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UC San Diego Health Hillcrest Medical Center / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

For most COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the county, contact with a nurse is their only tangible connection to the living world. But even that is limited.

In a new profile by Will Huntsberry, UC San Diego nurse Shannon Cotton shares what it’s like to care for patients fighting for their lives inside of one of San Diego’s intensive care units. “All we keep hearing is, ‘The surge is coming, the surge is coming,’” Cotton said. “But to be honest, it feels like the surge is happening right now.”

Public health officials estimate that San Diego could hit its peak number of cases in five weeks, and projections show the number of patients who need to be hospitalized may surpass the number of beds available.

Convention Center to Become Homeless Shelter

No, that’s not an April Fools’ joke. As if to add just one last bit of surreal to the end of March, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced late Tuesday that the Convention Center would open up as a homeless shelter today. The first groups to enter will be from the large tents set up around the city known as bridge shelters.

We knew this was going to happen but the announcement it would happen put a punctuation mark on an extraordinary and dizzying month. At the beginning of March, the mayor was hoping voters would approve a hotel tax increase that would fund a modern expansion of the Convention Center and homeless services. Now, hotel taxes have cratered and the building will shelter homeless people.

There will be an early news conference featuring the mayor, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, homeless service providers and leaders of the Convention Center.

Q&A: Therapist Deals With Severe Stress and Anxiety Amid Pandemic

The medical professionals dealing directly with COVID-19 patients aren’t the only ones swamped these days.

Therapists in San Diego are now speaking to their patients over Zoom and Skype, but they say they’re as busy as they’ve ever been as anxiety levels have spiked across the county over the novel coronavirus.

Voice contributor Randy Dotinga spoke with Katherine Nguyen Williams, a UCSD clinical professor who treats children, their families and college students, who told him that in addition to an increase in patients, she’s seen an uptick in the severity of symptoms among her patients, too.

“Kids do better when their parents model resilience,” Nguyen Williams said.

More News

  • A passenger aboard a cruise ship docked in the San Diego Harbor has tested positive for coronavirus. The ship began disembarking more than 2,300 passengers Monday and later sent a letter instructing them to self-quarantine for 14 days. (City News Service)
  • An equipment malfunction at the San Diego VA Medical Center in La Jolla may have exposed ICU patients and staff to the coronavirus, reports inewsource. A complaint filed with OSHA said “ventilation protective measures were not sustained” during a planned power outage at the facility.
  • The commander of a San Diego-based aircraft carrier that’s currently in port in Guam wrote to Navy leaders this weekend to inform them that if infected crewmembers aren’t allowed to leave the ship, the ship’s outbreak will continue to spread and people will die. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • The county released a breakdown by ZIP code of the confirmed COVID-19 cases so far in San Diego.
  • Roughly 100 San Diegans are participating in a rent strike, refusing to pay their leases after losing incomes due to the coronavirus, the Union-Tribune reported Tuesday. The city of San Diego has already passed a temporary eviction moratorium, allowing renters to delay paying rent if they can provide documentation of their coronavirus-related income loss, though they’ll still be obligated to pay the back rent eventually.
  • Tuesday marked the largest one-day jump in coronavirus cases in San Diego County thus far, with 131 new cases bringing the county’s total to 734. (NBC San Diego)
  • Law enforcement officers located yet another cross-border tunnel, with nearly $30 million in drugs inside it, federal officials announced Tuesday. (Union-Tribune)

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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