Photo by Jermaine Ee on Unsplash

Two items regarding a continued state of local emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic were passed Feb. 2 during San Diego’s virtual City Council meeting.

Among other items discussed during the meeting, City Council members passed items 101 and 102 to declare a continued state of local emergency regarding the COVID-19 virus and raw sewage, solid waste, and sediment from Tijuana, Mexico.

Council members passed item 101, declaring a continued state of local emergency regarding the COVID-19 virus until its “termination.”

Councilmember Vivian Moreno voted to pass the item and said it’s crucial in mitigating the virus. 

“This local state of emergency continues to be a necessary and needed step to ensure the city can effectively and rapidly coordinate with County, State, and Federal agencies to respond to the COVID-19 crisis,” Moreno told Scriberr News. 

“It is critical to re-emphasize the directives and guidelines public health officials are urging the public to comply with to help slow the rate contagion.”

“I also want to recognize the work being done by our city employees; In particular, our first responders who are the initial point of contact in many cases for our residents who need assistance.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency last year on March 4. Since then, San Diego County has been in the Purple Tier, indicating the region is at the highest risk for communal transmission. 

During the meeting, councilmember Marni Von Wilbert commented on item 101 before voting to pass it.

“I’m also sad to see we have to continue our current state of emergency, but I know we are coming up on a year of the pandemic,” Von Wilbert said. 

“I was really pleased to see our council President and the Mayor talking about vaccines just last night.”

Item 102 passed Feb. 2 by council members declaring a continued state of emergency regarding raw sewage, solid waste, and sediment from Tijuana, Mexico.

The San Diego County state of emergency was first set due to sewage and waste from the Tijuana river flowing into San Diego waterways.

There has been a long history of sewage from the Tijuana river spilling in the Pacific Ocean near the border, creating a forced beach closure. 

Imperial Beach is one of the affected beaches that receive excess sewage into its waters.

According to La Prensa San Diego, The County Department of Environmental Health detected sewage in Imperial Beach waters that required the closure of the area.

“The county Department of Environmental Health (DEH), along with lifeguards, and other organizations, monitor conditions along San Diego beaches to detect sewage impacts moving north. DEH can issue beach closures until water quality conditions improve.”

Moreno supports item 102 and said it is an urgent matter to make everyone aware of their safety.

“It is important that we declare a continued State of Emergency in the Tijuana River Valley,” Moreno told Scriberr News. 

“It provides a more accurate description of the current condition and increases awareness about the potential impacts to public health and allows us to more effectively lobby for federal funding to build the infrastructure needed to address the problem.”

Since the City Council passed both of the items to continue the state of emergency, Moreno emphasized that “[both of] the state of emergencies will need to continue to be declared until these issues are fully addressed.”

Written ByLauren Akabori

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