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San Diego to Donate Face Shields to Tijuana as Border Command Group Works to Address COVID-19

San Diego, Tijuana Cross-Border Cooperation Proves Strong During Coronavirus Pandemic

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - NEWS RELEASE

SAN DIEGO – Proving the strength of the cross-border relationship between San Diego and Tijuana, today San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer will be joined by Tijuana Mayor Arturo González Cruz to announce the donation of 1,000 3D-printed face shields from the City of San Diego to the City of Tijuana for use in public hospitals. Mayor Faulconer will also detail a new regional working group that tracks and monitors the pandemic in San Diego and Baja California.

“COVID-19 knows no boundaries, so our border region is working together to monitor the situation in Baja and preparing for healthcare impacts in the San Diego region should they arise,” Mayor Faulconer said. “San Diego and Tijuana are in this together, so I’ve directed our libraries to 3-D print face shields to help protect Tijuana’s healthcare workers as they work to save lives.”

In April, the City of San Diego Public Library, in partnership with the San Diego Public Library Foundation, began producing protective face shields for local hospital workers using a dozen 3-D printers that were relocated to the San Diego Central Library’s IDEA Lab. Each face shield consists of a 3D-printed visor, a protective laminate sheet, a 3D-printed bottom anchor and an elastic strap. The City can produce approximately 300 in a single week and over the past month has produced and donated more than 1,600 face shields.

“This donation strengthens the ties between the sister cities of Tijuana and San Diego, reasserting the solidarity of the families that make up our megaregion. Today more than ever we must be united, working hand in hand to overcome this pandemic. I appreciate the goodwill of Mayor Faulconer and the support this donation provides to Tijuana doctors,” Mayor González said.

The City of San Diego established in April a regional working group of more than a dozen agencies to monitor and respond to the impact that U.S. citizens crossing into the United States from Mexico seeking medical treatment related to COVID-19 or other illnesses may have on hospitals or emergency resources in San Diego County. Projections show Mexico could hit its peak in the coming weeks, resulting in an increased demand on its healthcare systems. This group meets two times per week with daily data reports to prepare for potential scenarios and reduce the impact on San Diego County resources.

The San Diego Region Border Unified Command led by the City’s Emergency Operations Center consists of representatives from:

  • City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, San Diego Police Department and Government Affairs Department
  • County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Public Health Preparedness & Response Branch and Sheriff’s Department
  • California Department of Public Health, Office of Binational Border Health
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol, Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IX (FEMA)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
  • City of Chula Vista Fire Department and Police Department
  • Imperial County Fire Department and Office of Emergency Services
  • Calexico Fire

In addition, approximately five ventilators will be donated to the City of Tijuana by an organization identified by the border command. CalDART, a group that uses general aviation aircraft for disaster airlifts, will manufacture and distribute the emergency ventilators.

"When people ask us why we do this? Our answer is simple. We give our time, treasure and talents because that's what Americans do, help our friends and neighbors in their time of need," said Ronald Lovick, Executive Director of CalDART San Diego. "CalDART San Diego and San Diego Collaborative Arts Project are collaborating with Makerspace groups to make emergency AMBU Bag ventilators, developed by Rice University in Houston, Texas, based on work done by MIT. They are fully developed, ready for production and delivery to health care workers in critical need."

San Diego and Tijuana have a long-standing relationship of cross-border collaboration going back several generations. Mayor Faulconer and previous mayors in both cities have continued to build on the megaregion’s strong binational ties by advocating on behalf of American and Mexican residents and businesses in Washington, D.C., and Mexico City. Mayor Faulconer and Mayor González currently serve as co-chairs for the U.S.-Mexico Border Mayors Association and reaffirmed the mayors’ commitment to binational collaboration in January by signing a new Memorandum of Understanding.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Faulconer has frequently communicated with Mexican officials including Tijuana Mayor Arturo González Cruz, State of Baja California Governor Jaime Bonilla and Mexican Ambassador Martha Barcena, among others to ensure the region is taking coordinated steps to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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