HEPATITIS A EMERGENCY IS EXTENDED AGAIN
The local hepatitis A health emergency has been extended for another two weeks amid continuing signs the outbreak is slowing down.
On Monday, Nov. 27, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to extend the health emergency, which was declared on Sept. 1. Every 14 days, the board is required to review the need for continuing the emergency.
Public health officials reported that 10 cases or fewer have been reported each week for the past eight weeks. The outbreak began on Nov. 22, 2016, and 561 cases have been reported, with 378 people requiring hospitalizations and 20 deaths.
The Nov. 27 “report shows an overall downward trend in the number of cases,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. “Maintaining vigilance and continuing our vaccination, sanitation, and education efforts are critical, but combined efforts by the county, community partners and local municipalities continue to take us in the right direction.”
The county and community partners have given 105,482 vaccinations, including 89,810 to at-risk populations, as part of the county’s vaccination, sanitation and education strategy.
According to the countynewscenter.com, expanded outreach efforts are underway in targeted communities to make sure the outbreak does not extend into other populations, including:
- Four vaccination clinics at the San Diego LGBT Community Center to reach the men who have sex with men. Four mobile van clinics are also scheduled in Hillcrest during the first two weeks of December.
- Education and food safety guidelines provided to the faith-based community so they can continue their charity and food distribution efforts over the holidays.
- Providing vaccinations at the current city camp site and three upcoming tent locations serving the homeless populations.
Hepatitis A is most commonly spread from person to person through the fecal-oral route. Symptoms of hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools. Symptoms usually appear over a number of days and last less than two months. However, some people can be ill for as long as six months. Hepatitis A can sometimes cause liver failure and even death.
For more information on hepatitis A, visit bit.ly/2vsYmLc.
SHORT-TERM VACATION RENTAL ORDINANCE
TO BE DISCUSSED
The San Diego City Council is expected to consider a short-term vacation rental ordinance at its meeting in Golden Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 12, starting at 10 a.m.
The hot-button issue is expected to draw a full house of supporters and detractors.
After the City Attorney’s memo expressed legal concerns, the council offices, the City Attorney’s staff, the mayor’s office and city staff worked together to build a consensus to find a common-sense solution.
The bipartisan measure is proposed by Councilmembers Chris Ward, Scott Sherman, David Alvarez and Mark Kersey. The proposed ordinance can be viewed at sandiego.gov/cd7.
SAN DIEGO CONSIDERED SEVERELY UNAFFORDABLE
More bad news for San Diegans who hope to own a home.
A new national survey of the 50 most populous cities in North America (U.S., Canada and Mexico) finds that San Diego is the 10th most unaffordable real estate market on the continent and ninth in the United States.
San Diego has a median home selling price of $560,000, considerably less when compared to San Francisco and Manhattan, but more than twice the national median.
The 10 least affordable North American cities are Vancouver, Canada; Manhattan, New York; San Francisco, California; Brooklyn, New York; New York City (all five boroughs); Los Angeles, California; Boston, Massachusetts; San Jose, California; Seattle, Washington; and San Diego.
In Mexico, Acapulco was ranked 15th and Mexico City was 20th in North America.
The survey was completed by Point2 Homes, an international real estate search portal. To read the full list, visit bit.ly/2jt1L8I.
MORE FLU DEATHS AND CASES
The number of local flu deaths and lab-confirmed cases being reported this season continues to be elevated compared to last season, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency announced Nov. 22.
A fourth death was reported this month. The 92-year-old man died Nov. 11 of influenza A. One death had been reported in San Diego County at this time last season, according to countynewscenter.com.
To date, a total of 574 lab-confirmed cases have been reported in the region this season, 400 more than the 174 that had been reported at the same time last year.
“The number of flu deaths and cases being reported this year continues to outpace the totals from the last season,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. “The flu can be deadly, especially for vulnerable populations. The best protection against the flu is getting vaccinated.”
For the week ending Nov. 18, the Health and Human Services Agency Influenza Watch report shows the following:
Emergency department visits for influenza-like illness: 1 percent of all visits (the same as the previous week).
Lab-confirmed influenza cases for the week: 133 (compared to 58 the previous week).
Total influenza deaths to date: Four (compared to one at this time last season).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. The vaccine is safe and effective. It takes two weeks for immunity to develop.
The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies. If you don’t have medical insurance, you can go to a county public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit sdiz.org or call 211.
NORTH PARK WOMAN VYING FOR SURFING TITLE
Dani Burt from North Park is participating in the 2017 Stance ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship in La Jolla, which concludes on Sunday, Dec. 3.
This event brings together the world’s best adaptive surfers to compete for gold. This year’s event brought 25 teams from around the world and up to 100 competing adaptive athletes.
Burt lost her leg in a motorcycle accident but that hasn’t stopped her from competing. She was crowned the AS-2 National Champion for Team USA, earning her a spot to compete for Team USA in the World Championship for the third consecutive year.
San Diego Uptown News will be doing a feature article about Burt in a future issue. For more information on the surfing competition, visit isasurf.org.
‘WINGS & SNOW: A WORLD OF MASKS’ AT SOPHIE’S GALLERY
St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center will present the exhibit, “Wings & Snow: A World of Masks,” at Sophie’s Kensington Gallery, located at 4168 Adams Ave.
The show will run from Dec. 2–30, with a public reception Dec. 2 from 5–8 p.m.
The exhibit celebrates the holiday season with a collection of masks in a variety of media including clay, fused glass, paint, mosaics, palm fronds and repurposed jewels.
The show is inspired by Philip Colon, who painted at Sophie’s Gallery for many years. His passion for world cultures inspired colorful interpretations of masks from a variety of countries. When Colon’s family donated his personal collection of masks to Sophie’s Galleries, St. Madeleine’s artists transformed them with mosaics and paint. Other masks were formed with clay in our ceramics and fused glass departments.
Guest artists include Carol Minear, a local Kensington artist who uses palm fronds to create characters, and Maureen Robbins, an artist from Rochester, New York, who creates jeweled masks.
St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center serves more than 400 adults with developmental disabilities through nationally recognized, innovative programs. Its mission is to educate and empower individuals with developmental disabilities to realize their full potential. Developmental disabilities include autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other cognitive disorders for which there are no cures.
COVERED CALIFORNIA DEADLINE APPROACHES
Consumers who want health insurance coverage to begin on Jan. 1, 2018 have until Dec. 15 to sign up with Covered California.
California’s open enrollment period runs through Jan. 31, 2018.
Enrollment figures are slightly ahead of last year, officials said.
Since 2014, more than 3 million people have purchased health insurance through Covered California, and nearly 4 million have enrolled in the state’s Medi-Cal program. Together, the gains have cut the rate of the uninsured in California by more than half.
“Covered California is a stable market that is working well for millions of people,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “That’s why it is so disheartening to see Congress discussing another attempt to unravel the law in a way that would send premiums higher and cause many Americans to lose coverage.”
Go to CoveredCA.com to learn more about health plans that are available to Californians.
CHRISTMAS TOYS AT THE KROC CENTER
The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Center in City Heights assists families all year long with food, scholarships, hygiene kits, utility assistance and more. Thanks to the generosity of the community, the Kroc Center will provide assistance to more than 300 families and 700 children in this community.
On Monday, Dec. 4, The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary will begin decorating the Kroc Center’s warehouse, converting it until a Toy n Joy Shop. From Dec. 4–14, hundreds of volunteers will accept toy and food donations, sorting and filling up the Toy n Joy Shop.
On Saturday, Dec. 16 and Monday, Dec. 18, qualified families will come to the Kroc Center, located at 6845 University Ave., to select the toys they want for their children.
TOY DRIVE FOR FOSTER KIDS
While most kids spend Christmas Eve eagerly anticipating Santa’s arrival, kids in foster care often worry he won’t be able to find them at all. To ensure that every foster kid wakes up with a present on Christmas morning, there are a few ways our readers can give back.
For parents, encourage kiddos to embrace the season of giving and ask them to pick out a new toy for a foster child in need. For others, give your ugly sweater party new meaning by incorporating a donation bin. At your holiday work celebration, encourage attendees to donate a gift. Rally your friends, church, soccer team or school to host their own donation drives.
New, unwrapped gifts for all ages can be dropped off at any Mattress Firm store now through Dec. 17.
Gifts are needed for all ages — toddler to teen. The most requested items include sporting equipment, arts and crafts supplies, baby dolls, superhero figurines, electronics and gift cards.
More details at mattressfirmfosterkids.org.