211 San Diego Offers Help With Food, Housing, Utility Bills and More During Pandemic

The answer to resolving many COVID-19 roadblocks faced by our community members can be found at 2-1-1 San Diego through its Community Information Exchange ecosystem.

A Pandemic and Surging Summer Heat Leave Thousands Struggling to Pay Utility Bills

When the coronavirus pandemic forced classrooms to close this spring, Leticia Garcia’s family in Fairfax County, Virginia, quickly ran short of money. Garcia cleans schools for a living and, with her hours sharply reduced, found herself at home with her two daughters.

She cut their cell phone service to keep the water, gas and electricity on. Now, only Garcia and her son, who helps pay the utility bills, have working phones.

Opinion: Affordability Must Be a Priority as California Charts a Course for Economic Recovery

There’s no doubt California has been hard hit by the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s unemployment rate is north of 15% and millions of households are struggling to pay their bills, whether it be the monthly rent or mortgage, a car payment or their utility bills.

Niland: In Search of a Miracle

It has been a week since a devastating fire ripped through Niland, demoralizing a poor community already suffering from a pandemic quarantine. Douglas Kline, principal of Grace Elementary, Niland’s only school, spoke about the onslaught.

Water Utility Hero of the Week: Carrie Selby, City of Escondido

This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Carrie Selby, City of Escondido Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.

Coronavirus: Testing Sewage an ‘Easy Win’

A sewage-based coronavirus test could be an “easy win” that would pick up infection spikes up to 10 days earlier than with existing medical-based tests.

Scientists led by UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology are working on a standardised test to “count” the amount of coronavirus in a wastewater sample.

“The earlier you find [a signal], the earlier an intervention can happen,” says lead researcher Dr Andrew Singer.

“That means lives will be made much more liveable in the current crisis.”

Calif. Farm Bureau President Says Farmworker Safety is Priority

As California’s agricultural industry faces an estimated $6-8 billion loss this year due to the pandemic, farmers and ranchers say they’re working hard to keep the food supply steady and safe.

EPA to End Policy Suspending Pollution Monitoring by End of Summer

The Environmental Protection Agency will rescind its controversial policy allowing companies to skip monitoring their pollution by the end of the summer, the agency wrote in a letter to lawmakers.

The policy, unveiled in a March 26 memo in an effort to help companies reduce regulatory burdens during the coronavirus, alerted companies they would not face penalties for failing to monitor their pollution emissions as required under a host of environmental laws.

Pandemic, Water Costs, Consumer Behavior Lead to $2 Billion in Ag Losses Thus Far

The pandemic’s direct negative economic impact on California ag is predicted to be between $5.9 and $8.6 billion in 2020. The estimated year-to-date losses are more than $2 billion.

Senate Democrats Ask Whether PFAS Worsens Coronavirus Cases

Senate Democrats want to know whether being exposed to PFAS chemicals, which have become ubiquitous in the environment, worsens the effect of the coronavirus on the human body.