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Coronavirus in San Diego and California: April 2 - 4, 2020

This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego and California from April 2 - 4, 2020.

SAN DIEGO — Editor’s note: This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego and California from April 2 - 4, 2020.  Click here for real-time updates for April 5, 2020 and on.  

Key facts in San Diego:

  • San Diego County declared a local health emergency on Feb 14, 2020.
  • There are a total of 1,209 confirmed cases in San Diego County and 18 confirmed deaths of local residents. 
  • View San Diego County cases in a map by zip code or city
  • All San Diego city-owned beaches, parks and trails are closed. Other cities including Encinitas, Carlsbad, Del Mar, and Solana Beach have implemented similar closures for various public areas.
  • San Diego County is following the California stay at home order.
  • Many San Diego schools have moved to distance learning. Check with your school district for updates.
  • Students can still receive meals while schools are closed.
  • The San Diego County Public Health Laboratory is now able to test for the novel coronavirus without sending to the CDC.
  • Text COSD COVID19 to 468-311 to get updates from San Diego County.
  • Click here for previous daily updates

Key facts in California:

  • California declared a state of emergency on March 4.
  • California governor issued a statewide stay at home order on March 19.
  • There are a total of 12,603 confirmed cases in California and there have been 286 deaths in the state from COVID-19.
  • Approximately 126,700 tests had been conducted. At least 113,687 results have been received and another 13,000 are pending as of April 4.
  • 2,300 Californians have been hospitalized, and 1,008 are in the ICU.
  • The state has set up a hotline to answer questions and find ways to support the senior citizens in California. The phone number is 833-544-2374.

April 4

4:00 p.m.

2:45 p.m.

On Saturday, 97 new COVID-19 cases were reported in San Diego County - bringing the total of cases in the region to 1,209.

A man in his early 70s has died of COVID-19, bringing the San Diego County death total from the pandemic to 18.

The largest number of cases by age range, 251, were in the 30-39 age group, according to information released by the county late Saturday. The second-highest number of cases, 212, were in the 40-49 age group.

There were 570 women who tested positive for the disease and 630 men, the county reported. Some 228 people have been hospitalized, with 89 in intensive care.

San Diego County has kicked off a social media campaign to encourage San Diegans to stay home. To take the pledge and share on your social media visit: https://www.research.net/r/StayHomeSD

Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer, also said during Saturday's briefing that there were three new outbreaks, bringing the total number of outbreaks in the county to 16.

Meanwhile, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan vowed to go after "greedy people" who are taking advantage of the pandemic by engaging in charity scams, fake cures and price gouging.

She warned the public to never email back any organization that claims to be a charity. Instead, people should go to the charity's website and engage with that charity online.

Stephan said the IRS, or any government entity, will never call you for personal private information.

The district attorney's office has received 240 tips about businesses or people who are price gouging, she said.

"We will not tolerate taking advantage of the public through price gouging," Stephan said. A total of 24 businesses agreed to stop overcharging for items such as masks, milk, water, eggs and toilet paper.

Stephan also reminded people that being at home is not safe for everyone and said domestic violence is on the rise.

"Children can be caught in the crossfire," the district attorney said. She urged San Diegans to go to the danewscenter.com website for resources on domestic violence.

Supervisor Greg Cox also announced that the county is working with a city in China that will supply San Diego hospitals with 20,000 new surgical masks over the next few days.

"And remember," Cox said, "when you leave your place, cover your face."

1:30 p.m.

California has cut its COVID-19 testing backlog by more than two-thirds. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Saturday the state has 13,000 pending tests as of Friday, down from more than 59,000 pending tests a day earlier. 

Still, California has tested just 126,000 of the state's nearly 40 million residents. Newsom says he has a responsibility as governor to do better. 

UC San Diego and UC Davis are partnering with the state of California to help increase the number of coronavirus tests, Gov. Newsom announced.

The governor said during his daily televised briefing that officials have created a task force made up of private and public leaders with the goal to increase coronavirus testing samples. He promised at least a five-fold increase in daily tests over the next few weeks.

"It's a new day and we've turned the page" to increase testing, Newsom said.

The governor admitted that the state has been too slow in this area.

"On the issue of testing, I own that," Newsom said. "And you deserve more and better.

"We specifically have a new partnership with UC Davis and UC San Diego to create a minimum of five to seven hubs where we will work with different vendors to significantly increase our testing capacity and our collaborative spirit within those hubs," Newsom said.

The hubs will be spread throughout the state, Newsom said.

The governor also announced two new testing procedures that should greatly increase the number of samples tested.

Stanford medicine has produced a serum test, Newsom said, which is the first home-grown serum test in California. He said Stanford University was close to getting approval for an antibody test, which would determine who is immune to the virus.  

He also announced a point-of-care test where hospitals can get results of a coronavirus positive test back in five minutes and a negative test result in 13 minutes.

Abbott Laboratories, which developed the point-of-care test, has committed to 75 testing sites in California, working with 13 hospital systems, Newsom said.

10:45 a.m.

Citations were issued to 22 people found near the beach in Encinitas for violating the state's stay at home order, authorities announced this morning.
Read the full story here

San Diego's stop on the LPGA Tour has been rescheduled for Sept. 24-27, but should the coronavirus outbreak continue, further schedule adjustments will be shared when appropriate, the LPGA Tour announced. The Kia Classic was scheduled for March 26-29 at the Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, but was postponed March 12 because of the coronavirus outbreak. The LPGA announced the tournament's rescheduling Friday, along with the postponements of the next five events on the LPGA Tour calendar, with four of those five tournaments rescheduled for later this year. 

April 3

9:00 p.m.

The San Diego Unified School District announced Friday it has set a "soft launch" for distance learning, which will begin Monday and run through April 24.
Read the full story for details

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Friday was joined by representatives from UCSD Health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness San Diego to provide resources and information for residents to protect their mental and physical health while following stay-at- home public health directives.
Read the full story for details and resources.

Social distance orders are in full effect to stop the spread of the coronavirus. San Diego law enforcement said those who do not comply with public safety orders will receive a citation.
Read the full story here

7:10 p.m.

Richard Bailey, the mayor of Coronado, announced that Coronado would close its beaches.

7 p.m.

The presiding judge of the San Diego Superior Court signed orders this week authorizing the sheriff's department to release county jail inmates with under 60 days remaining on their sentences to stem the spread of COVID-19.

6:30 p.m.

On Friday around noon, 23 immigrants detained in San Diego’s Otay Mesa Detention Center announced they were beginning a hunger strike to demand they be released due to the "high risk of COVID-19 infection." 

"They wish to fight their immigration cases from locations that are conducive to social distancing and good hygiene," said Mindy Pressman from the group Otay Mesa Detention Resistance. 

3:40 p.m.

The City of Oceanside announced that beaches will be closed starting at midnight.  

"Oceanside Beaches are ordered closed to the public for all activities, including water activities such as surfing," the city announced. "The Strand will also be closed for walking/driving, except to residents living there in order to access their property."

You can read more here.

3:35 p.m.

Four employees of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and an inmate in a local jail have tested positive for COVID-19, the agency announced Friday afternoon.

The staffers -- it was not immediately clear whether they are deputies, other types of workers or both -- were "doing fine" under the supervision of the sheriff's Medical Liaison Unit, according to the agency.

"This is all the information we will release about these employees out of respect for their privacy and in keeping with privacy laws," sheriff's said in a prepared statement.

The infected inmate, meanwhile, was moved into an isolation cell upon being diagnosed late Thursday afternoon, sheriff's officials reported. The department did not immediately disclose the condition of the man, who was taken into custody Monday on suspicion of domestic violence, or which jail he was being housed in.

3:20 p.m.

San Diego County officials gave an update on COVID-19. You can watch it here. Chairman Greg Cox, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, Dr. Wilma Wooten, and Jeff Rossman, president of the California Restaurant Association, spoke.

According to Fletcher, there are now 1,112 cases total in San Diego County. That’s a 146 case increase from Thursday. 15,831 people have been tested so far countywide.

Wooten announced San Diego County’s 17th death, a man in his 70’s. 

544 ventilators are available as of Friday, according to data from the county’s 23 hospitals.

Rossman said that restaurants take this virus seriously.

“Safety and sanitation is on my mind every day,” said Rossman. “We’ve stepped up our protocol even more.”

Rossman said he washes his hands three times as often and that they’ve changed the strength of their hand sanitizer. 

“We must fully commit to flattening the curve,” said Fletcher. 

Fletcher said essential businesses must post their social distancing and sanitation plans on their front doors by Tuesday. 

“Face coverings are distant and different from medical masks,” said Fletcher. 

12:50 p.m.

Defense attorneys in San Diego are pushing to have their clients and other federal detainees released from custody, saying they're at risk of contracting COVID-19 and that the local U.S. Attorney's Office has resisted requests to release inmates, an assertion its head prosecutor calls misleading and dismissive of its efforts to address the virus.

Kathryn Nester, executive director of Federal Defenders of San Diego, wrote in a letter sent to Sen. Kamala Harris this week that the majority of her office's clients are nonviolent offenders, such as those charged with offenses related to their immigration status.

Though she credited prosecutors with reducing the number of prosecutions and offering "favorable resolutions in many cases," Nester says local prosecutors have also pushed back on reducing or posting bond in many cases.

12:45 p.m.

Governor Newsom addressed the media on Friday updating them on the state's plan to house the homeless during the pandemic. Newsom said the state has secured nearly 7,000 hotel rooms and they are looking to secure another 8,000. 

The governor said the state would be reimbursed 75% of the cost from FEMA, he also went on to say that the World Central Kitchen will provide three meals a day to the homeless. 

If any Californian is looking to volunteer during the crisis, click here.

12:30 p.m.

Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Padilla announced Friday he has recovered from COVID-19 and will return home soon to finish recuperation.

On March 14, Padilla, also the California Coastal Commission chairman, became the first local elected official to contract the illness. Five days later, he was admitted to UC San Diego Thornton Hospital's intensive care unit.

He released a statement Friday expressing gratitude.

"Friends -- I'm off the ventilator, out of the ICU, and will be home soon. After an intense 3-week battle with coronavirus, the relief and gratitude I'm feeling right now are overwhelming," he said. "I'm so grateful to the doctors, nurses and staff at UCSD Medical Center who saved my life, and who are working tirelessly every day to save more. America's healthcare professionals are true heroes showing undaunted courage on the frontlines of this fight."

"Take it from me: the threat of coronavirus is as serious as it is real. We all need to stay home, and follow County Public Health guidelines to stop the spread and save lives that are at risk. Thank you all for your support during this ordeal -- it made a real difference. I'm looking forward to getting back home and back to work very soon! Together, we will get through this." 

See full report here.

12 p.m.

Chula Vista leaders held a media conference Friday to talk about ways the city is trying to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas, Police Chief Roxana Kennedy, Fire Chief Jim Geering and City Attorney Glen Googins were all in attendance to address measures the city is taking to keep the community safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

The city leaders talked about stay-at-home directives, what facilities and areas are closed off, what essential businesses can remain open, and how these changes are being enforced.

See full report here.

6 a.m.

On Friday, the San Diego Food Bank and the Del Mar Fairgrounds will host a large-scale “drive-thru” food distribution for low-income families and those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. In order to follow social distancing guidelines, the food distribution will be “touchless.” Attendees will not leave their cars. Food will be placed directly in the truck.

The distribution is first come, first served. The Food Bank will have enough food supplies to serve 1,000 vehicles starting at 10 a.m.

For health and safety reasons, no one will be allowed to “walk up” or receive food on foot. Individuals and families who are not able to arrive by car should call the Food Bank at 1-866-350-FOOD (3663) or CLICK HERE for a food distribution site near their home.

WHEN: Friday, April 3, 2020 from 10 a.m. until all of the food is gone

WHERE: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014

See full report here.

April 2

4:30 p.m.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined Joe Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom, Peter Callstrom, president and CEO of the San Diego Workforce Partnership, and Geoff Longenecker, President of San Diego Distillers Guild and owner of Seven Caves Spirits, for a media conference at 4:30 p.m. You can watch it all here.

“Today I am calling on our San Diego manufacturing industries,” said Faulconer.

Faulconer applauded San Diegans that have “stepped up.”

“April is a critical month. This will be the month,” said Faulconer.

Certain items are in high demand, such as hospital masks and hand sanitizer. Faulconer is asking local companies to use their unique resources to help during this crisis.

“We have the capability right here in San Diego to make a meaningful difference.,” said Faulconer. 

Biocom is calling on all life science companies to donate lab and diagonostic equipment, as well as PPE, to hospitals. Panetta is encouraging different companies to team up. 

“Here in San Diego, we know how to foster collaboration,” said Panetta. 

Callstrom said mass layoffs are a cause for concern. Callstrom hopes incoming funding will come so his company can help employers and employees during this difficult time.

“We just really feel for the community,” said Callstrom. 

Longenecker said distilleries have been making WHO-approved hand sanitizer for the past two weeks, a task they didn’t expect to do before this pandemic.

“The root of alcohol is ethanol,” said Longenecker. 

Longenecker said the distilleries in town are distributing the hand sanitizer to organizations like fire departments and police departments. 

Faulconer added that there are no new cases of COVID-19 to report in public safety departments. 

"We are one city,” said Faulconer. 

3:30 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine L. Chao, announced $314 million to help public transportation systems in San Diego.

3:00 p.m.

The captain of a San Diego-based nuclear aircraft carrier was relieved of duty today by the U.S. Navy in the wake of his request in a highly-publicized letter for more resources and "decisive action" from Navy leadership as the ship's crew battles a coronavirus outbreak while docked in Guam.

 Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly and Adm. Michael M. Gilday said during a Pentagon news conference that the Navy "lost confidence" in Capt. Brett Crozier's leadership following his letter to Navy brass asking to immediately offload the majority of the ship's crew once COVID-19 cases began cropping up onboard.

See full report here.

2:45 p.m.

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and other county officials gave their daily briefing and announced new public health orders and a shift in law enforcement response in regards to public health orders. 

The county is strongly recommending the public wear face coverings (not masks) when going out for essential tasks. The county is also making it MANDATORY for employees of businesses dealing with the public to wear facial coverings - this includes grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and similar businesses. The cloth face covering should follow the guidance from the California Department of Public Health released April 1, according to San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten.

Supervisor Fletcher stressed that cloth face coverings should be used IN ADDITION to practices like social distancing and handwashing. He advised that anyone using a face covering should wash their hands before and after putting it on. 

Dr. Wooten expanded on the new public health orders in the county saying that businesses that deal with the public must prepare and post, by no later than midnight on Tuesday, April 7, a social distancing and sanitation protocol. The county will provide a fill-in-the-blank document to assist businesses in this order. 

The final public health order amendment announced calls for the closing of all parking lots for parks and recreation facilities for all of San Diego County - effective midnight Friday. 

"Each jurisdiction can decide on their own to open or close their parks and recreational facilities, however, if they are open they must ensure and be able to ensure physical distancing is met," said Fletcher. "If they cannot ensure that then they shall close." 

Fletcher also announced that the county is now at 966 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Dr. Eric McDonald, the county's medical director of epidemiology, announced the death of a 98-year-old woman, making the total deaths 16 in the county.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore also spoke at Thursday's briefing saying the local law enforcement will start issuing citations to those not in compliance with public health orders issued by the state and county. These can carry up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. He noted that the orders are not recommendations and asking that the public take them seriously.

"The days of voluntary compliance are over," said Gore. "The message is going to go out to all of public safety here in the county that we will start issuing citations for violation of the public order and the governor's executive order." 

Gore said most people have been compliant and he hopes the citations will not be necessary. 

1:40 p.m.

Anaheim Ducks and San Diego Gulls owners Henry and Susan Samueli Thursday said all 2,100 part-time staff members will be paid for current or future rescheduled, postponed or canceled events through June 30. This includes all programs and events at Honda Center as well as each of the nine ice and inline sports facilities, the San Diego Gulls, and JT Schmid’s Restaurant and Brewery.

12:20 p.m.

According to Governor Newsom, a whopping 70,000 Californians have stepped up and applied to the California Health Corps in just a few days. 

12 p.m.

A San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company reported promising results Thursday from a clinical trial of COVID-19 treatment conducted in collaboration with Renmin Hospital in Wuhan, China.

Ansun Biopharma said preliminary data showed that DAS181, a drug with antiviral properties, may have contributed to the reduction and elimination of COVID-19 symptoms in four patients suffering from severe bilateral viral pneumonia and hypoxemia. The patients were given a 10-day treatment regimen of nebulized DAS181, according to Ansun.

"These results are highly encouraging, as they demonstrate that DAS181 may potentially help reduce or eliminate some of the most significant symptoms associated with COVID-19," said Dr. Zuojiong Gong and De. Ke Hu, the study's principal investigators at Renmin Hospital.

9:30 a.m.

Feeding San Diego in partnership with the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council, will host a mass “drive through” food distribution for San Diego families, and seniors in need at SDCCU Stadium on Saturday, April 4, from 9 a.m. until all of the food is gone. Teachers, construction workers, nurses, grocery workers and more are mobilizing donations, volunteering and providing logistical support to ensure San Diegans are able to access food during the crisis.
The food distribution will target vulnerable families and seniors affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Food will be placed directly in the trunk, keeping a six foot separation at all times.   

NOTE: For health and safety reasons, no one will be allowed to “walk up” or receive food on foot. Individuals and families who are not able to arrive by car should visit: https://feedingsandiego.org/need-help/food-distributions/for a community food distribution site near their home.  

9 a.m.

State Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) will host a Facebook Live Q&A at 8 p.m. PST, April 2, featuring legal experts discussing California's unemployment program. Gloria says more than a million unemployment claims have been filed in the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The event can be found here. Questions can be submitted in advance by emailing assemblymember.gloria@assembly.ca.gov and including "EDD'' in the subject line.

7 a.m.

The U.S. Postal Service has learned that an employee at the San Diego Rancho Bernardo Annex Post Office tested positive for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

"We are in process of reaching out to the local public health office and will follow the guidance they provide. We believe the risk is low for employees who work at the Rancho Bernardo Annex Post Office, but we will keep our employees apprised as new information and guidance becomes available. As you may know, under the Rehabilitation Act and the Privacy Act, specific employee medical information must be kept confidential and may only be shared in very limited circumstances. Therefore, the Postal Service cannot share the name of the employee who tested positive for COVID-19 or further specifics of his or her medical condition. The safety and well-being of our employees is our highest priority. To ensure the health of our employees, we are continuing to follow recommended guidance and strategies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, both the CDC and the World Health Organization as well as the U.S. Surgeon General have indicated that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can spread through the mail and packages. Out of an abundance of caution, we have enhanced and supplemented current cleaning protocols using disinfectants across the facility."

Editor's note: USPS officials originally reported the person worked at the Rancho Bernardo Post Office and later updated to say it was the Rancho Bernardo Annex. 

5:30 a.m.

For the next eight weeks, middle and high school teachers and students can gain access to 22 free, self-paced online courses through the San Diego Zoo covering a variety of taxonomic groups and individual animal species.

Offered by the San Diego Zoo Global Academy, the interactive courses are designed to be completed by students in as little as one to two hours. They include video, images and quizzes to teach students about mammals, birds, reptiles, monotremes and more.

Beginning April 1, new animal species online learning modules will be made available each week -- and will remain online through May 24. For more information, click here.

5 a.m.

To help support those who are working around the clock to keep us safe, McDonald’s Southern California franchisees will offer free breakfast to first responders beginning April 2 at the company’s 700+ locally owned and operated restaurants in Southern California. All healthcare workers, police officers and firefighters with a valid ID or uniform are eligible to receive a free small coffee and Egg McMuffin sandwich during breakfast hours at participating McDonald’s restaurants in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and Imperial counties.

“We’ve been inspired by the commitment of our first responders working tirelessly to keep our communities safe,” said Jamie Straza, McDonald's franchisee and board member of the McDonald's owner operators group. “On behalf of our franchisees and employees, San Diego County McDonald’s restaurants stand ready and proud to serve our local heroes.”


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View all News 8 coverage of coronavirus / COVID-19 

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.  

Click here to view an interactive map of the current San Diego County cases of coronavirus/COVID-19 as they break down by zip code and city.


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. While they 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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