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COVID-19 Outbreak At Father Joe’s Villages (San Diego News Now)

A rise in COVID-19 cases at two shelters at Father Joe’s Villages has prompted the construction of a temporary outdoor facility for those who test positive. Eventually all positive cases will be placed in local hotel rooms to isolate. Meanwhile, if you missed the Vote By Mail registration deadline yesterday, you’re not out of options yet. Plus, the San Diego Rep will showcase Latinx playwrights this weekend as part of its Latinx New Play Festival.

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Wednesday, September 1st.


Covid-19 at Father Joe’s Villages

But first… let’s do the headlines….


Governor Gavin Newsom says more than 80% of people eligible for the coronavirus vaccine in California now have at least one dose. The Tuesday announcement came amid signs that the current surge of cases is starting to abate. Newsom says the numbers put California among the top 10 states for vaccination rates, despite having such a huge population. In recent weeks Newsom has mandated that state employees and all school staff must be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. He’s also requiring that healthcare workers in the state be vaccinated or risk losing their jobs.


One crew member has been rescued this morning from a military helicopter crash off the coast of San Diego. According to the US Navy, there were six crew members on board when the chopper crashed into the sea at 4:30 Tuesday afternoon. The Navy and the US Coast Guard are working on the search and rescue.


The Cleveland national forest, and all other national forests in the state are now off limits to the public until mid september. Regional forest service officials say closing the parks was a tough decision, but that it’s needed to protect the public. Nathan Judy is with the cleveland national forest, says federal officials don’t want to have to evacuate thousands of tourists if there’s a wildfire.

“with all the fires that are going on in northern california and the fire we just had on the cleveland national forest this past saturday showed the example of how quickly fires can start and how rapidly they can spread.”

The national forests will remain closed until at least september 17th.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.

Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

There’s been a spike in COVID-19 cases at Father Joe’s Villages.
Here’s KPBS Melissa Mae.

Father Joe’s Villages says just under a hundred cases of COVID-19 were reported at its two shelters as of last week. To protect the uninfected, the agency set up a temporary tent outside its East Village campus… to isolate patients until they could be moved to hotels.
Vaccination rates have been low among people experiencing homelessness… due to general mistrust in and poor past experiences with the health care system. Father Joe’s Villages is working to combat this issue with consistent follow up, on-site vaccination and one-on-one conversations.
In a written statement, Father Joe’s President and CEO Jim Vargas says:
GRAPHIC: “We continue to prioritize the health and wellbeing of those we serve and encourage vaccination. As an organization, we will continue to strictly implement health protocols designed to limit the spread of the virus and equip our staff and clients with health and safety services.”
The county health department says over 10,000 people experiencing homelessness have received at least one dose of covid-19 vaccine.
Sarah Sweeney, the agency’s communications officer, told KPBS in an email:
GRAPHIC: “We are housing people affected in this outbreak in our public health hotels and are providing a variety of services to any of those isolating in shelters. Further, we have plans in place to expand its hotel capacity if needed.”
Melissa Mae KPBS News


MONDAY was the registration deadline for regular voting in the September 14th gubernatorial recall election. But KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen says if you missed the deadline, there’s still a way to vote.

AB: California passed a law in 2019 that lets voters register conditionally all the way up until election day. You can then cast a provisional ballot, which is counted once your eligibility is verified. You have to complete the process in person at the Registrar of Voters office in Kearny Mesa. Find out more at So far, more than 490,000 voters in San Diego County have cast ballots — more than at this point in the 2020 presidential election. The recall ballot contains two questions: First, should Gov. Gavin Newsom be removed from office? The second question is who should replace Newsom if a majority votes “yes” on the first question. Andrew Bowen, KPBS news.




Coming up…. three latin-x playwrights share what inspired them to write.

anger, anger inspired me, that’s what inspired me.

The San Diego Rep will showcase these playwrights this weekend as part of its latin x new play festival. That’s next, just after the break.

San Diego Rep’s Latinx New Play Festival celebrates giving voice to underrepresented communities. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando speaks with three of the playwrights to find out what inspired them and what stories they wanted to tell.

Inspiration can come from many places or just one.
Rachel Lynett: Anger inspired me. That’s what inspired me.
Playwright Rachel Lynett hit a boiling point after Jennifer Krug confessed to being racial imposter.
Rachel Lynett: And that deeply upset me because she was a white woman specifically pretending to be Afro Latina. And I’m Afro-Latina, and I have had to fight and claw my way into just getting other people to recognize my identity. And all this white women have to do was tan her skin. And that’s just really, deeply frustrated me.
That anger and frustration led to the play “Black Mexican” in which a student questions whether her professor is actually Cuban.
Rachel Lynett: All of the characters are trying to figure out exactly what does it mean to be Latino, Latina…And so it’s kind of an exploration of what does that mean to be part of this identity that encompasses so many different countries that are all so different? And also, who do we give access to our culture? Who do we keep out and why?
Lynett specifically sets her play in a city she describes as one that thinks it’s liberal because that’s another source of anger.
Rachel Lynett: So I kind of really want to say, don’t try to put this in, like, a Southern town where they don’t know better. No, this is a Liberal town where people claim to embrace diversity. And yet this still keeps happening.
But Daniella DeJesus cites Disney’s “Pochahantas” and an epiphany she that inspired her play “Get Your Pink Hands Off Me Sucka and Give Me Back.”
Daniella De Jesús: I remember this moment in the 6th grade when I was learning about the colonization of the Caribbean and the Americas and learning how old Pocahontas probably actually was that she would say between the ages of eleven and 14 and me realizing that I’m eleven, and there’s no way that, like me, having a romantic relationship with a 30 year old man is okay. Like, that’s messed up.
This led her to ponder the insidiousness of colonization as well as a reckoning with one’s own part in it. In her play this manifests itself in an exploration of intergenerational trauma.
Daniella De Jesús: The idea that trauma that happened to an ancestor three, four, five or more generations ago can manifest as an anxiety attack or a particular insecurity is really interesting to me. And I like to think that because of that, in a way that history is is always happening, like it’s not in the past. It like reverbs through what we’re experiencing right now.
The past was a major source of inspiration for Nicolas R. Valdez’ play “Conjunto Blues.”
Nicolas R. Valdez: It’s really kind of a nod, an ode, if you will, to my grandparents’ generation, those who really coming out of this Depression era experience, really, I think, kind of created a pathway for a Mexican American identity.
Informing that identity was conjunto music, which Valdez says was the origin of accordion based Mexican American music.
Nicolas R. Valdez: The accordion and Conjunto music, I think, really is the soundtrack to the Mexican American working class experience of the 20th century. When people listen to the accordion, I think it’s very nostalgic. It sort of transports you to another time in place. And it is a very expressive instrument in the way that it breathes and the variations of the tones.
The instrument becomes a character in the play, which explores how conjunto music developed as an expression of cultural resistance and liberation. Valdez carries on that tradition of activism in his play, which was inspired by the legacy of Luiz Valdez’ Teatro Campesino.
Nicolas R. Valdez: And it’s theater with the with the purpose, right, like an urgency, and there is a magic that happens in that engagement in live theater. There’s this reciprocity of energy, and it gives you an opportunity to address very serious issues, to ask really important and difficult questions, but in a way that is accessible and entertaining.
And that can provoke a conversation and inspire other people to tell their own stories. You can enjoy these stories as part of San Diego Rep’s Latinx New Play Festival.
San Diego Rep’s Latinx New Play Festival runs Sept. 3rd through 5th with most of the events happening online.

That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.