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A lot of circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic are awfully counterintuitive: Governments are expected to help struggling businesses and individuals at the same moment their own finances are cratering, parents must work from home while also being full-time caregivers.
Now, Maya Srikrishnan and Jesse Marx detail another counterintuitive reality that’s playing out across San Diego County: Health care systems are being forced to furlough and lay off workers in the midst of a health crisis because the most profitable parts of their businesses have been put on hold.
A snapshot: “UCSD Health Center has lost more than $50 million in revenue since March. Palomar Health has seen revenue losses of up to $800,000 a day. One San Diego doctor who runs his own small practice said he’s only seeing 20 percent of his normal volume of patients, and as a result has had to cut his staff’s hours by 20 percent.”
Some federal relief is on the way, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has said some non-essential surgeries can resume.
But it seems likely that some patients will continue to be more wary about going to the emergency room or utilizing other health services if they can avoid it.
“If you don’t feel you’re at a severe threat are you gonna … risk sitting around with people who have COVID?” a professor of health care finance told VOSD.
A Snapshot of Life as a Local Business Owner Right Now
From the makers of Meet the Pandemic Decision-Makers comes an emotional and informative new video that will leave you … emotional, and informed.
In the video, several local business owners describe the challenges they’re grappling with as they scramble to protect their workers and keep their doors open in some fashion. One restaurant owner, for example, says making the switch to to-go orders and online ordering hasn’t been as simple as just flipping a switch.
“Ninety-five percent of our business was dine-in,” said Amy Kraft of Atypical Waffle in North Park. “So we had basically 24 hours to figure out how we were going to implement this takeout-delivery format and what it was going to look like. You can imagine the stress of trying to get our online platform going, understand the concepts and what it all meant … making sure we were following health guidelines. It was overwhelming.”
Surfers and Bioluminescent Algae Are Both Back in the Water
The ocean was open for business in San Diego and Coronado on Monday. (By business, we mean swimming and surfing.)
In this week’s Environment Report, MacKenzie Elmer notes the different approaches to beach recreation Southern California counties are taking: Los Angeles leaders say things should remain closed, while Orange County leaders were quickly forced to consider rescinding or changing their decision to open beaches back up after people flocked to Newport Beach this weekend.
Meanwhile, Elmer explains the science behind why the ocean is turning both electric blue at night and red during the day.
In Other News
- A UCSD Health study found that a loss of smell in some COVID-19 patients could indicate a more mild or moderate case. (City News Service)
- U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said in a press release Monday that three people caught crossing the border illegally last week tested positive for COVID-19. Two of them were Mexican nationals and were returned to Mexico; one was an Indian national who remains in Border Patrol custody, though the press release doesn’t say where.
- Two new drive-thru coronavirus testing sites have opened in the county; both require a doctor referral. (NBC San Diego)
The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Scott Lewis.