There have been 240 coronavirus outbreaks in San Diego County since the start of the pandemic, according to new information released by the county. But, the county is still keeping the specific locations of those outbreaks secret. Plus, the parts of San Diego County that have seen the highest rates of COVID-19 infection also contain the schools serving the vulnerable student groups who need in-person learning the most. And in San Diego art events this weekend, you’ll find new plays by emerging and acclaimed voices in Latinx theater, a couple of in-person visual art experiences, and an instrumental rock performance live streamed from an empty venue.
Speaker 2: 00:05 We still don’t know where the outbreaks are happening. We don’t know the neighborhoods. So basically most of what we ask for is still missing.
Speaker 1: 00:12 I’m Alison st. John Laurian, Kevin will be back next week. This is
Speaker 2: 00:24 [inaudible]
Speaker 1: 00:25 School students who need in-person learning most urgently, maybe the last ones to get back into the classrooms.
Speaker 2: 00:31 Long before this pandemic, he already knew that you could lift in often the quality of the education.
Speaker 1: 00:42 And we’ll get a weekend preview with a smorgasbord of virtual events for this holiday weekend. That’s all ahead on KPBS midday edition.
Speaker 1: 01:01 The labor day holiday weekend is here and public health officials across the state are concerned that holiday gatherings may spark new Corona virus outbreaks in San Diego County. There have been more than 240 community outbreaks since the start of the pandemic. According to new information released by the County, but San Diego County is still keeping the specific locations of an outbreak. A secret KPBS recently joined a lawsuit to make that information public and joining us now is KBB as editor David Washburn, David, welcome to the program. Good to be here. Alison. So KBB has joined public records lawsuit to get a better picture of where coronavirus outbreaks have taken place in our region. And the County has released some information on community outbreaks. What does this tell us?
Speaker 2: 01:48 It really doesn’t tell us much more than we already knew before they released this information by city. Uh, an outbreak is defined as three or more people connected to the same location who tested positive for COVID-19, what they’ve done. And, and we, we do believe this is in response largely to the lawsuit that, uh, voice of San Diego filed. And we have joined it, breaks it down by city. So before they just would give you outbreak, you know, the entire County by the County, and they would break it up into sectors, such as, you know, a nursing home or a bar slash restaurant or something like that. But they were just giving it county-wide. Now they’ve just yesterday. They released the outbreak information by city, uh, which doesn’t do much for us because, uh, the vast majority of them are in the city of San Diego because the city of San Diego is the largest by far city in the, uh, in the County. So you see a lot of outbreaks in the city of San Diego and then relatively few in other, in other cities. So I guess you could say that city of San Diego or where most of the outbreaks happening, but we knew that anyway. I mean, that, that doesn’t tell us a whole lot more
Speaker 1: 02:57 And what information is still missing then that would help the public. If it were revealed
Speaker 2: 03:03 Specifically, what’s missing is the outbreak locations, which is, you know, what we asked for to begin with. And, uh, you know, we still don’t know, you know, we, we still don’t know where the outbreaks are happening. We don’t know the neighborhoods. We don’t know. So, so basically most of what we ask for is still missing
Speaker 1: 03:21 The County argues that releasing specific addresses could make businesses fearful of reporting outbreaks to public health officials. And also that, that individuals might be less likely to disclose their whereabouts during the contact tracing interviews, which of course are the best way to stop the spread of the virus. You know, they’re arguing it would have a chilling effect. So why does KPBS feel that the specific data on where the outbreaks are occurring is important public information.
Speaker 2: 03:47 We understand the county’s position. Our position is that the overall public’s right to know supersedes the interests of individuals or individual businesses. And, you know, we are not interested in putting a Scarlet letter on, uh, individuals or businesses, but it is important. It’s important for us to know whether they’re the market down the road from us has had an outbreak or the restaurant that we’re thinking of going to has an outbreak, even if it’s outdoor seating. Another key point is that it’s important for the public to know whether outbreaks are happening because business and individuals are violating the County health order, or if they’re happening in spite of people following the order, this would help us all better understand why we had a difficult time slowing the spread. For example, we know that Boulevard fitness in university Heights has flouted the County order for months. You know, the public has a right to know if that business at an outbreak. So there are a lot of very compelling reasons for the public’s overall health would be better served with all this information out there from our position.
Speaker 1: 04:55 Is there a precedent for the County releasing location, specific data during previous infectious diseases?
Speaker 2: 05:02 Absolutely. One of the most high profile outbreaks before this pandemic, of course, was the hepatitis a outbreak in 2017. And during that outbreak, the County did release specific locations. They, they released specific locations. Um, most notably they, they released that world famous in Pacific beach, had an outbreak. So, so they do. And with TB Alex, they will name the specific school. So there is precedent for the County to release, uh, locations of operates.
Speaker 1: 05:33 How do other counties deal with this? How do they handle coronavirus outbreak data?
Speaker 2: 05:38 A lot of them do the same thing. You know, I’ve taken the same tack that San Diego County has a notable exception is the County of LA. They have their website includes very detailed information on specific out outbreak location. They break it down by the different sectors, the congregate care facilities, nursing homes, healthcare facilities, places like that,
Speaker 3: 05:58 But also individual businesses. So if you go onto the LA county’s website, you will see specific outbreak information.
Speaker 1: 06:06 And where does the lawsuit go from here?
Speaker 3: 06:08 Well, we’re going to continue to, to fight. I mean, they have a strong thing that they release this information to a large degree because of cause of our lawsuit. But it doesn’t, we’re not satisfied with, with simply instead of releasing it just overall by the County to break it down by city, we need it broken down further than that. So we’re, we’re continuing, we have no plans to, uh, to do anything, but move forward with the lawsuit.
Speaker 1: 06:30 Speaking with KPBS editor, David Washburn, David, thanks so much. Thank you for schools in Southern San Diego County hit hardest by the pandemic. A public health crisis has collided with academic disparities, KPBS education reporter, Joe Hong spoke to teachers, administrators, and medical experts about how students who most urgently need in-person learning could be the last to return to the classroom.
Speaker 3: 06:59 Natalie, the Rose is a teacher at Smith elementary in San Ysidro. She’s currently juggling raising two children while being a full time teacher and the president of the San Ysidro school districts, teachers union
Speaker 1: 07:10 It’s very stressful.
Speaker 3: 07:12 Distance learning has been a struggle for Rosa. She said, she’s always struggled with technology. And she said, she spends nearly as much time preparing lessons as she does teaching. Although her life would be much easier if she and her kids could go back to the classroom, she says, it’s not worth the safety risk of going back to school while COVID-19 case numbers are still high in San Ysidro.
Speaker 1: 07:30 Some of my students’ parents have told me they’ve had it. Um, I know a lot of people will tell me that somebody close to them died from it. Even people in their forties that were healthy people that are in their sixties. So people are starting to know more people. And once you know, somebody that passed away from it, then it’s more real to you.
Speaker 3: 07:52 As of September 2nd, the zip code where she teaches has had over 4,800 cases of COVID that’s more than 10 times. The number of cases in parts of coastal, North County, others, zip codes in South County also I’ve had thousands of cases, but while return to school would be more dangerous for families in these zip codes compared to elsewhere in the County, their children are the most likely to need in-person instruction. They’re more likely to be English learners and come from low income families. Everyone recognizes that there are certain zip codes where people reside Are more prevalent. Howard terrace is a professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego and the consulting pediatrician for San Diego unified school district, San Diego unified with more than 125,000 students is the county’s largest districts and span zip codes with both some of the highest and lowest case numbers. But Tara said the disparities in case numbers by zip code might not show the full picture.
Speaker 1: 08:46 People that live in those zip codes may go to school
Speaker 3: 08:49 Outside of those zip codes. So the importance of the zip code begins to become a little bit more when it comes
Speaker 1: 08:56 To, um, how,
Speaker 3: 08:59 But the public health disparities colliding with preexisting academic disparities shows an ongoing crisis as Angelica, Hong Ko. She’s an attorney focusing on educational equity at the civil rights law firm, public advocates,
Speaker 1: 09:12 Long before this pandemic, we already knew that the zip code, if you lived in dictated often the quality of the education that you’ve received
Speaker 3: 09:22 Consider scripts elementary in the Northern part of the city. As soon as zip code with among the Lowe’s case numbers in the County, and just 15% of its students qualify for free or reduced price meals, compare that to Porter elementary and Southeast San Diego, which is in a zip code with among the highest infection rates in 95% of its students are eligible for free or reduced price meals. Tara says there’s a possible scenario where Porter has to shut down due to high case numbers while script stays open, those conversations do come up and it is a big worry for everybody.
Speaker 3: 09:55 I’ll be the place where the disease is going to be transmitted, or it will be hopefully a rare event where it’s transmitted Chula Vista elementary is another district with learning disparities and a disproportionately high number of COVID cases. Educators they’re tried over the summer to mitigate the disparities by offering a two week virtual summer school session to vulnerable student groups. Matthew Tessier is an assistant superintendent in the district. We were able to engage the community and actually have cohorts of children working with teachers in a virtual setting to help mitigate that loss and accelerate the learning actually experts like Hong Kong say that the state needs to better support districts like those in the Southern parts of San Diego County to battle both the public health and educational inequities, closing the digital divide by providing devices and wifi to all students is just one example.
Speaker 1: 10:46 This pandemic gives us an opportunity to actually upgrade our educational system to meet 21st century
Speaker 3: 10:55 Joe Hong KPBS news.
Speaker 1: 11:09 You’re listening to KPBS midday edition I’m Alison st. John it’s the weekend. And with it plenty to do to get your arts and culture fix. It may not include any big holiday weekend outings or events, but that’s okay. There’s still art. We have some brand new virtual theater, the winners of the San Diego art prize and a live streamed instrumental rock show. Joining me is KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans with the details. Welcome Julia. Hi, Alison. So first off is the San Diego repertory theaters Latin next new play festival. Tell us about this. It’s a virtual program, right? Yeah. So this is the fourth annual festival and it will be entirely online this year. This festival discovers and produces new works by playwrights across North and South
Speaker 4: 11:54 America. And it also hosts panels and showcases this year, they’re doing five original theater presentations, including four new plays and one sort of showcase of comic memoir work by Margaret Gomez. So the kickoff plays Francisco Mendoza says machine learning, which isn’t exactly about COVID, but it looks at how someone used robots to take care of an ailing family member. So it feels kind of like it has an unsettling timeliness to it. And yeah, these plays are scattered throughout the weekend, alongside panels about dramaturgy direction design and more
Speaker 1: 12:32 San Diego rep’s Latinix new play festival at screening on Friday through Sunday online. Now, how can we see some quote unquote live music this weekend?
Speaker 4: 12:42 Yeah, so the Casbah recently started having bands come in to the empty venue and perform, and they’re live streaming. These shows on the Twitch platform. It’s not the same as being at the Casbah for a show, but these are really well produced. And you can also feel this sort of energy from the bands because they all miss performing and they miss each other. The Saturday night, the instrumental band Los pinches pinches will perform. They’re kind of like a dark indie progressive twist on the surf rock band. There is a bit of dreamy shoe gaze and also the sense that if there was singing, which there isn’t, but it would be like a long scream. It’s definitely worth tuning into to watch, or even just having it on as a backdrop for dinner or something. This is summer sweater from their album released last year.
Speaker 1: 13:48 [inaudible] pinches that spins live on Saturday at 8:30 PM from an empty Casbah via Twitch. Now moving on into the visual arts and also the in-person arts. Tell us a little about the San Diego art prize.
Speaker 4: 14:03 Yeah. So each year the San Diego art prize celebrates the work of four regional artists. And this year they’re all women I’ve been following these finalists for a while now. And their work is exceptional photographer, Alana era, Tim plays with rewriting history and representation in art because elder Rose says always has a way of infusing textures and materials and her visual art and sculpture. Um, Melissa Walter really works with light and shadow and science and KRA Fukiyama, who also has a notable colored plexiglass installation on the side of the North park target. And she’s known for her work with shapes and light. And the four of them are showing the works that they made specifically for this art Prez show at bread and salt. There’ll be a metered entry art opening on from five to eight where they’re only letting in a few people in the building at a time, but the art space will be open for appointment only individual viewings from the Saturday on through late October. And one of the strange silver linings of this pandemic is getting that feeling of being the only person in a museum or gallery space.
Speaker 1: 15:11 Oh, that’s true. Yeah. The San Diego art prize finalist exhibition kicks off Saturday evening at bread and salt in Barrio Logan with socially distant viewings or by appointment. And I hear you have one more visual art recommendation for those of us who aren’t ready to be in a room with other people yet, and are also tired of staring at zoom.
Speaker 4: 15:30 Yeah, there’s a new mural and Loya as part of the Athan AM’s murals of LA Jolla project, Tijuana artists, Marcos Ramirez ARA has installed this brand new work, which replaced those as previous 2015 work on the side of an office building at seven six one one Fe Avenue. The new pieces of called in chains and features optometry chart style, a quote from the late American band leader. Paul Whiteman jazz came to America 300 years ago in chains. So you can even make a little driving tour and seek out some of the other murals. There’s several more that have just been installed this quarantine even.
Speaker 1: 16:11 Yeah. And that’s outside. So that’s a great idea, Julia. So we’ve been speaking with KPBS arts editor and producers, Julia Dixon Evans. Thanks so much. Thank you, Alison. And for more arts events or to sign up for the KPBS arts newsletter, you can go to kpbs.org/arts.
Speaker 4: 17:34 [inaudible].