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Small water districts say demand projections are too high, Oceanside won’t be sharing homeless info with police and more in our biweekly roundup of North County news.
Coronavirus vaccine stations are ramping up in North County.
After the region’s first vaccination superstation opened at Cal State San Marcos in late January, another at the Del Mar Fairgrounds opened on Friday. It’s the fifth vaccine superstation in San Diego County.
That’s good news for vaccination rates if the supply holds up. Last week, San Diego County officials announced a delayed arrival of an expected shipment from Moderna had impacted supply. As a result, the Petco Park site closed temporarily, forcing those appointments to be rescheduled. But the delay hasn’t appeared to slow down its North County superstation sites. On Feb. 12, the county reported that its “points of dispensing, or PODs, and North County Super Station in San Marcos have sufficient supplies to meet second dose appointments along with a limited supply of first doses.”
Smaller sites in North County have also opened to administer vaccines to health care professionals, public health staff and people over 65. In San Marcos, a new vaccination site for vulnerable seniors is open at West PACE from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. In Vista, a new vaccination site at the Linda Rhoades Recreation Center is capable of providing up to 500 doses daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sundays and Mondays. In Escondido, the former Palomar Medical Center is providing vaccines in a drive-through system at the old hospital’s parking garage Tuesdays through Saturdays. The former medical center could be the first site in the county to offer coronavirus vaccines, coronavirus testing and antibody therapy in a single facility, the Union-Tribune reported. In Oceanside, there’s a vaccination site at North Coastal Live Well Health Center.
“The good news is San Diego County has administered over 700,000 vaccinations and that number continues to climb! Two new vaccine distribution locations have opened in the North County, which will allow for even more people to get the vaccine,” Supervisor Jim Desmond, who represents District 5, wrote in a newsletter Monday. “San Diego County has the infrastructure ready for when we receive more vaccines, which is great! I know it may seem slow, but San Diego County is well ahead of many others in the state, and we are ready for the next doses to arrive! Progress is being made!”
San Diego County teachers, law enforcement and food and agriculture workers could be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine within the next month under phase 1B-Tier 1, 10 News reported. But some North County officials want police officers to be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine sooner. San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones appeared on KUSI Tuesday to advocate for vaccinating law enforcement officers after the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 against allowing them to start receiving the vaccine. Desmond voted for the proposal and and tweeted about his disappointment when it failed. “Sadly, the majority of the Board voted against recommending law enforcement receive vaccinations today. I believe our brave women and men in uniform need the vaccination now,” Desmond wrote.
I’m putting a call out to readers who’ve gotten vaccinated or know someone who’s gotten vaccinated at one of the North County sites or plans to in the near future. Send me a message on Twitter or email to tell me about your experience.
In a new story, Voice of San Diego’s environment reporter Mackenzie Elmer talked to water agency officials about how much water San Diego County actually needs. The San Diego Water Authority is projecting growth in future water demand for the county. But officials from small North County water districts like Oceanside, Olivenhein and Rainbow that buy water from the Water Authority think those projections are too high and in the end could increase costs for residents, Elmer wrote.
Sarah Davis, a management analyst for Oceanside’s Water Utilities Department, said the Water Authority’s initial predictions were 10 percent higher than what its own staff calculated.
Rainbow Municipal Water District General Manager Tom Kennedy is concerned because demand has dropped an average of 5.75 percent every year since 2005 amid the area’s declining agricultural economy yet the Water Authority told Rainbow its customers would buy 10 to 20 percent more over the next few decades. And Kim Thorner, general manager for Olivenhein Municipal Water District, which serves 87,000 people between Encinitas, Solana Beach and parts of eastern San Diego, said we’ve always overestimated future water demands because of population growth. Data from her staff showed near-team water demand is 10 percent lower than the Water Authority’s projections.
The tension around projections and what the right investment mix is between wholesalers like the Water Authority and retailers like the small water districts in North County isn’t unusual, Elmer reported.
Subscribe to the Environment Report to learn more about the dispute from Elmer and get a roundup of environmental news every other Monday.