La Jolla News Nuggets


County can now test for coronavirus

The County Public Health Laboratory is now able to test for the novel coronavirus, the cause of the respiratory disease COVID-19, according to the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).

Having that capability means that HHSA will no longer need to send all specimens to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), substantially reducing the time it takes for results.

“This is great news for San Diego County and will help with our ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19,” said County public health officer Wilma Wooten. “Being able to test locally means that when we have patients under investigation, we can more rapidly remove unneeded restrictions from those without infection. Should someone test positive, we will continue to keep them isolated.”

The County Public Health Lab now has the capability to do up to 40 tests in one run.

“The number of specimens we’ve been getting for testing is currently low, but we expect the need to increase,” said Brett Austin, director of HHSA’s Public Health Lab. “We are ready to increase capacity as required.”

Prior to getting the testing kit, the County Public Health Lab had to send specimens to CDC and results took several days to return. Now, those tested for potential cases of COVID-19 will know their results in 24 to 48 hours. Positive tests will still need to be confirmed by the CDC.

For up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit

Next Town Council forum: Community Choice Energy

The La Jolla Town Council’s Thursday, March 12 meeting at the Rec Center will feature a presentation by Matthew Valisakis of the Climate Action Campaign, updating residents and businesses about Community Choice Energy in San Diego, as well as the City of San Diego’s Franchise Agreement with SDG&E, which is up for renewal for the first time in 50 years.

There will also be printed information about SDG&E’s Utilities Undergrounding Program. After the forum, there will be extended updates from political and civic reps.

Eat & greet 5-5:30 p.m.; 5:30-6:30 p.m. meeting, 615 Prospect St.

What’s up with the mess on Ardath Road?

La Jolla resident Mark Pretorius e-mailed the Light several photos of the lot at 2459 Ardath Road in a sorry state, calling it “self-explanatory and simply disgraceful.”

“For years,” he wrote, “it’s been a blight to the residents in this La Jolla neighborhood and to La Jolla visitors driving on the La Jolla Parkway.”

The City of San Diego owns the property, it turns out, on which it stages public works projects. A City employee told the Light that a contractor hired by the Transportation & Storm Water Department is currently finishing a Public Utilities Department project using the lot.

Torrey Pines Rotary needs new home

Rock Bottom La Jolla is closing after 22 years at 8980 La Jolla Village Drive. The brew pub is among 10 in the chain being shuttered for financial reasons by CraftWorks Holdings, its Tennessee-based owners. While this is horrible news to employees, it also leaves the Torrey Pines Rotary Club (TPRC) without a home for its meetings. The club has met at Rock Bottom weekly since August 2008.

“It would be difficult, if not impossible, to exaggerate how grateful we are to the management and staff of Rock Bottom, and for their years of kindness and service to our club,” said TPRC president Henri Migala. “It really is so very sad to leave this wonderful group of people, from staff to management, who have made us feel so welcome and special every week.”

Migala said the club is looking for a new venue, and that suggestions may be e-mailed to

Another name change for La Jolla Parks & Rec

The La Jolla Recreation Advisory Group (LJRAG) is changing names to the La Jolla Community Recreation Group (LJCRG). The change was announced at LJRAG’s Feb. 26 meeting by City regional rec center supervisor Rosalia Castruita, who said the name would be more consistent with other rec center group names.

It will be the second time the board — for years known as La Jolla Parks & Recreation — was forced to change names by the City.

“I think the name sounds fine,” said LJRAG chair Mary Coakley-Munk, “and if that’s what the City wants, there’s no reason we can’t accommodate it.”

It’s never too late to start rowing

At 65 years old, Bird Rock resident Bob Dermody placed third in his age, weight and gender class at the third World Rowing Indoor Championships, held Feb. 7 and 8 in Paris, France.

“I started when I was 62,” said the Wells Fargo financial advisor, who took up rowing when injuries sidelined him from other sporting activities. “I’m 65 and was able to catch on quite quickly.”

According to neighbor Philomene Offen, Dermody’s dedication to training for this event “has been truly inspiring to his many local friends.”

Braille Institute bows font for low vision

The Braille Institute has launched the Atkinson Hyperlegible font. This typeface was designed specifically to improve readability for people with low vision. Named after Braille Institute founder Robert Atkinson, the type font was named the winner in the Graphic Design category of Fast Company’s 2019 Innovation by Design Awards.

“Many individuals with low vision find letters that are relatively similar in shape difficult to distinguish such as lowercase l and number 1,” said Craig Dobie, founding creative director of Applied Design Works, the agency that developed the new typeface. “Atkinson Hyperlegible approaches these letters in a unique manner. It has differentiated these letters by putting a tail on the letter l and a hook on the top of the number 1, making each distinct from the other.”

By 2030, the number of Americans with visual impairments is projected to reach 7.2 million, with 5 million having low vision. Low vision is when even with glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, people have difficulty seeing, which makes everyday tasks like reading , shopping, and cooking challenging.

La Jolla Institute adds board members

The La Jolla Institute for Immunology has elected two new members to its board of directors: former Applied Micro Circuits Corporation chairman and CEO David Rickey, and health-care attorney Mark Waxman.

“We’re delighted to welcome David Rickey and Mark Waxman to our board,” said La Jolla Institute president Mitchell Kronenberg. “Dave has enjoyed a legendary career in the telecommunications and semiconductor industries. And, for the past four decades, Mark has been one of the most respected and effective leaders in health-care law at one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious firms.”

Torrey Pines benefit auction underway

Through March 14, Torrey Pines Elementary School will hold a silent online auction for items donated by local businesses. To bid online, visit

The school says it’s also not too late to purchase tickets for its gala taking place at the Soledad Club on March 14.

County urges HPV vaccine for youth

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common infection that can lead to certain types of cancer later in life, yet about 50 percent of adolescents in the nation don’t have the vaccine that can prevent it.

This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends that girls and boys get the HPV vaccine when they turn 11 or 12 to prevent six types of cancer later in life.

“Vaccines are safe and effective and are the best protection we have to prevent disease,” said County public health officer Wilma Wooten. “Parents should speak with their medical provider to make sure their adolescent boys and girls have gotten the recommended vaccines.”

There are about 300,000 preteens and adolescents in San Diego County, and many of them have not had all the recommended vaccines.

The CDC recommends adolescent children get immunized against HPV; Meningococcal disease; Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (grouped in one vaccine called Tdap); influenza; and chickenpox. These vaccines are available at physicians’ offices, community clinics and many retail pharmacies. People without medical insurance can get vaccinated at one of seven locations — the nearest to La Jolla being 5202 University Ave.