported Tuesday, 9% returned positive, decreasing the 14-day average percentage of positive cases from 8.5% Monday to 8%. As recently as Jan. 13, that average was above 13%.

Although the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 38 new hospital admissions on Tuesday, hospitalizations overall continue to decline.

County health officials said 1,297 people were being treated for the virus in area hospitals as of Tuesday — with 384 of those in intensive care units, down eight from Monday.

The record for COVID-19 hospitalizations — 1,804 — was set Jan. 12 and has declined since. — City News Service

Biden Moves To Provide COVID-19 Vaccine To Pharmacies

– 2:45 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021

The Biden administration will begin providing COVID-19 vaccines to U.S. pharmacies, part of its plan to ramp up vaccinations as new and potentially more serious virus strains are starting to appear. White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients says the government will initially ship about 1 million doses to some 6,500 pharmacies around the country, starting next week.

That’s expected to accelerate as drugmakers increase production. Drug stores have become a mainstay for flu shots and shingles vaccines. The pharmacy vaccine program will be administered by the CDC and include outlets such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid and Costco, and supermarket pharmacies.

The government has distributed nearly 50 million doses, of which about 32 million have been administered, or more than 60%. That’s a marked improvement from just a few weeks ago. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots, taken 21 to 28 days after the first shot. — Associated Press

White House: Don’t Expect ‘Dramatic Shift’ With Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

– 2:33 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021

The White House is tamping down expectations for a potential boost in vaccine distribution if Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 shot is approved by federal regulators.

Andy Slavitt, the White House’s deputy COVID-19 coordinator, told reporters that the single-dose shot would undoubtedly help the Biden administration meet its goal of 300 million vaccinated Americans by the end of summer. But he says: “The expectation should not be that there’s an immediate, dramatic shift.”

The pharmaceutical company reported strong results for the efficacy of its vaccine on Friday and is expected to file for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in the coming days.

Johnson & Johnson is contracted to provide 100 million doses by the end of the second quarter.

Slavitt says he did not anticipate an even distribution, but that most doses “would come towards the end of that contract.” — Associated Press

County’s Fourth Vaccine ‘Super Station’ Opens In La Mesa

– 8:15 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021

San Diego County’s fourth vaccination super station is scheduled to open Tuesday at the Grossmont Center shopping mall in La Mesa. The walk-up clinic will be vaccinating people from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.

Up to 1,000 doses will be administered daily, but the daily capacity of the site operated by Sharp HealthCare is 5,000.

The Grossmont Center location, 5500 Grossmont Center Drive, Ste 212, will replace the site Sharp HealthCare had been operating on Wakarusa Street. Appointments made for that site transfer to the super station at the mall.

Vaccination appointments can be made at vaccinationsuperstationsd.com. The site also includes a map of where vaccines are being distributed. — City News Service

San Diego County Reports 1,082 COVID-19 Infections, Fewest In More Than A Month

– 6:20 p.m., Monday, Feb. 1, 2021

San Diego County public health officials Monday logged 1,082 COVID-19 infections — the fewest new cases in more than a month — and no additional fatalities.

The county’s cumulative COVID-19 case total is now 239,124, and the death toll remains at 2,619.

Of the 11,027 tests reported, 10% were positive for COVID-19, bringing the 14-day rolling average to 8.5%. As recently as Jan. 13, that average was north of 13%.

Although the county reported 342 new hospital admissions on Monday, hospitalizations overall continue to decline.

County health officials said 1,303 people in area hospitals were being treated for the virus as of Monday— with 392 of those in intensive care units, up 12 from Sunday.

A record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations — 1,804 — was set Jan. 12 and has declined since. In the past two weeks, the number of hospitalizations has decreased 23%. — City News Service

Restaurant, Retail COVID-19 Outbreaks Decreased During Stay-at-Home Order

– 5:19 p.m., Monday, Feb. 1, 2021

New data from San Diego County shows that COVID-19 regulations during lockdown led to a decrease in outbreaks and slowed the spread of the virus.

In particular, outbreaks at restaurants, retail spaces and grocery stores in the county fell drastically.

UC San Diego Professor of Epidemiology Andrea LaCroix said the steep decrease in outbreaks suggests that people listened to the stay-at-home order and limited trips to local businesses.

“According to the state data they determined that the mobility of people, the movement of people that they track using anonymized data from our cell phones, showed 40 percent less movement in the community in all places,” LaCroix said.

Lt. Shawn Takeuchi of the San Diego Police Department said law enforcement officers followed up on complaints regarding COVID-19 protocols that they received through the office of the mayor, the county or directly to their department.

He stressed that the majority of businesses are in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.

“Every time there’s a change in what the public has to comply with, what we do as a department is that we go out and make sure that people are understanding or they’re educated about the change in the law and what the requirements are,” Takeuchi said. “If after education compliance wasn’t sought, we did have enforcement as a tool in the form of citations.”

While many restaurant owners voiced their complaints about the most recent lockdown order, LaCroix said the virus will continue to spread without strict stay-at-home orders. — KPBS Staff

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Continue Decline In San Diego County

– 10:58 a.m., Monday, Feb. 1, 2021

San Diego County public health officials are reporting 1,274 new COVID-19 infections and 16 deaths, as hospitalizations related to the virus continued to decline.

The county’s cumulative COVID-19 case total is now 238,042, and the death toll is 2,619.

Of the 18,990 tests reported, 7% were positive COVID-19 cases, dropping the 14-day rolling average to 8.8%. As recently as Jan. 13, that average was north of 13%.

Saturday was the 61st consecutive day with more than 1,000 new cases.

Ten new community outbreaks were reported Saturday, part of 56 reported in the past week tied to 263 infections.

The county has received more than 485,900 vaccines and more than 269,000 have been administered. Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said there is a normal lag in reporting these numbers, but 1.6% of the county’s population over the age of 16 have been fully vaccinated and demand remains high. — City News Service

CDC Says US Cases Down, But 3 Variants Detected

– 9:18 a.m., Monday, Feb. 1, 2021

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are down in recent weeks, but three mutations that are causing concern have been detected in the U.S.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday at the White House coronavirus briefing that most of the dozens of U.S. cases of coronavirus mutations, or variants, involve the strain first detected in the United Kingdom.

But three cases involving a worrisome mutation first detected in South Africa have also been confirmed, as well as one case involving a strain first detected in Brazil.

The UK strain spreads more easily and is believed to be deadlier, but the South Africa strain is prompting even more concern because of early indications that vaccines may not be as protective against it.

Walensky urged Americans to get vaccinated as soon as shots become available to them, and stressed it’s no time to relax basic precautions such as wearing masks. — Associated Press

Fauci Pushes Need For Global Vaccination Effort

– 8:13 a.m., Monday, Feb. 1, 2021

The virus that causes COVID-19 could gain a permanent place in the population without global vaccination, warns the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“We’ve got to get the whole world vaccinated,” Fauci told reporters Monday during the International AIDS Society’s COVID-19 conference. “If we don’t get a global effort, without a doubt, this is not going to go away.”

Vaccine supply greatly lags demand, and access has been uneven around the world. Recent results on two candidate vaccines suggest they may work less well against some virus variants, especially one first detected in South Africa, but they are still extremely good at preventing serious illness or death, Fauci said.

The impact of vaccines on the pandemic depends not just on how well they work but how quickly and completely they’re distributed, he added. Vaccines and public health measures such as wearing masks, keeping social distance, avoiding crowds and washing hands are the best way to prevent more cases and further mutations of the virus, he and other experts at the conference said. — Associated Press

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Alberta records its largest daily case count since early February, adds 430 new infections – CTV Edmonton

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EDMONTON —
Alberta recorded its largest daily increase in new COVID-19 cases since near the start of the month with 430 new infections reported on Wednesday. 

The increase in the largest in one day since the 582 reported on Feb. 4.

Active cases continued to fall, down by 25 to 4,545, a level last seen in late October. 

The number of active cases continues to decline but the rate of decrease has tailed off in the last week, with no triple-digit decreases since Feb. 17 and small increases recorded twice in the past week.

The province also reported 13 deaths, bringing its total to 1,866. Due to delays in death reporting only two of the deaths reported Wednesday occured in February, with five of them going back to December of 2020.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients also continued its downwards trend with 307 reported in hospital, down 20 from Tuesday. The number of patients in intensive care units rose by five, up to 56. 

Alberta reported a 4.64 per cent test positivity on based on 9,467 tests. 

The province reported 22 new variant cases of COVID-19, all of them the B.1.1.7 “U.K.” variant. Eighteen of those cases were recorded in the Calgary health zone, which is significantly larger than the city itself.

More than 186,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered so far.

Dr. Hinshaw returns Monday, March 1, for an in-person update.

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Computer programmer shares workaround to Alberta COVID-19 vaccine booking issues – Global News

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UPDATE: As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, it appeared the website had been changed and the workaround was no longer effective.

Hundreds of people said they were able to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments for their loved ones Wednesday thanks to a workaround published online by a computer programmer.

It all started Wednesday morning when Kory Mathewson‘s family logged on to the Alberta Health Services website to book appointments for Grandma Mufty and Grandpa Bill.

The first appointment was booked after a few tries but getting the second was more difficult.

Like so many other Albertans, once logging onto the website and putting in the postal code, the website stopped working for Mathewson.

Read more:
Alberta COVID-19 vaccine booking site ‘experiencing very high volumes’ as appointments open to those 75 and older

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Being a computer programmer and developer, Mathewson checked out the coding of the website.

He discovered that he could alter the code and bypass the postal code section, going straight to the patient information form.

By doing so, Mathewson was quickly able to book an appointment.

Upon getting the confirmation, he describes feeling immediate relief.

“It’s exactly that. It’s like: ‘Finally! I don’t have to worry.’”

After double checking the process and simplifying it for a less tech-savvy audience, Mathewson posted the workaround to Twitter in hopes of helping others do the same.

“It was like, ‘OK, how do we make this as easy as possible for people?’ You know, people that don’t know code,” Mathewson told Global News.

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Within hours, hundreds of Albertans responded saying the hack had worked for them and they were also able to book appointments for their loved ones.

However, as of 7 p.m. it appeared the website had been changed and the workaround was no longer effective.

In a series of messages on Twitter Wednesday night, AHS said it had “put additional queuing software in place to help manage the volume of users on the AHS COVID-19 immunization booking tool.

“This software will indicate an estimated wait time, and where each individual is in the booking queue to give people the option to continue booking, or to try again later.”

As of 7 p.m., 43,000 eligible seniors 75 and over had booked appointments using the immunization tool and 811 since it went live at 8 a.m., AHS said.

A spokesperson for AHS told Global News that the queueing system has “nothing to do with the workaround” shared on Twitter.

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A Twitter user created a video walking through the steps to show others how to do it in a visual way.

“It was a real community effort and all the different people kind of pulled together to make this solution happen,” said Mathewson.

Read more:
Albertans 75 and older can book COVID-19 vaccine appointments starting 8 a.m. Wednesday

The former Edmontonian believes Alberta Health Services could use the tool to fix the delays for all Albertans.

“In my opinion, this seems like a relatively straightforward fix.”

“I’m more than happy to be connected with the people at AHS to make this happen,” Mathewson said. “Part of the reason that I’m here is to sort of communicate that there are great developers like myself that are ready to help make this possible and make this as frictionless and as easy as possible for all Albertans.”


Click to play video 'Alberta Health Minister says AHS is ‘fixing the the problems’ with COVID-19 vaccine booking system'



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Alberta Health Minister says AHS is ‘fixing the the problems’ with COVID-19 vaccine booking system


Alberta Health Minister says AHS is ‘fixing the the problems’ with COVID-19 vaccine booking system

In a statement, Alberta Health Services confirmed the appointments booked using the workaround were official but that “this is not a permanent solution.”

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“The AHS online immunization booking tool continues to experience extremely high volumes and our IT teams are working to find a way to make the process as fast and efficient as possible for everyone.”

Read more:
Should all seniors get the COVID-19 vaccine before essential workers?

In the meantime, Mathewson and his brother Kyle say they’ll continue to help others looking to book appointments.

“I did this for my grandparents but really, this is for all the grandparents of Alberta,” said Mathewson.

“There’s a lot of people that want this and want to be safe. And hopefully this gets them one step closer and takes away that, ‘when is it going to happen?’”


Mufty and Bill Mathewson.


Courtesy/Kory Mathewson

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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