The San Diego Economic Recovery Advisory Group will meet for the first time Monday to develop a framework for a phased re-opening of San Diego County’s economy once the threat of COVID-19 has been tamed.
The group, which was announced Friday, consists of local “civic and business leaders,” representing a variety of industries that can advise how best to safely reopen for business, and how to have the local economy thrive in a business environment so widely impacted by COVID-19.
“This group will not be focusing on the when, but more on the how,” San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox said Friday. “We can’t afford to blindly rush into this. We will only reopen when we are convinced that doing so will not endanger more lives.”
The number of COVID-19 cases in San Diego County grew by 55 on Sunday to 2,268 but no new deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 71 people, county health officials said.
Of the total positive cases, about 24% have required hospitalization and about 8% have needed intensive care, officials said.
Sunday in Encinitas, a group of about 200 people marched along South Coast Highway 101 to protest the closure of beaches, parks and trails in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The protest march, promoted by Free Encinitas, a public Facebook group, began at 10 a.m. in front of Swamis Seaside Park and headed south until about noon, when the protest disbanded, according to San Diego County Sheriff’s Department officials.
Deputies kept watch to make sure marchers were practicing safe distancing measures, and no citations were issued, officials said.
The group carried U.S. flags and signs of protest against state and local stay-at-home orders. Some of the signs read “Surfing is not a crime” and “This is punishment not protection.”
The group stopped at Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear’s house, with some carrying signs that said “Recall Blakespear.”
San Diegans also took to the streets downtown Saturday to protest stay-at-home orders.
In Balboa Park, a small group of local residents gathered at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street to protest against the city and state shutdown orders.
“We do not believe that the COVID-19 bug represents such an immediate danger to others that constitutional rights should be curtailed,” said Bankers Hill resident Roger Ogden, the event’s organizer.
At the Hall of Justice downtown on Saturday, a much larger crowd attended a “Freedom Rally” with hundreds of participants carrying U.S. flags and homemade signs with such statements as “Open Up California” and “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death.”
San Diego police officers kept a watchful eye on the protesters, but officials said they would not issue any citations.
“We have decided not to enforce the law at this time,” police said Saturday. “We welcome people to voice their frustrations and concerns in a peaceful way. We hope after they’ve done so, they’ll disperse.”
The Hillcrest Farmers Market opened Sunday with new social distancing and safety rules. The weekly market has been closed since March 15.
The market on Normal Street, between University and Lincoln avenues, was open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to organizers. The first hour was reserved for senior citizens only, and only 60 customers were supposed to shop at a given time.
California Department of Health officials on Saturday released the names of 261 nursing homes across the state with COVID-19 outbreaks, including some located in San Diego County.
The department’s website said the list was a snapshot representing 86% of the state’s 1,224 skilled-nursing facilities that have reported data within the past 24 hours.
Country Hills Post Acute in El Cajon reported the county’s highest number of patients, 19, who tested positive for COVID-19. Fewer than 11 staff members tested positive.
Villa Rancho, a nursing home on Bernardo Center Drive, and The Bradley Court in El Cajon both reported the second-highest number of patients who tested positive, five. Four staff members also tested positive at both locations.
As COVID-19 continues to take its heaviest toll in the health-care industry, a San Diego nurse attorney, author and veteran of the AIDS crisis is offering nurses a free video series to help them survive the new pandemic
Lorie Brown put together the video series to provide tips for nurses on the front line of the coronavirus fight. It features 18 experts who provide advice such as keeping up immunity, getting better sleep, practicing mindfulness and understanding nurses’ rights.
“Being a nurse myself, as well as an attorney, I know what it’s like to deal with the stress of exposure to illness while still wanting to provide the best care possible to patients,” she said. “I was a nurse at St. John’s Hospital (in Santa Monica) at the height of the AIDS crisis.”
Brown is the author of three books and is president-elect of the American Association of Nurse Attorneys.
She founded empowerednurses.org in 2012 to help nurses protect their licenses while learning “to speak their mind, stand in their power and be a change agent to improve health care.”
”(With this video series) I wanted to do something to help nurses get through their day, armed with a new perspective, an enlightened opinion, or maybe just a fresh glimmer of hope before entering into the front lines of COVID healthcare once again,” Brown said.
The video series is called “COVID-19 Video Survival Guide for Nurses and Healthcare Practitioners” and is available by going on the empowerednurses.org website.