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Covid news: hospital waits down, firemen back, masks on buses till March 18

Lori Saldana wants homeless rousters to wear masks outside

Saldana was told fire personnel evicting camps only had to wear masks indoors, but she asserted they "really need to wear masks [outside]."
Saldana was told fire personnel evicting camps only had to wear masks indoors, but she asserted they "really need to wear masks [outside]."

As the state ends its latest indoor mask mandate on Feb.15, Omicron continues to circulate.

"We are still in that high transmission phase," said County of San Diego deputy chief medical officer, Jennifer Tuteur.

In an update yesterday to the Covid-19 Response & Recovery Committee, she noted that nearly 92 percent of San Diegans over age five are fully vaccinated - 53 percent have had booster shots.

According to her, the hospitalization rate is three times higher for those not fully vaccinated.

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Masks will still be required indoors for people who are not vaccinated and in homeless shelters, hospitals, and schools. Public transit has extended the mask mandate until March 18.

It's especially important for safety workers to wear masks, said former state assemblywoman Democrat Lori Saldana, who called from downtown where she had witnessed the ousting of an encampment.

"They were putting up fences to evict people," she said, and fire personnel weren't wearing masks. She was told they only had to wear them indoors, but Saldana said the homeless are more at risk of death from the disease so the workers "really need to wear masks."

According to county data, since 2019 there have been 2,083 cases among the homeless; 409 hospitalizations and 35 deaths.

According to a website called homeless deathscount.org under-counting of homeless deaths is common. By their estimate, San Diego had 190 homeless deaths in 2020 alone.

As for vaccination rates by zip code, a county map shows wide disparities. South Bay has the highest number of vaccinated people while the urban core, downtown, North Park and the beach areas, show the fewest.

Tuteur said the reasons are probably different in different areas. "We definitely see differences in counties by race and ethnicity."

As of February 9, in San Diego the case rate was highest among Hispanic or Latino (276,066), followed by white residents (193,166)

Fallout from the Omicron crush includes waits for a hospital bed, known as "wall times" for the stretch of time first responders must stay with a patient until they can be admitted. Wall times are coming down, according to Fire & Rescue staff.

Last month, more than 13 percent of city firefighters were in isolation due to Covid, leading to "brownouts" - shutting down a city fire engine and specialty firefighting units. No engines are currently browned out.

The convention center has also suffered. "We still have 49 positions open," said Rip Riptoe, its chief financial officer. The center, which expects a strong comeback in 2024, lost $1.348 billion in direct attendee spending due to the pandemic.

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Saldana was told fire personnel evicting camps only had to wear masks indoors, but she asserted they "really need to wear masks [outside]."
Saldana was told fire personnel evicting camps only had to wear masks indoors, but she asserted they "really need to wear masks [outside]."

As the state ends its latest indoor mask mandate on Feb.15, Omicron continues to circulate.

"We are still in that high transmission phase," said County of San Diego deputy chief medical officer, Jennifer Tuteur.

In an update yesterday to the Covid-19 Response & Recovery Committee, she noted that nearly 92 percent of San Diegans over age five are fully vaccinated - 53 percent have had booster shots.

According to her, the hospitalization rate is three times higher for those not fully vaccinated.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Masks will still be required indoors for people who are not vaccinated and in homeless shelters, hospitals, and schools. Public transit has extended the mask mandate until March 18.

It's especially important for safety workers to wear masks, said former state assemblywoman Democrat Lori Saldana, who called from downtown where she had witnessed the ousting of an encampment.

"They were putting up fences to evict people," she said, and fire personnel weren't wearing masks. She was told they only had to wear them indoors, but Saldana said the homeless are more at risk of death from the disease so the workers "really need to wear masks."

According to county data, since 2019 there have been 2,083 cases among the homeless; 409 hospitalizations and 35 deaths.

According to a website called homeless deathscount.org under-counting of homeless deaths is common. By their estimate, San Diego had 190 homeless deaths in 2020 alone.

As for vaccination rates by zip code, a county map shows wide disparities. South Bay has the highest number of vaccinated people while the urban core, downtown, North Park and the beach areas, show the fewest.

Tuteur said the reasons are probably different in different areas. "We definitely see differences in counties by race and ethnicity."

As of February 9, in San Diego the case rate was highest among Hispanic or Latino (276,066), followed by white residents (193,166)

Fallout from the Omicron crush includes waits for a hospital bed, known as "wall times" for the stretch of time first responders must stay with a patient until they can be admitted. Wall times are coming down, according to Fire & Rescue staff.

Last month, more than 13 percent of city firefighters were in isolation due to Covid, leading to "brownouts" - shutting down a city fire engine and specialty firefighting units. No engines are currently browned out.

The convention center has also suffered. "We still have 49 positions open," said Rip Riptoe, its chief financial officer. The center, which expects a strong comeback in 2024, lost $1.348 billion in direct attendee spending due to the pandemic.

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