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San Diego County meets 4 of 5 criteria for easing, lifting restrictions of health order

The county has met four of the five federal criteria – symptoms, cases and hospitals –and has made progress in the remaining testing criteria.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego County is using five federal criteria and state recommendations to determine when and how to ease or lift some of the restrictions in the local health officer order.

The county has met four of the five federal criteria – symptoms, cases and hospitals –and has made progress in the remaining testing criteria, according to officials.

Four Criteria Met

  • San Diego County has experienced a 14-day downward trajectory in the number of people with influenza-like illness (ILI) at local emergency departments. From March 16 to April 15, the percent of emergency department visits for ILI dropped from 10% to 3%.
  • San Diego County must register a downward trajectory of COVID-like syndromic cases reported within a 14-day period. This trend has varied but has been declining in recent days.
  • The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in comparison to the number of tests administered over a 14-day period is in a downward trajectory. Since April 6, San Diego County has experienced a decreasing percentage in positive COVID-19 tests among San Diegans.
  • The local health care system has been able to handle the number of patients needing hospitalization for COVID-19 and other illnesses and diseases. Currently, hospital capacity remains stable.
Credit: County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency

Note: Data preliminary and may change.

“We have met four of the federal criteria and will continue monitoring to make sure the trends continue,” San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H. said.

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Progress Made in Testing

In order to meet the fifth federal criteria, there also needs to be a robust testing program in place for at-risk health care workers, including emerging antibody testing.

San Diego County and local hospitals have extended their testing capacity and can perform 3,400 tests daily.

While four criteria have been met and significant progress has been made in the remaining fifth metric, San Diego County will await guidance from the state before fully lifting the local stay-at-home order, which the county announced Wednesday would be extended indefinitely.

More People Being Tested

Now that regional testing capacity has been expanded to about 3,400 tests per day and includes rapid testing, more people can be tested at local hospitals and County testing sites.

On Wednesday, the county released a revised testing process to be able to test more people for COVID-19 and announced that testing will be available in Southeastern San Diego on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Euclid Health Center, 252 Euclid Ave. A doctor’s referral and appointment through 2-1-1 are necessary.

If a person has symptoms or belongs to a specific group, COVID-19 testing is recommended.

If you have a cough or shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, call your medical provider to get tested. If you are experiencing two of the following symptoms – fever,  chills, muscle pain, headache, repeating shaking with chills, or new loss of taste or smell – it is also recommended that you call your doctor to be tested.

If you don’t have a medical provider, you can call 2-1-1 and ask to speak with a public health nurse to get tested at a County drive-through site.

People with or without symptoms, who are part of the following groups should also be tested:

  • Healthcare workers
  • First responders
  • People exposed to confirmed COVID-19 case
  • People with underlying conditions
  • Congregate living facility staff and residents
  • Essential infrastructure occupations
  • Additional vulnerable groups
    • People with HIV/AIDS
    • People in rural areas
    • Native Americans
    • Older adults
    • People experiencing homelessness
    • Racial/ethnic groups

“These groups represent a large segment of the San Diego County population and we are confident that we will meet our testing goal,” Wooten said. 

COVID-19 Cases, Deaths Up

To date, 120 COVID-19 deaths – 66 men and 54 women – have been reported in San Diego County, including two additional fatalities announced today.

A man in his late 70s and a woman in her mid-80s died April 27. Both had existing medical conditions.

Also, another 118 COVID-19 cases were reported, bringing the region’s total to 3,432.

The County also updated the number of outbreaks at nursing homes and other congregate living facilities.

Currently, there are 43 active outbreaks, 29 of which are at congregate living facilities and 14 in community settings. There have been 700 cases and 63 deaths in congregate living facilities and 129 cases and four deaths in community settings.

More COVID-19 Information

The County’s COVID-19 webpage contains additional information on the disease, including a graph showing new positive cases and total cases reported by date. The data is also broken down by gender, race and ethnic/race group. An interactive dashboard with several COVID-19 indicators is being updated daily. For more information, visit coronavirus-sd.com.

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