Community clinics will be critical to getting vaccines to neighborhoods most affected by COVID-19. The Biden Administration says it will be sending vaccine shipments directly to community clinics starting next week. Plus, the local plan to reopen schools. Also, UC San Diego Craft Center is hosting Afrofuturism Dream Tank this weekend for Black History Month.
Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Friday, February 12th.
Federal Help with Vaccine Supply For Community Clinics
That story next but first… let’s do the headlines….
San Diego county public health officials have reported more than 1100 new covid-19 infections on thursday and 51 additional deaths. Positive testing rates continue their slow decrease in the 14-day rolling average. It’s not at 6.5%, the lowest it’s been since the beginning of the year.
Police in the San Francisco Bay area are stepping up patrols and street presence ahead of tonight’s lunar new year celebrations. The increase in patrols follows several violent attacks on elder Asians that were recorded on video and went viral. that’s according to city news service. City officials also visited Chinatowns in the Bay Area and Oakland this week to address safety concerns and to condemn the violence.
Storms are rolling in for San Diego county today. We may see some light rain and some gusts in the deserts and mountains. It’s a fast moving storm, so it’s expected to be sunny and dry by tomorrow morning.
From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.
Stay with me for more of the local news you need.
San Diego wants to vaccinate 1.8 million residents by July – but Vaccine supply is an ongoing challenge. Another challenge is getting the vaccine into the neighborhoods hardest hit by the virus. Community clinics will be key in that effort and this week The Biden Administration announced it will soon be sending vaccines directly to community clinics. Clinics like the ones run by Family Health Centers of San Diego. KPBS Health Reporter Tarryn Mento brings us part one of our ongoing series on the work being done to launch a new vaccination site.
The neon duct tape Victoriano Diaz lays on the ground is not an arbitrary decision.
[09:45] regular tape is going to get dirty. You’re not going to see it on this on this pavement once people start standing on it. So fluorescent tape seems to work well for us (laughs)
It’s a tip picked up after nearly a year of ushering socially distanced crowds through COVID-19 testing sites operated by Family Health Centers of San Diego. The nonprofit is the largest network of community clinics serving San Diegans.
[09:15] …We’re going to place a marker. (sound of tape, pause) Where we’ll have a patient wait in line.
The colorful adhesive will dot the parking lot outside its Logan Heights urgent care. The carefully spaced spots will safely direct up to 750 daily visitors to a COVID-19 vaccination. But like fluorescent adhesive, Diaz will have to make countless other logistical decisions before a syringe can even pierce skin.
[12:48] there’s all kinds of small, little intricate idiosyncrasies that people aren’t aware of that we need to plan for. So simple things like your vaccination card… Where is this vaccination card being given to the person and who’s going to write it?
The careful execution of a site is critical to reaching San Diego County’s vaccination goal. Officials say every shot counts to vaccinate 1.8 million San Diegans by July. And community clinics are key to reaching underserved communities most affected by COVID-19.
[01:57] this is an aerial shot of our Logan Heights family health centers, which is our largest site that we’re going to be providing vaccinations
Half of the rectangle lot already holds a testing site that will have a different entrance than the vaccination side. The citrus duct tape markers will weave vaccine recipients through four zones designed to control bottlenecks.
[11:03] we want the patient to have a good experience. We don’t want them to be standing here waiting. So we want them to have a seating area that they’re going to wait if we do have to take a little bit more time with the patient when giving that vaccine.
But Diaz is already planning for long lines stretching along the sidewalk. The clinic’s zip code has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infections in the county. But it’s also in an area that has the lowest vaccination rate.
[05:30] It’s like if you’re here for nine o’clock, this is your line. If you’re here for 10 o’clock, this is your line. Kind of almost how you would look at it at the airport
They also need to recruit and train the volunteers that will prescreen, register and guide patients through the orchestrated maze.
[02:22] It’s not just about creating vaccinations available for people, but what’s their experience going through the process of getting vaccinations?
And even though this operation is appointment-based, they must ensure sidewalk space for early birds like they saw for testing…
[03:22] we would have 50 to 60 people that were here at five o’clock in the morning
They also have to develop a system to track the 15-minute observation period for dozens of patients with various vaccination times.
[14:03] You would think 15 minute calculations are easy to your head. But when you’re doing 20 people, a 15 minute calculation constantly is very difficult.
And after each 8 hour day, they have to find secure storage for all supplies not in use.
[10:13] you know there is talk about maybe putting a storage shed on site also to store nonmedical supplies, because that’s another consideration is how much equipment that we need to have there every day
Each day they’ll reflect on the lessons learned. Because they have to make sure every single daily patient returns in a few weeks for their second dose.
[15:54] We’re going to come up to the chair and we’re going to say introduce ourselves, thank them for taking the time and the courage to get the vaccine today.
That extra focus on patient experience is what Diaz hopes will bring them back for round 2. The site was set to launch early next week, but they received word on Thursday that the incoming vaccine supply wouldn’t be enough. Family Health Centers hopes shipments from the Biden Administration’s new program will reach them the week after next. Tarryn Mento. KPBS News.
That story from KPBS Health Reporter Tarryn Mento. This is part of our ongoing coverage on the road to vaccinate 1.8 million San Diegans. In our next story, we’ll dig into the on-site storage and handling of the vaccine.
Coming up…. San Diego county reveals a plan for re-opening schools. We’ll have that story next, along with more state and local news, just after the break.
THE COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND UC SAN DIEGO SAY THEY HAVE A PLAN FOR SAFELY REOPENING SCHOOLS… A PLAN THAT’S ALREADY PROVEN EFFECTIVE. KPBS REPORTER JOHN CARROLL HAS THE LATEST….
Assuring a safe return to in-person learning is the focus of a pilot program developed by UC San Diego scientists and the county. It’s called “SASSY” the safer at school early alert program. It’s been tested at 10 schools around the county for the last four months. Staff swab surfaces and wastewater is monitored for the presence of the virus. Laura Kohn is with the safer at school program.
“It turns out that people who are infected with COVID, even if they don’t have symptoms, they shed pieces of the virus in their feces.”
If the virus is detected, students and staff are then asked to take a free COVID test. Meantime, at the county news conference Thursday, officials said once all seniors who want a vaccine, have one… the focus will shift to teachers and school personnel, then law enforcement.
That was KPBS’ John Carroll.
NEARLY A YEAR AFTER PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS FIRST HIT CALIFORNIA BUSINESSES, THERE ARE STILL LIMITS ON MANY INDOOR OPERATIONS.
KPBS REPORTER MATT HOFFMAN SPOKE TO A LOCAL BUSINESS OWNER WHO WAS ABLE TO TALK ONE-ON-ONE WITH THE MAN MAKING THOSE DECISIONS.
People are being cautious and they’re staying home. It just hurts small businesses
Just last week Tocumbo Ice Cream owner Omar Ramirez was awarded a 15-thousand dollar relief grant from the state.. Then he got a call on SuperBowl sunday, saying the Governor was coming the next day–
He got a lemonade, lemonade with chia
Newsom was in San Diego touring the Petco Park vaccination site before stopping for the treat with county supervisor Nora Vargas.. Ramirez says he isn’t a political guy and the whole encounter was pretty quick, but he did have the governor’s ear for a few minutes.
He asked some questions how we were doing and I told him we’re having issues with employees and low sales
Ramirez says newsom told him he was hoping to increase the state’s small business grant fund.. So far more than 500-million has been allocated to businesses impacted by the pandemic. Matt Hoffman, KPBS News.
That reporting from KPBS’ Matt Hoffman.
FOR YEARS, PUBLIC TRANSIT PASSENGERS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY HAVE COMPLAINED ABOUT OVERZEALOUS SECURITY ON BUSES AND TROLLEYS. KPBS METRO REPORTER ANDREW BOWEN SAYS A NEW REPORT SIGNALS THAT REFORMS MAY BE COMING.
AB: The Metropolitan Transit System has been criticized for being too aggressive in its efforts to catch passengers who don’t pay their fares. The security report presented to MTS board members Thursday made dozens of recommendations, including giving code compliance inspectors new uniforms that look less paramilitary. San Diego City Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera liked that idea.
SER: The word safety is thrown around a lot, and I think it’s important for us to keep in mind the subjectivity of that feeling. And what may make one person or family feel safe riding on transit could be triggering and even repellant to others.
AB: MTS is continuing a pilot program instituted last summer that allows passengers caught without a valid fare to avoid criminal citations.
That story from KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen.
New details have emerged about an unethical liver study performed on San Diego veterans. inewsource investigative reporter Jill Castellano has the latest on a story they’ve been following for 2 years now..
CASTELLANO: The liver study took place at the San Diego VA from 2013 to 2018.
CASTELLANO: Whistleblowers claim that V-A researchers convinced veterans to get medically unnecessary biopsies, which could cause serious complications.
CASTELLANO: New reports show the V-A investigated the claims twice, but each time, failed to corroborate them.
CASTELLANO: In a letter to President Joe Biden this week, a federal watchdog agency called the V-A’s most recent investigation “unreasonable.”
BUCK: “For me, it’s not enough.” (2 seconds)
CASTELLANO: That’s Martina Buck, one of the whistleblowers.
BUCK: “Something needs to be done. Something needs to be balanced. I need some sort of closure.” (8 seconds)
CASTELLANO: For KPBS, I’m inewsource reporter Jill Castellano.
inewsource is an independent nonprofit partner of KPBS. For more background on the VAs research and the federal investigation, go to inewsource dot org
All California public school students will have access to free meals under legislation introduced by a Bay Area state senator. CapRadio’s Ed Fletcher has more.
Berkeley democrat Nancy Skinner says let’s cut the red tape around school lunches.
SKINNER: And why we would have cafeterias at school trying to figure out which kid gets to eat and which kids doesn’t, doesn’t make sense. I just call it in the spirit of our schooling system now and our dedication to free education [15.9].
She says her bill is a win-win for kids and California farmers. Skinner’s bill would take advantage of federal funds, but by her admission it may come with a cost.
Skinner was not able to provide a final projection of the cost of the program or an estimate of the number of new students that will be served. The program extends an expanding school lunch offering created during the pandemic.The bill now heads for a committee vote.
In Sacramento, I’m Ed Fletcher
That was Cap Radio’s Ed Fletcher reporting from Sacramento.
GOP House Minority Leader and California Representative Kevin McCarthy claimed this week that raising the national minimum wage to 15 dollars per hour could put “nearly 4 million Americans out of work.”
PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols talked with CapRadio anchor Mike Hagerty about that claim for this week’s Can You Handle The Truth segment.
ANCHOR: Chris, where did McCarthy make this statement? Can you give us some context?
CHRIS: McCarthy made this claim about the wage hike destroying nearly 4 million jobs both in a news release and on Twitter. He sent out these statements as Democrats in Congress are starting to consider the Raise the Wage Act.
That legislation, if approved, would boost the federal minimum wage from the current minimum of 7 dollars and 25 cents per hour — up to 15 dollars per hour — it would do that in stages over 5 years. Supporters say it would help lift many Americans out of poverty, and critics are worried that it will force businesses to lay off workers.
ANCHOR: California is already on a path toward a $15 per hour minimum wage, right?
CHRIS: That’s right. Just a few years ago, then Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that moved California in that direction. By next January — $15 per hour will be the minimum wage that businesses must pay if they have 26 employees or more.
Right now, that wage is $14 per hour.
ANCHOR: So, what evidence did McCarthy point to when he made his claim about the nearly 4 million job losses from raising the wage?
CHRIS: He includes a link in his press release to a new report published this week by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. And that CBO report does say the wage hike could lead to the loss of jobs, but nowhere near as many as McCarthy claimed.
It placed what it calls the average estimate at a loss of 1.4 million workers — not the nearly 4 million workers that McCarthy described.
The report goes on to say there’s a smaller chance the loss could be up to 2.7 million positions, but again still far less than McCarthy’s number.
ANCHOR: So, where did the congressman get his number?
CHRIS: We reached out to his office and did not hear back. But the CBO pointed us to an older report it published from 2 years ago. We found the high-end estimate of job losses in that older report does match with McCarthy’s figure — So, it looks like he cherry-picked the worst-case scenario, but not even from a current report on the topic.
ANCHOR: In the end, how did you rate McCarthy’s statement about this wage hike destroying nearly 4 million jobs?
CHRIS: We rated McCarthy’s claim as … False.
And that was CapRadio’s PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols speaking with anchor Mike Hagerty. You can read more about these fact checks at PolitiFact-dot-com-slash-California.
And for our art’s segment today….KPBS art reporter Beth Accomando suggests trying something a little different for Valentine’s day this weekend. UC San Diego Craft Center is hosting Afrofuturism Dream Tank. It’s an immersive experience of art, music, comics, science fact and fiction, history, and current events in celebration of Black History Month.
Beth spoke with event facilitator LaWana Richmond about what to expect. Here’s that interview….
BETH ACCOMANDO: LaWana, a lot of people may have first discovered Afrofuturism when the Black Panther movie came out. So explain what that term means for people who may not be familiar with it.
LAWANA RICHMOND: Oh, it means so many things. It can be as simple as speculative science fiction comics, music that center the black experience in the future. Or it can be something that is more about looking at using the imagination to imagine a better world in the future that not only centers, but also enhances the life experience. And then, of course, we have a futurist who are also Afro pessimists who have looked at the current trajectory and without change, only see things getting worse that tend to be more on the optimists side and encourage people to take ownership and agency to visualize and act and through the visualization. Gaining ownership of their narrative and their story and their perspective in life.
BA: And even though people may have only become aware of it at the time of Black Panther, this is something that has been around for decades. So kind of where are the origins for Afro futurism?
LR: It depends on who you ask. In 1984, Mark Theory published a collection of essays called Cyber Culture Flame Wars, and one of them he did. The essay he chose to include was Black to the Future, where he actually introduced the term Afro futurism, saying for lack of a better term. And that one is very specific to cyber culture, science fiction, speculative arts, music, graphic arts.
BA: You are organizing and facilitating an event on Sunday called Afro Futurism Dream Tank. So what can people expect from this?
LR: Well, they can expect that at minimum to be entertained. We’ll have music, our poetry and some, you know, a teeny bit of educational content, but not so much that I think it will be burdensome and opportunities for some self reflection and inner work, either through art or journaling, opportunity to engage in dialogues, to share their perspective and experiences. And towards the end. And we’ll talk about visions of the future and potential actions we can take that align with the desired future. Because sometimes we forget that when you want to make big change, sometimes you have to take small actions and you have to do them early.
BA: What is it about Afro futurism that really excites you and makes you want to share it with other people?
LR: Sometimes things are really hard to talk about when you address them head on or you only can see what has happened. And if you’re thinking about, dare I say, a radical change, sometimes you have to also be able to leverage the imagination. And after a few tears and gives me the space within to have conversations with people to help them understand that really the world that we live in is the world that we all created together. And we can all together create a better society in a better.
BA: And what do you hope people may take away from this event on Sunday?
LR: My hope is that people will have hope and inspiration, but also ownership, because it’s always easy to externalize, change and think everything would be great if only those people over there, that person over there did X, Y, Z, when really there are also things that we as individuals can do or do collectively. Much of what builds the culture of an organization or community or society is really based on the individual people and how they choose to coexist.
BA: All right, I want to thank you very much for talking about Afro futurism.
LR: Well, thank you for having me.
That was LaWana Richmond, event facilitator for Afrofuturism Dream Tank speaking with KPBS Arts Reporter Beth Accomando. Afrofuturism Dream Tank is a free event offered through UC San Diego Craft Center on the UCSD campus this Sunday at 1pm.
That’s it for the podcast today. KPBS will be airing day FOUR of the Impeachment trial of Former President Donald Trump. You can hear it live on KPBS 89.5 FM starting at 10am, or watch it on KPBS 2 on television. You can also catch it streaming live online at KPBS dot org. The trial is expected to continue over the weekend, but never fear, KPBS with NPR and PBS will be here all weekend to make sure you get the latest.
I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening, I hope you have a great weekend, and if you’re celebrating, have a happy lunar new year! It’s the year of the ox!