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San Diego's Illumina donates $1 million to front-line workers, local students

San Diego-based biotech company partners with school district and S.D. Foundation to support students, other essential needs during pandemic.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego biotechology company Illumina announced Tuesday it is donating $1 million to the region's front-line workers affected by COVID-19 and local K-12 students.

The donation is composed of $300,000 for front-line workers' "critical needs" such as personal protective equipment, and $700,000 to support distance learning, technology and STEAM education for San Diego-area students.

"This donation we're announcing today is going to change lives right here in San Diego," San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said during an afternoon news conference.

Illumina CFO Sam Samad said: "From individuals to communities, from companies to countries, we're finding ways to support each other during this challenging time in order to address this pandemic together. In fact, the amount of innovation and service to others is one of the brightest silver linings of this time."

The mayor said the funds would help students in their ongoing transition to distance learning while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those who lack regular access to computers and/or the internet.

San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten said the school district has provided more than 800,000 meals and distributed more than 50,000 Chromebooks in response to the pandemic.

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News 8 has joined forces with The San Diego Foundation to raise immediate, emergency funds for our most vulnerable neighbors in need. Here is how you can help.

We also have a Frequently Asked Questions page we will continue updating with the latest information and reports.

Click here to watch "Facts Not Fear," a News 8 Special on coronavirus from March 26, 2020.


According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, as with any other respiratory illness:

Know how it spreads: 

There is no vaccine

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus

It is thought to spread mainly from person-person between people in close contact

And believed to be spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes

Protect yourself

Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds

If soap and water aren't available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

Avoid close contact with people who are sick

Put distance between yourselves and others

Protect others

Stay home when you are sick

Wear a facemask if you are sick

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash

If you don't have tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow

Immediately wash your hands after coughing and sneezing

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

You can find information on disinfecting and cleaning on the CDC's How to Protect Yourself page.

The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance on the use of cloth face coverings to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

The County of San Diego has made face coverings mandatory for those working with the public including grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and similar businesses.

While officials say these face coverings are not a substitute for practices like social distancing and handwashing, there is evidence to suggest that the use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission. Officials do not recommend the public use N-95 or surgical masks which are needed by health care workers and first responders.

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