A beach in the city of Coronado. / Photo by MacKenzie Elmer

Imperial Beach and Coronado are grappling with new water quality test results. San Diego is the first in the nation to deploy a new technology to test the safety of our beaches.

As Voice of San Diego’s MacKenzie Elmer reported, the new tests count bacteria by its DNA; it looks for the presence of the Enterococcus bacteria, which is found in the gut of warm-blooded mammals, including humans (e.g., feces).

The word poop is funny, obviously, but this is deadly serious for local beach cities — which may not only face economic hardship from having their beaches closed, but the test results suggest beachgoers could get seriously sick.

A big sticking point, though, is how the county changed its practice on beach closures amidst the new test rollout. Now, instead of closing down a beach — which it has the authority to do in the event of hazardous water levels — the county is posting informative signs. So … how much fecal matter are we tolerating here?

This week on the VOSD Podcast, hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña discuss how these new tests got deployed by the county, how Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey is pushing back against the confounding rollout and what local public health officials must do to keep us all safe as we try to catch some sweet summer gnar.

Viral Tweet of the Week…

This week, local station KUSI got major traction from an interview with San Diego Unified School Board President Sharon Whitehurst-Payne.

Whitehurst-Payne answered questions about the district’s new mask mandate, triggered by the current COVID-19 surge. Among her recommendations for those who are theoretically so mask-averse they’d refuse the mandate was this: Don’t come to school.

On the show, our hosts reviewed some of the other details from that interview and context on how school has been changing since the pandemic uprooted education as we knew it.

Learning loss? Never heard of her.

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Nate John

Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at nate@vosd.org.

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