County COVID-19 cases cross 8,000; beach parking lots could reopen Tuesday

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego County health officials have reported 240 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily total since the pandemic began, while announcing further reopening procedures coastal cities could implement by as soon as Tuesday.

County officials announced Friday that as a result of case numbers continuing to trend in the right direction, cities throughout the county could open beach parking lots at their discretion. Members of the same household would now also be allowed to participate in active sports together, such as football, soccer or volleyball.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the Tuesday date was to allow jurisdictions to get through the weekend before the rule change and give cities time to change signage.

County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar joined Good Morning San Diego Saturday to discuss the reopening of San Diego County.

Gov. Gavin Newsom Friday released information Friday about the next stage of businesses. This includes gyms, indoor museums, hotels, card rooms, wineries, day camps, campgrounds, family entertainment centers — such as bowling alleys — zoos, bars, TV and film production and even professional sports without spectators.

The COVID-19 cases reported Friday, along with six deaths, come as a result of the largest single-day number of tests — 5,936 — that Fletcher said represent several days of accidentally withheld results. The data reported Friday raises the numbers to 8,180 cases and 294 deaths.

So even though the 240 cases are the most yet, they represent just 4% of the total number of tests, slightly above the county’s rolling 14-day average but not a significant jump in the numbers.

Of those testing positive, 17.1%, or 1,397, have been hospitalized and 4.9%, or 397, have been admitted to an intensive care unit. The deaths represent 3.6% of all those who have tested positive for the illness.

Although the region has not yet seen a spike in COVID-19 cases following both Memorial Day reopenings and demonstrations with thousands taking to the streets to protest against last week’s in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said the county is still well within the incubation period for the illness from those dates.

On Wednesday, Fletcher identified 13 “triggers” that could cause the county to take industry-specific actions, pause all reopening efforts or even dial back reopenings. These triggers are divided into three categories: epidemiology and public health, with four triggers each — and healthcare, with five.

“All of our triggers are still green and we have no areas of concern,” Wooten said Friday. “But we are urging testing for all protesters and for those who have cleaned up the day after protests.”

However, if the county records seven or more community-based outbreaks in seven days, sees the intensive care bed availability come close to 20% of the total or if personal protective equipment at half the county’s hospitals drops below a 15-day supply for three consecutive days, the county will take immediate action.

“Any one of these criteria could force us to take action,” Fletcher said earlier this week, adding that if the county triggers one of the guidelines in two of the three categories, it would also be forced to act.

“It’s complicated, but it gives us our best and clearest sense of where we are,” he said.

Categories: California News, Coronavirus, Good Morning San Diego, In Studio Guests, Local San Diego News