Morning Report: La Mesa Facility Is One of State's Deadliest for Coronavirus - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: La Mesa Facility Is One of State's Deadliest for Coronavirus

Elmcroft of La Mesa is a senior living center / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Elmcroft of La Mesa is an assisted-living facility with 56 beds. That makes the next numbers pretty shocking: 34 of its residents have been infected with the novel coronavirus, and of those, 12 have died, according to new numbers released by the state.

It’s the second-highest resident death toll for such a facility in California.

In a new story on the facility, VOSD contributor Jared Whitlock notes that the facility also has a troubled regulatory history and has been cited for a lack of supervision of residents, including one incident that led to a death.

“COVID-19 has raced through even well-staffed facilities with strong infection control policies, health officials say. But a pattern of past infection control or staffing problems at a facility raises questions about preparedness for COVID-19,” Whitlock writes.

In 2017, an administrative judge placed the facility on probation. But the facility relicensed in 2018 as part of a larger property shuffle — a move that also obscures its regulatory past. 

San Diego Not United on Mission Valley Stadium Deal

The city’s side of the negotiating table is made up of elected offices whose leaders are not marching in lockstep. 

City Attorney Mara Elliott has long argued that Measure G, the voter initiative giving officials the authority to sell the land to the university, was illegal. The mayor, on the other hand, is eager to wrap things up because the city needs the money in the pandemic and wants to stop paying for the property’s upkeep. 

Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts break down the key points of dispute in the Politics Report. They also have more details on the university’s financing plans, including a $60 million fundraising effort among donors. 

More Contact Tracers on the Way

After the region improves its COVID-19 testing capacity, officials are going to need to effectively retrace the steps of sick patients to understand where they’ve been, who they’ve contacted and where the virus is headed. 

It may sound simple enough, but experts suggest that San Diego County is well below the number of necessary contact tracers to bring us into the next phase of reopenings. As of Thursday, it had 163 people working on this task, with an “initial goal” of employing 450. It could need upwards of 1,000. 

Jesse Marx reports that California is helping counties, including San Diego, quick close the gap by hosting training academies and redirecting thousands of its own employees to become investigators on the local level. Citing an “overwhelming number of applicants,” the county has since closed out the recruitment process and is no longer accepting contact tracer applications. 

Where else is the county meeting (and not meeting) state and federal guidelines for reopening? Here’s a summary from our pals at NBC San Diego. 

Why San Diego Is Suing Ride-Share Companies

Elliott was the first official in the state to sue a gig company over worker classification under AB 5 when she went after grocery delivery app Instacart. Last week, she also joined California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the city attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles to sue Uber and Lyft.

They contend that the drivers should be treated like employees with minimum wage, sick leave and other guarantees. 

Critics of AB 5 say the law should be put on hold during the pandemic because it limits people’s options for work. As Sara Libby notes, though, both sides continue to insist that the pandemic proves them right.

There are other interesting takeaways from the new lawsuit. Ride-share companies, for instance, argue that drivers aren’t a core part of their businesses. Yet they’ve recently made changes to their policy giving drivers in California more control over schedules and rates.

Mo’ Politics

The Union-Tribune reports that a 38-year-old woman from Orange County has helped spearhead the back-to-work protests in San Diego and other parts of California. She said the campaign has a wealthy backer but she declined to identify that person.

Oceanside City Councilman Christopher Rodriguez called on non-essential businesses to reopen in defiance of the public health orders. The mayor quickly released a statement separating the city’s official stance from Rodriguez’s “personal views.” (NBC San Diego)

After two failed attempts to fill a vacancy in Escondido by appointment, the City Council will put the decision to voters in November. (Union-Tribune) 

Officials Mourn Passing of MTS Exec

Metropolitan Transit System CEO Paul Jablonski died this weekend. MTS board chair Nathan Fletcher made the announcement Sunday

“I am shocked and saddened about his passing,” he tweeted. “Paul was a good man who not only ran a great agency but was a respected national transit industry leader.”

Deputy Chief Executive Officer Sharon Cooney will serve as the interim chief executive officer, the agency said in a press release.

In Other News 

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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