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Dana Reddy is a patient at a local fertility clinic that put treatments on hold during the coronavirus pandemic. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The pandemic has put pressure on hospitals and clinics across the region, delaying time-sensitive treatments. Some patients, including those who’ve lost work, were forced to pay for costly treatments out of pocket.

The impact of reduced health care extends not to just to current families, but to ones that haven’t started yet. 

In a new story, Kayla Jimenez relays the grief experienced across the region by fertility patients, particularly those with ticking biological clocks and ovarian health conditions. 

In March, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine directed clinicians to suspend new treatment cycles and consider cancelling all embryo transfers and other elective procedures because of the coronavirus. Physicians scrambled to notify patients about the suspensions. 

Within a few weeks, most fertility treatments in the San Diego region and across the nation had come to a halt. In vitro fertilization was not deemed essential, a decision that one patient described as “bullshit.”

“At my age,” she said, “every month and every day matters.” 

Some treatments are resuming, but there’s now a backlog and patients are worried about resuming treatments only to have things shut down again.

Radio’s Not Doing So Hot

Even before the pandemic hit, local radio was going through a rough patch. Nation chains had made cuts that forced several local disc jockeys and morning hosts off air.

VOSD contributor and Rudford’s aficionado Randy Dotinga surveyed the radio landscape. He reports that total listenership in San Diego is down 40 percent in only a few months.

KPBS zoomed up the ratings charts to become the most popular radio station in the county, but it, too, is experiencing an overall decline in listeners as fewer people spend time in their cars. (In case you missed it, the public radio station published the third part of its police use of force series, this one about how Berkeley was ahead of statewide reform efforts.)

So what’s holding steady? The usual: Rush Limbaugh and morning sex talk. 

First Back-to-School Plan Underscores Parental Anxiety

Cajon Valley Union School District became one of the first San Diego County districts to finalize a back-to-school plan last week. Parents are being given three options, so that they have more control over how often their child will be in a classroom. 

It’s not hard to imagine other districts adopting a similar model. 

Turns out the district in East County has been using “blended learning,” meaning the students and teachers had been using some online instructions, for years. The superintendent told Will Huntsberry that Cajon Valley was fairly well prepared to reopen based on its technological history

But Huntsberry also reports that the process for reopening underscored a sense of anxiety among parents who worry that distance learning will be a permanent rather than temporary state of affairs. They showed up at two different board meetings to protest. 

Future of County’s Coronavirus Hotel Plan Unclear

The past three months, the county has moved more than 1,300 vulnerable homeless San Diegans and others who have or are suspected of having coronavirus into hotels. VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt dug into the status of one of the county’s most significant but little-understood efforts to combat the coronavirus.

Officials say they remain committed to the initiative as the pandemic continues but its future is unclear as hotels reopen to tourists. The county is seeking a contractor to operate rooms for coronavirus patients that about 125 county workers now run and mulling whether to extend a contract with the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, which is overseeing rooms for vulnerable homeless people, that is set to expire July 31.

Here’s What We’re Watching as State Budget Deadline Looms

Monday is the deadline for state lawmakers to pass a budget, and the last we heard they don’t yet have a deal with Gov. Gavin Newsom. There are still some big items to settle as the negotiations wrap up.

We’re paying particular attention to how funding will shape up for businesses, workers, health care and schools, which are central to the economy getting back up and running. 

There are essentially two budgets that need to be reconciled into one: the Legislature’s and the governor’s. In May, San Diego Unified and other large school districts said it wouldn’t be possible for them to reopen in the fall if the governor’s planned budget goes through. It included a 10 percent cut in education spending. 

Police Budget Roundup

  • San Diego City Council President Georgette Gómez joined the podcast to talk about what it was like putting together a budget in the midst of a public health crisis catastrophe with millions coming from the federal government and demands to defund the police. Our hosts walked through the complexities of police vacancies and labor negotiations. 
  • The City Council is getting blowback for agreeing to increase SDPD’s budget amid the civil unrest. But that budget includes mentorship and leadership training for roughly 3,000 at-risk young people. City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery, who apologized Friday to her community for not better communicating her thinking on the budget, pushed to preserve that program. 
  • Montgomery has requested a line by line review of expenses to begin looking for funds that can be diverted elsewhere. The Union-Tribune reports that SDPD’s budget has been increasing while the number of arrests go down. The costs of police are eating into other public services, including parks and libraries
  • The U-T editorial team also asked 19 elected officials and candidates to weigh in on the future of police funding in San Diego. 

In Other News

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

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