Congress leaves Americans hanging
(Aug. 7) Both houses of the United States Congress ended the day without an agreement to renew a COVID-19 stimulus bill or create another package after Republicans and Democrats could not reach a deal after two weeks of negotiating. No additional discussions are planned after Friday evening. This leaves millions of Americans without further aid as the coronavirus pandemic grows in this country and the economy is nearly frozen as a result, leaving those who once had jobs with limited income in which to survive.
The biggest concern for Americans who are now unemployed is the renewal of the federal supplement to unemployment benefits that citizens were relying on in the absence of employment.
Now, President Donald Trump has announced plans to issue executive orders to take action in the absence of a deal from Congress. However, the fear is that his actions will fall far short of the needed aid that most Americans need desperately. The administration made it clear that it feels higher unemployment benefits act as a detriment for workers to find jobs. Trump attempted to outline his upcoming actions in a hasty press briefing at his golf club where he was vacationing in Bedminster, New Jersey, according to news reports.
COVID-19 cases continue to rise
Total cases of coronavirus recorded in the Scripps Ranch 92131 ZIP Code area continued to rise this week. Total cases are now reported at 129. That’s an increase of 12 cases in the past week. This makes four weeks in a row that new cases reported in Scripps Ranch have been in the double digits. In comparison, only one or two cases were reported each week in the months of March, April and May. San Diego County health officials concluded the rise of cases across San Diego can be attributed to large gatherings where social distancing guidelines were ignored, as well as some openings of businesses in which customers ignored social distancing protocols starting in the month of June and the beginning of summer.
County creates compliance hotline
The County Board of Supervisors Tuesday received an update on the County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and took a number of actions to promote compliance with the local public health order, including an expanded team that will take enforcement actions when businesses and individuals don’t follow the order’s requirements.
The Healthy Compliance Call Center will allow the public to report violations to the order. The line will be staffed around the clock and can be reached at (858) 694-2900.
The Board also heard several proposals on how the County plans to spend $48.8 million of federal CARES Act money that has been allocated to the region.
The Board voted to devote $25 million to child care, $18.8 million to food services programs and $5 million to public health test, trace and treat (T3) strategies in K-12 schools.
The child care provider grant program will fund licensed and license-exempt child care providers experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19. Child care providers can use funding to pay for a variety of expenses including rent and mortgage payments, personal protective equipment, staffing and supplies.
Grants will be distributed equitably across the county and will be based on the size of the child care facility. All types of child care facilities from family-run to large organizations are eligible to apply.
The CARES Act funding for food programs will be directed to the Great Plates Delivered program for seniors and expand that program to more County residents. The County will also allocate $3.5 million each to support food banks and struggling restaurants in the region.
COVID-19 county-wide update
San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten updated the Board on the COVID-19 situation in the County. Dr. Wooten outlined some of the drivers of the recent high case rate, the factor that put the County on the state’s monitoring list.
The case rate metric has been elevated since the end of June, with many of the cases having been linked to the statewide reopening of businesses at the time. While case rates are still too high to get the County off the state watchlist, the numbers have been showing signs of improvement in recent days.
Dr. Wooten further explained that a majority of recent cases have been found in specific populations of County residents. Of the lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks, 42.3% were in those 20-39 years of age.
Additional high case occurrences were confirmed in food service employees and individuals whose illness has been traced to community setting outbreaks. A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households.
Wolff plans another live jam
Scripps Ranch rock musician Steve Wolff will perform a combined live stream on StreetJelly for about 1.5 hours Sunday, Aug. 9 at 4:30 p.m. It will be a covers plus originals mix: https://www.streetjelly.com/-Wolff.
Wolff has an initial test version of www.JamTheWire.com, an on-line audio+video broadcast “station” he created. It is up and running to do some tests and get feedback before hopefully going live JamTheWire’s goal is to increase exposure for musician/ songwriters and entertain music lovers who can’t see local acts perform anywhere and might like some background or watchable music beyond listening to the same recycled songs offered up by “Big Music.” Think of it as a livestream on steroids but with more artists and different video footage to watch or have on in the background. Wolff is looking for feedback. Visit http://www.jamthewire.com/.