Scripps Health launches COVID-19 nurse line
Scripps Health has launched a COVID-19 nurse line, 888-261-8431, that connects patients to a team of nurses dedicated to screening people with symptoms associated with the new coronavirus.
Patients with fever and/or respiratory symptoms s hould call the dedicated phone line first before coming to any Scripps facility. They should not just walk in and should not use the Scripps online scheduling system for appointments.
Anyone who calls the nurse line will be connected to a nurse at the COVID-19 call center who will ask a series of questions designed to evaluate the caller’s potential risk for coronavirus infection. As warranted, the caller will be connected to a provider via video chat for further evaluation.
The nurse line is based at the organization’s corporate headquarters in La Jolla, and is staffed from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
Blood bank issues plea for blood donations
School closures and work-from-home policies have resulted in canceled blood drives. San Diego Blood Bank collects more than half of its blood supply on bloodmobiles. An additional strain on the blood supply is expected in the coming weeks.
“The U.S. is on the verge of a serious blood shortage that will lead to blood rationing and triage. We need healthy people to come out to donate immediately,” said David Wellis, CEO, San Diego Blood Bank. “Supplies are dropping to critical levels. We are confident the San Diego community will rally around this urgent need.”
It is important to note:
Donor safety measures are in place: SDBB has been in close communication with San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency, and they are advising SDBB on proper protocols amid coronavirus mandates. Surfaces are being cleaned between donations and donors are being screened upon arrival.
Locations are convenient. San Diego Blood Bank has six donor centers and will be posting active blood drives for the following day on social media. Appointments are encouraged so we can ensure proper staffing at locations. Walk-ins are welcome.
There is no research evidence that donating blood impacts your ability to fight infection later. While white blood cells needed to fight infection slightly decrease for a short time after donation, abundant cells remain in the event of an infection. Furthermore, donated cells are regenerated post-donation.
Individuals are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 by receiving donated blood. Respiratory viruses are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion transmission of this virus.
“It’s safe to donate blood,” said Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D., Assistant Secretary of Health, “Part of preparedness includes a robust blood supply. Healthy individuals should schedule an appointment to donate today to ensure that blood is available for patients who need it.”
According to Doug Morton, COO, San Diego Blood Bank, “It’s important to note that blood collection activities are not ‘mass gatherings,’ rather they are controlled blood drives conducted using appropriate infection control mechanisms intended to assure the safety of the products, donors and staff. San Diego Blood Bank is highly regulated and is following best practices, such as properly cleaning surfaces between donations.”
All blood types are needed and people who have never donated before are encouraged to donate. To make an appointment, visit sandiegobloodbank.org/GiveLife or call 619-400-8251. Donors must be 17 years or older, weigh a minimum of 114 pounds and be in general good health.
SDG&E suspends service disconnections for nonpayment
With the coronavirus pandemic causing significant impact on the economy and people’s livelihoods, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced March 14 that it will temporarily suspend service disconnections. The disconnection moratorium will remain in place until further notice.
The company is urging customers who are struggling to pay their utility bill due to financial hardships stemming from the coronavirus to call its Customer Contact Center at 1-800-411-7343 to make payment arrangements.
“With our entire region already experiencing many disruptions due to the coronavirus, the last thing we want our customers to worry about is whether they can afford to keep their lights on,” said Scott Crider, SDG&E’s vice president of customer services.
SDG&E will also waive late payment fees for business customers whose finances have been hit hard by the coronavirus. The company does not charge residential customers a late payment fee.
SDG&E’s response to the pandemic also includes adopting a number of precautionary measures to protect the health and well-being of its customers, employees, and the communities it serves.
Feeding San Diego announces emergency food distributions
Feeding San Diego hosted a press conference March 17 to announce additional emergency food distributions to help meet the increased need throughout San Diego County.
Amid the progression of the novel coronavirus, Feeding San Diego is maintaining its operations and striving to minimize disruption to hunger-relief services while implementing new methods of food distribution, including drive-thru and drop-and-go models to ensure appropriate social distancing.
Closures of schools, businesses and partner sites have resulted in significant gaps in food assistance, which Feeding San Diego is monitoring closely and launching additional food distributions based on community input and the needs of specific populations.
“This is a time of solidarity. Even as we’re asked to stand six feet apart from each other, San Diego County is coming together to meet the needs of the community,” said Vince Hall, CEO of Feeding San Diego.
“We’re in a crisis. We have a global health crisis that’s all over the news. But it’s much bigger than that. It’s creating a job crisis, a people crisis, and a food crisis,” said Keith Maddox, executive secretary-treasurer of San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council.
The additional food distribution sites include places in Chula Vista, Poway, Oceanside, El Cajon and one in Mission Valley at SDCCU Stadium. The Mission Valley site will open 10 a.m. on March 21 in the Northeast lot of SDCCU Stadium, 9449 Friars Road.
Listings of available emergency distributions will be updated daily and published at feedingsandiego.org/coronavirus.