La Jolla News Nuggets: Coronavirus outbreaks and testing, food drive, Actors Fund award

A cell, in greenish brown, is heavily infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
A cell, in greenish brown, is heavily infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
(National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

Report lists community coronavirus outbreaks

Though health officials regularly release information about the number of COVID-19 coronavirus outbreaks being investigated across San Diego County, the specific locations usually have been kept secret.

But last week public media station KPBS published an investigation that revealed the addresses of 1,006 outbreaks that occurred between March and December.

Here are the 14 outbreaks reported in La Jolla’s 92037 ZIP code and the date public health investigations about them were opened:

• Butterfly Gardens senior facility, 5557 Soledad Mountain Road, Nov. 29

• Little Steps Christian Preschool, 6551 Soledad Mountain Road, Nov. 25

• San Diego French-American School, 6550 Soledad Mountain Road, Nov. 18

• Marshalls department store, 8657 Villa La Jolla Drive, Nov. 5

• La Jolla Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 2552 Torrey Pines Road, (two) Oct. 30 and Sept. 3

• Galaxy Tacos, 2259 Avenida de la Playa, Oct. 9

• Blue Ocean Sushi Bar, 1250 Prospect St., Oct. 7

• The Lodge at Torrey Pines, 11480 N. Torrey Pines Road, Sept. 22

• Scripps Research, 10550 N. Torrey Pines Road, Aug. 7

• White Sands La Jolla senior community, 7450 Olivetas Ave., July 8

• La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, 2000 Spindrift Drive, July 7

• The Cove at La Jolla care center, 7160 Fay Ave., July 4

• AvantGarde Senior Living of La Jolla, 6211 La Jolla Hermosa Ave., April 25

When categorized by location type, senior living and nursing homes accounted for 214 outbreaks, the highest in the county. One in five outbreaks were tied to restaurants and bars, and 205 were at manufacturing companies and other businesses. About 125 outbreaks were associated with grocery and retail stores, and more than 40 occurred at medical facilities.

In community settings such as restaurants, schools and businesses, an outbreak consists of at least three coronavirus cases within a 14-day period at the same setting involving people who are from different households or are not considered close contacts in some other way.

Outbreaks at congregate care settings such as shelters and jails are defined as three cases within a 14-day period among people who have had contact with at least one other person within the outbreak.

At places such as nursing homes and senior care centers, outbreaks require only one laboratory-confirmed case.

Epidemiologists cautioned that the list shouldn’t be used to rank the safety of places but rather should serve as a reminder of the kinds of places and types of behaviors that may result in exposure to the virus.

There were 60 new confirmed outbreaks countywide in the seven days ending Dec. 26, with 250 cases associated with those outbreaks, according to county public health officials. — The San Diego Union-Tribune and City News Service

La Jolla scientists are finalists in COVID testing competition

A team at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology has been named a finalist in the XPRIZE rapid COVID-19 testing competition, meaning it is in the running to receive one of five $500,000 prizes to further its work and help make its testing protocol widely available.

Group leader Suzanne Alarcon started at LJI in late April and quickly got an in-house COVID-19 screening program up and running. She was joined in the effort by the LJI Next Generation Sequencing staff and XPRIZE teammates Hannah Dose, Arturo Hernandez and Kyle Tanguay.

The saliva-based test can be carried out in less than a day and costs $2.

As XPRIZE finalists, the scientists will have their test further validated in a real-world clinical setting. The final winners of the XPRIZE will be announced in February.

Torrey Pines Elementary drive raises 689 pounds of food

Torrey Pines Elementary School raised 689 pounds of food Dec. 11 to benefit The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank.

The amount was a school record for a one-day collection, Torrey Pines Principal Nona Richard said, and was enough to provide 574 meals to people in need. The food bank assists 600,000 people every month countywide.

La Jolla Realtor is honored for aid to people in performing arts

Janet Lawless Christ, an agent affiliated with the La Jolla office of Coldwell Banker Realty, has received The Actors Fund’s 2020 Encore Award, which is presented to those who demonstrate compassion and dedication to people in the performing arts.

“The outpouring of love and commitment she has shown to struggling members of the performing arts and entertainment community is simply remarkable,” said Brian Stokes Mitchell, chairman of the board for The Actors Fund. “Thanks to her and other donors, this year we’ve helped over 30,000 industry professionals. Many are in financial crisis due to COVID-19, and we have been able to provide financial assistance for such vital resources as medications, rent, food, utilities and more.”

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff