Number of confirmed cases in San Diego County reaches 242

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego County health officials confirmed Tuesday the second death of a county resident from the coronavirus, a person in their late-70s.

The individual had “many” underlying health issues, county Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said.

Wooten also reported the first two infant cases on Tuesday. No further details on the cases were made available. A full report with all additional cases would be released later Tuesday, she said.

San Diego County leaders are giving an update on COVID-19.

San Diego County leaders are giving an update on COVID-19.

Posted by KUSI News on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

“We are seeing positive tests continue to rise,” San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.

“And due to increased testing, we should expect that to continue and even to accelerate. The reality is at this point we still don’t know how long we will continue on this trajectory.”

Wooten said she and other county health officials believed the crest of cases had not yet passed. On Tuesday, county data showed 242 cases, an increase of 12 from the day before — the fewest additional daily cases in nearly a week.

Wooten reminded people who are showing symptoms that unless they were extremely ill, to stay at home and avoid going to a hospital to help save beds for an influx of patients.

“81% of those who get COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms,” Wooten said.

Wooten said that if you were exhibiting symptoms, it was safest to self-quarantine if possible, and avoid leaving the home until three days after the last signs of a fever or cough, and at least a week after the initial onset of symptoms.

Also Tuesday:

— The city of San Diego moved 55 families, comprised of 153 people, from a shelter at Golden Hall to rooms in two motels. The Regional Task Force for the Homeless, Father Joe’s Villages and the city planned to move 106 women from two shelters into the expanded Golden Hall shelter. The additional space will allow more San Diegans to get off the street while maintaining social distancing. San Diego was outfitting portions of the convention center as a temporary shelter during the COVID-19 crisis.

— The San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office announced it was standing firm on its state-mandated date that the second installment of property taxes was due April 10. However, taxpayers who are directly impacted by the coronavirus and unable to pay on time can file a penalty cancellation request. All such requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis after April 10. This will require documentation of how the taxpayer was impacted by the virus that interfered with their ability to deliver the payment by April 10.

— The San Diego County Board of Supervisors passed an eviction moratorium, deferment of health permit fees and authorization of $10 million from the county’s reserve management fund to assist with the health crisis;

— It was announced that the COVID-19 Response Fund, begun last week with $1.3 million, has grown with more than 1,000 donations to $6 million. It provides food assistance and loss-of-wages help.

— San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said he was in discussions with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s staff to determine if retail gun shops were deemed “essential” businesses and allowed to remain open. Gore cited an increase in public concerns over security and law enforcement concerns that closing legal businesses would drive the demand for firearms to underground, illegal sales, as reasons he was hoping Newsom’s office would deem the businesses necessary. Gore encouraged firearm retailers to conduct business by appointment only to reduce in-person contact.

— The county was preparing for a potential future shortfall of masks for non-healthcare personnel. Rob Sills, San Diego County’s assistant medical services administrator, said the county was considering bandanas and woven masks should the county begin running out of supplies in 60 days.

— Wooten said the county had no plans to rescind any of the public health orders anytime soon. “It’s not time to start easing back into business as usual,” she said.

All city beaches from San Diego to Carlsbad remain closed as officials urge residents to practice social distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer ordered the closure of all city-owned beaches, parks and trails on Monday, and said violators could face fines and jail time. Citing a lack of physical distance among city residents in public spaces over the weekend, Faulconer said the step was not one the city took lightly.

“Things are changing by the day. We have to be flexible, but we have to be firm,” he said.

“This weekend we closed city-owned parking lots at beaches and parks. Now I am calling on the city to close all parks, beaches, boardwalks, bays and trails until further notice.”

Faulconer said people should still get outside for exercise, but stay in their neighborhoods and maintain physical distance of 6 feet from people who are not part of their household.

“The actions of a few can take the lives of many,” Faulconer said. “The time for education has ended. The time for enforcement is here.”

San Diego Police Department Chief David Nisleit said there are two orders that officers can enforce — Newsom’s stay-at-home order and a local ordinance pertaining to emergency closures.

Both could result in a misdemeanor citation and leave violators facing up to $1,000 in fines, up to six months “confinement” or both, Nisleit said.

Faulconer’s announcement came shortly after San Diego County health officials said if cities cannot maintain safe social distancing procedures at their parks and beaches, the county will close them to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“We encourage outdoor exercise as long as people maintain 6 feet of social distancing,” Wooten said Monday afternoon. “It looks like people are not able to do that.”

The county is amending its previous public health order to include the authority to close beaches and parks if municipalities are unable or unwilling to enforce the 6 feet of social distancing recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.

Of the 242 people in San Diego County with positive diagnoses, health officials said 226 are county residents and 16 are not. Men testing positive outnumbered women 157-85.

Of the 45 patients who have been hospitalized, 44 are county residents. Twenty-one of those hospitalized were in intensive care units, as was one non-county resident. Cases in patients between 20 and 49 formed the bulk of total cases, 163 overall.

The first coronavirus death of a San Diego resident was reported Sunday by San Diego County Health Department officials. The man, who was in his early 70s, died in Santa Clara County, Wooten said.

Wooten said he had recently returned from a trip to Hawaii, but no further information was released. That individual remains the only death from COVID-19 from San Diego County.

A San Diego Fire-Rescue Department firefighter has tested positive for the coronavirus, Faulconer announced Monday. And another 29 firefighters and three lifeguards are in quarantine awaiting test results, according to SDFD Chief Colin Stowell.

UC San Diego announced Monday that an unidentified student who has been living in campus housing has tested positive for the coronavirus.

“The student resident has self-isolated while receiving care,” UCSD officials said in a campus alert. “We are working closely with San Diego County Public Health officials and are following their guidance on notification to individuals with recent close contact.”

Navy officials announced Monday that four staffers at Naval Medical Center San Diego have tested positive for COVID-19 along with one sailor aboard a San Diego-based ship whose name was not released.

U.S. Pacific Fleet officials announced Sunday that seven sailors who were aboard San Diego-based ships have tested positive for COVID-19. Two sailors tested positive Friday and five more tested positive Saturday, according to a statement released Sunday from U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs office, which said the seven are isolated off ship and restricted in movement in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

“Personnel who were immediately identified as having close contact with these sailors have been notified, placed in a restriction of movement status at their residences off the ship and are being monitored,” the statement said.

The Navy didn’t say which ships the sailors who tested positive were on, but the ships involved are screening all personnel coming aboard and undergoing deep cleaning with bleach twice a day.

A sailor from Naval Base Coronado reported symptoms of the coronavirus to his supervisor last Tuesday, according to officials from the base. He tested positive on Friday and is now restricted to his residence, receiving medical care, and personnel who had close contact with him were notified and were self-quarantined at their homes.

Three Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar have also tested positive for the virus, leading to new health protections on that base.

Categories: Coronavirus, Health, Local San Diego News