San Diego County Health Officials aren’t asking people who get tested for COVID-19 if they attended the protests
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego County reported 124 new COVID-19 cases and four additional deaths from the illness Wednesday, as public health officials announced two additional testing sites.
The new data increased the region’s totals to 9,854 cases and 327 deaths. The cases reported Wednesday were just 2% of the new daily high 6,782 tests. New testing sites at the Spring Valley Library on Kempton Road and the Mira Mesa Senior Center in Mira Mesa Boulevard join nearly a dozen other sites where county residents can get tested for free.
Despite the low numbers of positive tests, officials are urging residents to take the pandemic and facial coverings seriously, particularly as a new wave of businesses — personal care businesses like skincare and waxing salons, tattoo parlors, massage therapists and nail salons — will be allowed to reopen Friday.
“We’ve seen and heard comments from people who are tired of wearing facial coverings,” County Supervisor Greg Cox said. “Covering your face is one of the easiest things we can do right now.”
County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher echoed Cox’s sentiments, citing “spikes and surges” in other states as well as hospitalization rates jumping in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
“It’s a powerful reminder to us that the danger is still here,” he said. “Masks don’t take any freedom away from you, masks give you the freedom to get back out there doing things. They are a temporary, minor inconvenience.”
Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, reported several new community outbreaks — defined as at least three cases traced to one location — and the last seven days have seen six such outbreaks, one shy of “triggering” a setback in the county’s reopening plans.
Of the six outbreaks in the past week, two are tied to restaurants, three in other businesses and one to a residence. But, Dr. Wilma Wooten said they are not asking people if they have attended any of the protests that have attracted thousands of people to gather close together in large groups.
We asked Wooten about tracing cases back to the protest at Wednesday’s press conference, this is when she explained they are not asking people coming in for tests if they have attended any of the protests.
KUSI asked, “how many people who have attended the protests have now been tested?” Following up with, “is everyone who gets tested asked if they have been to the protests?”
County Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten answered saying, “I don’t know the answer to that.” Continuing, “and I don’t think that that is a standard question. We have Dr. McDonald here, he’s shaking his head, no that is not a standard question.”
Wooten explained the County simply recommends protesters get tested. But when people do volunteer to get tested, they are not asked if they have attended a protest or not.
Wooten’s full answer is below:
Updated county health orders took effect Tuesday allowing public, charter and private schools — but not colleges and universities — to hold on- campus classes as long as they comply with measures outlined by the California Department of Public Health. Those measures include face coverings required for teachers at all times and strongly recommended for students, daily temperature checks for students and staff, increased emphasis on hand washing and sanitizing, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting in the classrooms and setting up classrooms to allow for increased physical distance between students.
Each school must complete and post a document detailing the actions the school is taking to comply with the industry guidance issued by the state.
Outdoor religious services were allowed starting Monday without restrictions on the number of worshippers, so long as social distancing is maintained.
These actions follow a weekend in which bars reopened and hundreds of people — many not wearing facial coverings — were captured on social media, seen milling around outside bars in the Gaslamp District.
Wednesday’s full press briefing is below: