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County encourages support for San Diego’s seniors

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher speaks during the county's daily briefing on COVID-19
(Karen Billing)

For the first time in over a week, there were no COVID-19 deaths reported in San Diego County on April 6 however, cases jumped to over 1,400. The following day, the county reported 12 deaths, the largest single-day loss of life in the county during the pandemic.

“This really is a stark reminder of the challenges we face, the difficult road that lies ahead and the importance of the actions that we take each and every day,” said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher at the April 7 briefing. “We are fighting for every single life and this fight will continue all the way through this crisis.”

Eric McDonald, medical director of the County Epidemiology and Immunization Services branch, noted that COVID-19 fatalities are often a “lagging indicator” and they have expected the number of cases and hospitalizations to increase in the critical month of April. “The most effective way to keep people from getting the virus and to prevent potential deaths is by staying home and wearing a face covering while in public conducting essential activities,” McDonald said.

As of press time, there were 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rancho Santa Fe, five in Solana Beach, eight in Del Mar, 22 in Carmel Valley and 30 in Encinitas.

During the county’s daily update on April 6, supervisors stressed the importance of staying connected to seniors as during this time of physical distancing, they may feel more isolated than ever.

“These are challenging times that we’re dealing with but it’s been especially hard for our seniors who are more vulnerable to the virus and must take extra precautions to avoid exposing themselves to COVID-19” said Supervisor Greg Cox. “As the lockdown continues, it can be hard for seniors who do not have nearby family or friends to help.”

The county’s Aging and Independent Services Offices (AIS) have stepped up their efforts in this crisis, providing meals to those who are 60 and older with the greatest economic need. Cox said over the last three weeks through additional routes and volunteers, the county and its partners have doubled the amount of home-delivered meals served. The county’s 13 Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) have assisted Feeding San Diego and the San Diego Food Bank with distribution events, reaching 3,700 families in need.

Low-income adults 60 and older who are homebound due to illness or disability may request to have meals delivered to them if they are registered with a county nutrition provider. For more information about home-delivered meals or nutrition services supported by the county, visit aging.sandiegocounty.gov , call (800) 339-4661 or call 2-1-1 to get connected to resources in your area.

Cox said it is also important for older adults to remain active, sharing the county’s resources on livewellsd.org. On the website under Live Well at Home, there are links to Feeling Fit exercise videos for older adults to do at home, yoga and tai chi classes and a link to San Diego Oasis which offers morning meditations on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. For help accessing any service, dial 2-1-1.

Supervisor Fletcher said, at this time, the burden is much heavier on seniors—the dangers are greater and there is a larger sense of anxiety and uncertainty. He asked every San Diegan to reach out to a senior citizen in their life and check up on them.

“If each and every one of us could make a phone call to one senior citizen we know to see how they’re doing, to see if there’s anything they need, to give them some encouragement or connect to the services we just shared…we as a community can be much stronger,” Fletcher said.

Ways to support our seniors:

  • Check on your elderly neighbors, family and friends.
  • Volunteer to go buy groceries and supplies.
  • Show seniors how to use video chat to talk to others using smartphones, laptops or tablets.
  • Do a phone or text chain which may work better for older adults unfamiliar with video chatting apps.
  • Write simple messages and leave them at their door or mailbox.

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