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Coronavirus in San Diego and California: Updates and news from March 22 - March 26 midday

This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego, CA from March 22-26 midday, 2020.

SAN DIEGO — Editor’s note: This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego and California from March 22-26 (midday), 2020.  Click here for real-time updates for March 22, 2020 and future.  

Key facts in San Diego:

  • San Diego County declared a local health emergency on Feb 14, 2020.
  • There are a total of 297 confirmed cases in San Diego County and two confirmed deaths of local residents. 
  • Mayor Kevin Faulconer on March 23 ordered the closure of all San Diego city-owned beaches, parks and trails, citing a lack of physical distance among city residents. Other cities including Encinitas, Carlsbad, Del Mar, and Solana Beach have implemented similar closures for various public areas.
  • San Diego County has banned gatherings of 10 people or more.
  • San Diego County is following the California stay at home order.
  • Many private and public K-12 schools have been closed through March.
  • 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 3,006 confirmed cases in California and there have been 65 deaths in the state from COVID-19.
  • Gov. Newsom projects that 25.5 million Californians will be infected with the virus.

March 26

1:15 p.m.

The latest numbers released by the California Department of Health show a surge in cases of over 450 since Wednesday with 12 additional deaths. The cases break down as follows: 

3,006 – Positive cases

65 – Deaths (including one non-California resident)

  • 886 – Community-acquired cases
  • 2,120 – Cases acquired through person-to-person transmission, travel (including cruise ship passengers), repatriation, or under investigation. This includes 42 health care workers.

Ages of all confirmed positive cases:

  • Age 0-17: 37 cases
  • Age 18-49: 1,505 cases
  • Age 50-64: 764 cases
  • Age 65+: 678 cases
  • Unknown: 22 cases

Gender of all confirmed positive cases:

  • Female: 1,309 cases
  •  Male: 1,665 cases
  • Unknown: 32 cases

12 p.m.

The San Diego City Attorney's Office Thursday urged families with guns in the home to practice proper firearm safety while self- quarantining to keep the weapons out of the hands of children.

With stay-at-home orders issued at the state and local levels, and schools closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, City Attorney Mara Elliott's office said gun safety is paramount.

"When you have guns and children in the home and do not practice safe storage, you are increasing the risk that someone will be accidentally shot," Elliott said. "Children are very resourceful when it comes to locating things their parents thought they'd never find. When they find a gun, it often leads to tragedy."

11:50 p.m.

To commemorate what should have been Opening Day for Major League Baseball, the San Diego Padres have teamed up with Phil’s BBQ to provide lunch for many healthcare workers in the county. Some of them include UCSD Healthcare and San Diego Blood Bank employees and volunteers. All of these people are on the front lines fighting the coronavirus. In addition, the Padres will be playing “God Bless America” in front of an empty Petco Park as a symbol of solidarity with our resilient country and all of its citizens in this time of crisis.

11 a.m.

San Diego Zoo Global announced the launch of an education program Thursday to keep parents, teachers and zoo fans connected to their favorite animals through free online content, entertainment and educational tools.

The #WereHereTogether program allows visitors to the site to check in on animals and receive daily updates from livestreaming wildlife cameras as coronavirus prevents in-person visits.

6 a.m.

Rancho Santa Fe resident John Cox, who challenged then Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in the 2018 governor's race, has tested positive for COVID-19. The 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate made the announcement on social media Wednesday.

"Last week after feeling ill with mild flu-like symptoms, and out of the abundance of caution because my wife is immuno-supressed due to a chronic condition, my physician tested me for COVID-19," Cox said. "I tested positive and we have been following doctors orders at home and the quarantine protocols regarding this disease."

Cox, a 64-year-old Illinois transplant, said his symptoms were relatively mild and he was slowly feeling better.

5 a.m.

News 8's Chief Photojournalist Kenny McGregor captured an empty San Diego as residents are asked to stay home in order to slow the rate of spread of the coronavirus.

March 25

8:25 p.m.

The beloved Hotel del Coronado is temporarily suspending all hotel operations as of Thursday, News 8 confirmed with the hotel after it was reported by the Coronado Times. The paper posted a letter to its website from the general manager of the hotel Harold Rapoza Jr. saying the impact of novel coronavirus/COVID-19 is causing them to halt operations "for the first time in its 132-year history." 

"This difficult decision is reflective of the current business environment and not a result of illness or confirmed cases at the hotel. Our hotel security team will be on-site 24/7 to ensure this National Historic Landmark remains protected for our future guests," the letter read in part.

Read our full report here.

8 p.m.

Grocery store workers in San Diego are asking for patience from their customers as they work to stock shelves and keep up with demand.

“When we’re loading stuff they’re over our shoulders, they’re just [reaching over us]. There’s no six feet from us anywhere,” said Tamara Long, who has worked at a store in Rancho Bernardo for 34 years.

Many employees have spent decades with their respective companies. Some compared the experience to the aftermath of an earthquake or wildfire, but the pandemic has yet to come to an end and employees risk getting sick and infecting their families.

Read Brandon Lewis's full report here.

7:30 p.m.

The County of San Diego released COVID-19 projections Wednesday that showed local hospital beds will be filled up by either April or May, unless social distancing is taken seriously. Read the full report here.

7:00 p.m.

The county tax collector's offices are closed to the public right now because of the stay-at-home order, but don't let that fool you. Property taxes are still due April 10. Both federal and state income tax deadlines have been postponed until July 15, but Dan McAllister, San Diego County’s Treasurer-Tax Collector, said he doesn’t have the power to postpone property taxes. He said residents can fill out a form asking for a penalty cancellation request.

6:30 p.m.

The daughter of Chula Vista City Councilman who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and was placed on a respirator at UCSD Thornton Hospital 's intensive care unit on Friday provided an update on his condition. Ashleigh Padilla, daughter of Steve Padilla issued the following statement:

“Steve Padilla remains on a ventilator in the ICU, but he is now in stable condition and his doctors are reporting slow, steady progress in overcoming COVID-19.
“My dad is a fighter, and he’s fighting through this -- with the help of amazing doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who are caring for him. We’re hopeful that he’s reached a turning point and will be home soon.
“I’ll keep updating the community on Steve’s progress when I have news to share, and thank everyone for the outpouring of support and respecting our privacy as my dad heals.
“I know he cannot wait to get back to serving the people and helping our entire community get through these tough times.” 

5:45 p.m.

The number of coronavirus cases in San Diego County has increased to 297, up 55 from Tuesday. That ties the highest day-over-day increase in cases yet. Of those positive-testing individuals, 59 have been hospitalized, 29 critically. There have been two deaths from coronavirus in San Diego County. 

Age Groups   

  • 0-9 years - 2
  • 10-19 years - 3
  • 20-29 years - 65
  • 30-39 years - 77
  • 40-49 years - 54
  • 50-59 years - 40
  • 60-69 years - 24
  • 70-79 years - 20
  • 80+ years - 12
  • Age Unknown - 0


  • Female - 112
  • Male - 185

Hospitalizations - 59

Intensive Care - 29

Deaths - 2 

5:30 p.m.

Rancho Coastal Humane Society received a big donation Wednesday - 20,000 pounds of dog food which will be distributed to different animal rescue groups across San Diego in an effort to make sure no dogs go hungry amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"What happens in a situation like this, people who normally come in and donate a bag of dog food or cat food, they're quarantined at home they're not bringing it in," said John Van Zante of Rancho Coastal.

The donation was sent from the Rescue Bank, a program of greatergood.org.

"This can make the difference between whether a rescue feeds their pets every day or every other day," Van Zante added.

See Kelly Hessedal's full report here.

4:35 p.m.

The public affairs director for the Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System confirmed that six of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and said to date five veterans in the system have also tested positive. 

Cindy Butler with the VA San Diego Healthcare System provided the following statement on the cases: 

"Six VA San Diego Healthcare System employees tested positive this week for COVID-19. In accordance with CDC guidelines and the employees’ status, these individuals are currently in home isolation, mitigating further risk of transmission to other patients and staff.

Due to privacy concerns, we cannot provide additional information.

To date, five Veterans have tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the San Diego VA Healthcare System.

VA is screening Veterans and staff who present with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath who meet the CDC criteria for evaluation of COVID-19 infection. Per CDC guidance and VA protocols, individuals known to be at risk for a COVID-19 infection are immediately isolated to prevent potential spread to others."

4:30 p.m.

San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer was joined by San Ciego City Council President Georgette Gómez to update the public on two actions taken by the council to deliver relief to San Diegans facing financial hardship related to COVID-19.

The city council earlier today approved an emergency ordinance to halt evictions for residential and commercial tenants through May 31, 2020. The council also approved a multimillion-dollar Small Business Relief Fund proposed by Mayor Faulconer to provide financial assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Click here for more on the council's actions. 

3:45 p.m.

Medi-Cal, CalWORKs, CalFresh and General Relief benefit payments for current San Diego customers will continue uninterrupted through April, May, and June and certain paperwork is deferred until further notice.

San Diego County officials began sending texts and calls Wednesday to San Diegans who receive the benefits to let them know about the change and confirm that benefits will continue through June.

2:30 p.m.

San Diego County elected and health officials held their daily briefing on COVID-19 in the county. 

San Diego Board of Supervisors member Nathan Fletcher spoke first showed a graphic illustrating the number of tests and positive cases in San Diego over time. 

Non-county residents will no longer be included in the county's daily reports starting Wednesday. Dr. Eric McDonald, the medical director of the epidemiology and immunization branch for San Diego County, said the individuals are still being monitored and cared for, but the change will help avoid confusion. 

Dr. McDonald also showed a graphic showing hospitalization of COVID-19 patients and the hospital bed capacity throughout the county. He explained how by preventing the spread of the virus it will give the county time to prepare for projected hospitalizations. McDonald said he believes hospitals in San Diego will be able to increase their capacity by 40% over time but they need the time to do so. 

"What you are doing today in your homes by eliminating all non-essential activities and by doing social distancing and the other recommendations that have been put forward, as well as the orders that have been put forward locally and at the state level, are going to have this effect and we need to keep with it," McDonald said. 

Dr. McDonald later reiterated that every person in the county has a responsibility to work towards flattening the curve

"Every individual in the county has the responsibility, and frankly the need, to look at each of their activities and determine what is essential and pare down to those specific activities for this critical period of time and that is what is going to buy us the time we need, flatten the curve and allow us to handle what will be a large number of illnesses and I'm afraid deaths that are coming in the days ahead," he said. 

Operations for federal quarantines at MCAS Miramar are winding down, according to McDonald. He said only a small number of people will remain quarantined there after Wednesday and those are people who have tested positive. 

San Diego Board of Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox finished the briefing by showing a graphic telling healthy San Diegans what they can do to help the community during the coronavirus crisis. 

1:20 p.m.

Governor Newsom made a "major announcement" regarding California families during this COVID-19 outbreak at 12:45 p.m. You can watch the entire press conference here.

Newsom announced that big banks like Wells Fargo, Citi, JPMorgan, and US Bank have agreed to a 90-day grace period for mortgage payments. Newsom said Bank of America has agreed to a 30-day suspension.  

California will get $10 billion in aid from the stimulus bill. When you break that money down, $5.5 billion will go to the state, then $4.5 billion will go to cities and counties. More than 1 million Californians have filed for unemployment since March 13, according to Newsom.

"California is working to meet this moment," said Newsom. "It is decisions, not conditions, that determine our future."

Newsom noted a 17% increase in positive cases from Tuesday, adding that 53 people have now died of COVID-19 in California as of Wednesday morning.

“These stay at home orders are real and they are a bipartisan order," said Newsom. "Halfway is no way."

12:15 p.m.

Father Joe's Villages has announced they are testing members of the homeless population who are moving to different shelters for COVID-19. The point of the moves, city officials said this week, is to create more space between those in the shelters to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. For the full story, click here

10:30 a.m.

The San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund at The San Diego Foundation has received $6.2 million in donations, thanks to new contributions from individuals and organizations, including $250,000 from the David C. Copley Foundation and $100,000 from The California Wellness Foundation.

9:30 a.m.

A civilian employee working at the Naval Air Station North Island Child Development Center (CDC) tested positive on March 22 for Coronavirus (COVID-19). Navy leadership was notified on March 23. The individual is currently at home taking proper precautions consistent with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

8:30 a.m.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s (AFA), Toll-free Helpline remains open to help families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia illnesses during the Coronavirus pandemic. Toll-Free Helpline (866-232-8484) is open seven days a week and staffed entirely by licensed social workers who are trained in dementia care.

7:20 a.m.

The San Diego Superior Court has dismissed all juror service through May 22. The court said that all summoned jurors' service is now considered complete. For those who have been summoned after May 22, you are asked to keep an eye on the San Diego Superior Court website.

5 a.m.

Three sailors have tested positive for COVID-19 on the USS Roosevelt, according to acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly.

March 24

9:45 p.m.

Sharp Reese-Stealy on Tuesday night announced the temporary closures of several clinics in order to conserve and consolidate supplies, and allocate cleaning resources to other sites. 

The locations temporary being closed are: SRS Point Loma and SRS La Mesa West. 

Patient care the locations will continue through video and phone visits, or at other Sharp Reese-Stealy clinics. 

The locations aim to reopen once the coronavirus outbreak is over. 

7:20 p.m.

The San Diego Unified School District, the second-largest district in California, announced plans to try and salvage the rest of the school year while protecting staff, students and families from COVID-19 and keeping physical school sites closed. Out of an abundance of caution, and in consultation with local public health, many San Diego County school districts decided to close starting earlier this month in order to curb the potential transmission of the novel coronavirus.

Click here for more on the transition to online learning for SDUSD. 

7:00 p.m.

The Port of San Diego announced Tuesday it is immediately closing public parks around San Diego Bay, including beaches, parking lots, piers, and boat launches, in an attempt to prevent gatherings and maintain guidelines for social distancing.

Full story can be read here

6:20 p.m.

With nearly 40 million people stuck at home because of the coronavirus, California's governor on Tuesday warned state agencies to prepare for less money from the government that will likely postpone many of the state's ambitious spending plans. Read the full story here.

To reduce the risks of COVID-19 in correctional settings, Governor Gavin Newsom onTuesday issued an executive order directing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Secretary to temporarily halt the intake and/or transfer of inmates and youth into the state’s 35 prisons and four youth correctional facilities. 

Those inmates and youth will remain in county custody for the next 30 days. This period can be extended if needed. 

This action builds on the state and local correctional and public safety leaders’ longstanding partnership, to protect public health and safety in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.  

6 p.m.

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.

5:30 p.m.

There are now 242 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in San Diego County, according to the latest update. The county has also reported the second death of a local resident related to the novel coronavirus. San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten described the person as an “individual in their late 70s.” The person had underlying conditions, according to Wooten. 

Credit: KFMB

The number of cases broken down by age: 

  • 0-9 years: 2 cases
  • 10-19 years: 3 cases
  • 20-29 years: 54 cases
  • 30-39 years: 66 cases
  • 40-49 years:43 cases
  • 50-59 years:33 cases
  • 60-69 years: 18 cases
  • 70-79 years: 16 cases
  • 80+ years: 7 cases

By gender: 

  • Females: 85
  • Males 157

Forty-five people are hospitalized in San Diego with COVID-19 with 21 in intensive care. The county has now suffered two deaths of local people. 

Details on cases by city of residence can be found here. And a summary of cases that require hospitalization can be found here.

4:30 p.m.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer hosted a media briefing to provide updates on the city's effort to expand the Golden Hall homeless shelter and other actions related to keeping the homeless population safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mayor was joined by Councilmember Chris Ward, Regional Task Force on the Homeless CEO Tamera Kohler and Deacon Jim Vargas from Father Joe’s Villages

Faulconer and Kohler spoke about moving homeless individuals into the convention center and Golden Hall and preparations for that. It was announced Monday that the entirety of Golden Hall and parts of the San Diego Convention Center will be converted into shelters for the homeless with hundreds of beds, while bridge shelters will be converted into screening and triage centers. 

As of Tuesday, the city of San Diego had moved 55 families, comprised of 153 people, from an existing 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. 

Father Joe's has closed its thrift stores and halted donations, according to Deacon Jim Vargas, noting it will have an impact on their fundraising efforts. 

Vargas announced the launch of the Father Joe's Villages' Emergency Response Fund to help the nonprofit respond to the needs of San Diego homeless during the COVID-19 crisis. Services Father Joe's is working to provide health care, shelter, food and more. 

Longtime Father Joe's supporter, philanthropist and Qualcomm co-founder Franklin Antonio has provided a $400,000 matching gift challenge to encourage support from the larger community.


Around 350,000 San Diego County workers are at high risk of layoffs and reduced hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the economic impact expected to be much more severe in black and Latino populations as well as among younger, poorer and less-educated workers, according to a San Diego Workforce Partnership report released Tuesday.

4 p.m.

An employee at San Diego State University has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report in the Daily Aztec. An email reportedly was sent university-wide indicating the person hadn't been on campus for two weeks, except briefly on March 17, according to campus officials. 

3:30 p.m.

San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore issued a statement on firearm retailers in the county and confusion over whether they are considered part of a critical sector and will be allowed to stay open. 

The statement read in part: 

"The Sheriff's Department recognizes the importance of licensed firearm retailers given the heightened concern for public security.

Licensed firearm retailers provide a valuable public service by conducting registrations, backgrounds, and ensuring waiting periods are complied with. We do not want to drive lawful sales of firearms to an underground or off the books black market during these difficult times.

ALL BUSINESSES have an obligation to do everything they can to help accomplish the Governor's Executive order and the County of San Diego Public Health order. They are aimed at saving lives, not public health recommendations to be disregarded if they are inconvenient. We are awaiting further guidance from the Governor on how his order affects retail firearm establishments."

2:30 p.m.

At 2:30 p.m., Chairman Greg Cox, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, Dr. Wilma Wooten, and San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore held a conference. You can watch the entire conference here.

An “individual in their late 70s” has died of COVID-19. The person had underlying conditions, according to Dr. Wilma Wooten. There are also two new infant cases concerning babies “less than one year of age” in San Diego County. These infant cases are not deaths. County officials will release more information on the cases on Tuesday evening.

Sheriff Gore is concerned about closing gun stores during this stay-at-home order. While a gun store may not immediately come to mind when one thinks of an essential service, like a pharmacy, Gore worries that if he closes law-abiding gun stores that screen customers, then people will obtain firearms through illegal means.

Supervisor Fletcher said that on Tuesday, San Diego County received its first batch of supplies from the state of California.

According to the Office of Emergency Services, San Diego County has reserved 1,900 motel rooms for patients to self-isolate. As of Tuesday, approximately 150 of those rooms are occupied. 

1:30 p.m.

The county Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a moratorium on evictions for both residents and small businesses located in the unincorporated area in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The policy, which was put forward in a resolution sponsored by Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Kristin Gaspar, will give authority to the county's chief administrative officer to work with financial institutions to halt foreclosures and foreclosure-related evictions; and allow the county Housing Authority to extend the deadline for recipients, including those who receive Section 8 support.

The protections are provided retroactively to March 4, when Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency over the pandemic.

Fletcher said the resolution "is a prudent step to protect folks in a period of economic distress." 

1 p.m.

A San Diego molecular diagnostic company announced that it has received fast-track emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 diagnostic test, which the company says can provide results within 30 minutes.

Mesa Biotech Inc. says its Accula SARS-CoV-2 test utilizes throat and nasal samples to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The FDA's emergency authorizations fast-track unapproved medical products for use during a public health emergency.

12 p.m.

The Superior Court of California, County of San Diego is temporarily closed and is hearing only emergency matters from March 17 through April 3. The San Diego Superior Court has placed updated announcements on its website. For more information, click here.

11 a.m.

Neighborhood House Association will provide free breakfasts, lunches, and snacks to children and seniors at six key locations throughout San Diego County during this health pandemic and time of crisis Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the following locations:

  • BYF Early Head Start/41st Street: 841 S. 41st San Diego CA 92113
  • Balboa Lutheran Head Start: 7250 Eckstrom Ave., San Diego, CA 92111
  • Webster Head Start: 2930 Marcy Ave., San Diego, CA 92113
  • Urban Village I Head Start: 3795 Fairmount Ave. Suite B, San Diego, CA 92015
  • Home Ave. Head Start: 4111 Home Ave. Suite F, San Diego, CA 92105
  • Senior Nutrition Center: 795 S Boundary, San Diego, CA 92113

10:30 a.m.

As California and the rest of the country have all but shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits have been hit particularly hard, a University of San Diego survey revealed.

According to the Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego, many local charities are experiencing increased demands for food, shelter and other basic necessities, yet nonprofits have been hindered or cut off from responding due to issues of cash flow, managing volunteers and technological barriers.

10 a.m.

The City of Carlsbad announced Tuesday, March 24, that it now has 14 confirmed cases. "Cases in Carlsbad have more than doubled since last week, and we expect this trend to continue, not just in Carlsbad, but throughout the county. Having said that, Carlsbad has more than twice as many cases as other cities in the region except for San Diego. Even though we need to take this with a grain of salt due to the limited supply of tests, it remains simply imperative that everyone follow the stay at home order." This link has the full report of cases in the region. It’s updated daily around 5 p.m.

9 a.m.

San Diego Food Bank and San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council to host Mass Emergency Food Distribution for 1,000 Families (1,000 vehicles) at SDCCU (formerly Qualcomm) Stadium at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 28, until all of the food is gone. The food distribution will be “touchless” meaning that attendees will not leave their cars. Food will be placed directly in the back seat or truck. For more information, click here.

8:30 a.m.

San Diego Humane Society is distributing 70,000 pounds of pet food and supplies across San Diego County to pet families who need extra help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the PAWS San Diego pantry program, anyone can visit SDHS’s campus locations in Escondido, Oceanside or San Diego between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to pick up a bag of dog or cat food, as well as other supplies, such as cat litter, pet treats and pet beds while supplies last.

8 a.m.

A coalition of restaurants nationwide wants to encourage people to order out on Tuesday, March 24. They’re calling it the #GreatAmericanTakeout.

Many restaurants around the country have had to close entirely or transition to solely delivery and takeout operations, in order to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Yelp announced Tuesday that users will soon be able to donate to local businesses from their Yelp pages.

The move is part of a partnership with GoFundMe and the two companies plan to match the first $1 million in donations.

According to Yelp, the fundraisers will begin to appear on the pages of businesses in some of the hardest hit areas starting Tuesday, and it will be rolled out to all eligible businesses nationwide over the next couple days.

7 a.m.

To help alleviate the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies in San Diego, UC San Diego Health has launched a donation website for the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the website, they are accepting donations of PPE, food and other items for caregivers and financial contributions. For more information, click here.

5 a.m.

Helen Woodward Animal Center announced they will provide complimentary pet food to San Diegans affected by COVID-19, which include the elderly, community members with disabilities and laid-off workers. The “drive-through” style pet food distributions will be open on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, giving out a two-week supply of dog or cat food per pet/per household (maximum 3 pets).

Individuals must register. Seniors call: Helen Woodward AniMeals Program: 858-756-4114 ext 341. Interested recipients must have been recently laid off due to COVID-19 quarantines and closures and are required to fill out a pick-up appointment request form at animalcenter.org/AniMealsRelief. More distributions will be scheduled in the weeks to follow.

March 23

Credit: KFMB

11:30 p.m.

UC San Diego on Monday night confirmed one of its students had tested positive for COVID-19. The university reassured the campus community the student remains in isolation while receiving care, and it would work closely with San Diego Public Health officials on notifying individuals with recent close contact. 

9:00 p.m.

Delays in getting test results and a lack of available testing for COVID-19 continue to aggravate people around San Diego county. The full report can be seen here.

One of the worst things people can do in a time of crisis, like the coronavirus pandemic, is price gouging, and yet, News 8 has received multiple reports from viewers of price gougers. News 8's investigation can be seen here

San Diego-based Sempra Energy announced today that it will donate up to $1 million to help the state's small- to medium-sized nonprofits while they are busy providing critical resources to others during the coronavirus pandemic.

The grant donations are part of Sempra's Nonprofit Hardship Fund, which will also provide donations of up to $500,000 for Texas nonprofits and $250,000 for Louisiana nonprofits.

The fund provides grants of up to $50,000 to nonprofits serving populations affected by COVID-19. 

Nonprofit organizations are advised to visit the Sempra Foundation website.

8:40 p.m. 

Sharp Healthcare announced it is launching a personal protective equipment (PPE) drive this Wednesday.

The Chief Supply Chain Officer for Sharp, Kevin Thompson, said the drive is in response to the need for additional PPE in hospitals and clinics. 

Drive-up donations of PPE and other supplies can be made Wednesday at various SharpHealth locations.

Click here for details.

7:45 p.m. 

The city of Encinitas has announced it is closing all city beaches, access points to beaches and parking lots adjacent to beaches until further notice - an action similar to what the cities of San Diego, Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Carlsbad have done.

Carlsbad has closed city parks, trails and beaches. Solana Beach has closed beaches, parks and trailheads in their city. Del Mar closed its beaches, beach access points, bluffs, Powerhouse Park, Seagrove Park, and areas adjacent to the San Dieguito River. And San Diego closed its parks, beaches, boardwalks, bays, trails and lakes. 

7:30 p.m.

Grocery store chains have announced plans to reward current employees and hire thousands more to meet demand. Some stores are paying eligible employees a bonus while expanding emergency leave policies.

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is adding 150,000 positions nationwide. Ralph’s and Food 4 Less are adding 500 full-time, part-time and temporary positions in the region. Sprouts also announced plans to hire more than 300 new people in its Southern California stores.  

7 p.m.

Click here for Kelly Hessedal's full report

The cases break down as follows by age: 

  • 0-9 years: 0 cases
  • 10-19 years: 3 cases
  • 20-29 years: 53 cases
  • 30-39 years: 62 cases
  • 40-49 years: 41 cases
  • 50-59 years: 32 cases
  • 60-69 years: 14 cases
  • 70-79 years: 18 cases
  • 80+ years: 6 cases
  • Age unknown: 1 cases

By gender: 

  • Female: 84
  • Male: 145
  • Unknown: 1

Thirty-seven of those with COVID-19 are hospitalized as of Monday night with 18 in intensive care. 

The latest data by city can be found here.

5:30 p.m.

San Diego leaders to hold a telephone town hall on COVID-19 answering questions directly from residents.

The telephone town hall will be hosted by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Council President Georgette Gómez, and Congressmember Scott Peters.

Residents can participate in the telephone town hall by dialing 712-832-8700 and entering the pin 416802#. Questions can be submitted in advance by social media and emails sent to SanDiegoCovid19Townhall@gmail.com.

 “San Diego is mobilizing like never before to protect our city’s health and safety. Even though we have to keep a physical distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we can still communicate as a community. I invite San Diegans to call in from home to get the latest updates on coronavirus from our local and federal representatives. Information can save lives and help us get through this together," Mayor Faulconer said. 

5 p.m.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore called on residents to strictly heed state and local stay-at-home and social-distancing mandates issued last week as key strategies in reducing the dire public-health threats posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

"It is imperative we all comply with these orders," Gore said in a prepared statement released Monday afternoon. "They were not created to follow when convenient. Not following these orders puts everyone's lives at risk." 

4:40 p.m.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer ordered Monday the closure of all city-owned beaches, parks and trails, citing a lack of physical distance among city residents over the weekend. The mayor was joined by San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit and San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Colin Stowell to address the matter after the city first banned gatherings of any size at city parks and beaches and closed the parking lots to city-run parks and beaches on Sunday.  

"We need 100% compliance from the public," Nisleit said. "Officers will be continuing education, but moving to enforcement. Working together we will defeat this virus."

He said there are two orders that officers can enforce -- the governor'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, the chief said.

See our full report on the closures here.

4:30 p.m.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer along with other city of San Diego officials will address gatherings at beaches and parks. View live-stream here

The city of San Diego on Sunday banned gatherings of any size at beaches and parks, and closed parking lots a city-run beaches and parks.

4:20 p.m.

California Governor Gavin Newsom and state health officials provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The briefing was streamed on the governor's social media pages (Facebook and Twitter) where he emphasized the importance of social distancing and that every person in California needs to take that order seriously to help 'bend the curve'.

2:30 p.m.

County of San Diego officials provided their daily update on COVID-19 in San Diego. There were no new significant announcements but San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said the county's coronavirus monitoring page will be updated between 5 and 7 p.m. tonight. 

Wooten also said that if cities cannot maintain safe social distancing procedures at their parks and beaches, the county will close them to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

"We encourage outdoor exercise as long as people maintain six feet of social distancing," said Dr. Wooten.. "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 six feet of social distancing recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus. 

The county's step follows a city ordinance that all public parking lots at parks and beaches in the city of San Diego will remain closed to discourage gatherings and encourage social distancing amid the pandemic.

City officials took the step Sunday in response to crowds gathering over the weekend, and the ordinance went into effect this morning. 

San Diego Board of Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox encouraged anyone with symptoms or health questions to call 2-1-1. Nurses are available to take calls from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. Callers can also leave messages and receive a call back within 24 hours. 

County officials also talked about the importance of taking care of mental health and substance abuse during this difficult time. More information for those seeking care is available on the county's Behavior Health Services page and on a resource page for coping with COVID-19.

1 p.m.

The hospital ship USNS Mercy departed from Naval Station San Diego on Monday afternoon to help fight the spread of COVID-19. 

“People are the Navy medicine’s greatest strength,” said Commander Tim Weber. 

More than 800 medical professionals are off to help hospitals, according to Weber. The goal is help relieve local hospitals that are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. For example, someone may be treated on board if they have pneumonia or a broken leg. 

12 p.m.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Monday, March 23, that the entirety of Golden Hall and parts of the San Diego Convention Center will be converted into shelters for the homeless with hundreds of beds, while bridge shelters will be converted into screening and triage centers. The move comes as the city tries to prepare for a "storm" of COVID-19 cases that public health officials anticipate. For more information, click here.

The news conference was also live streamed on the City of San Diego’s Facebook page and Twitter page.  

10:45 a.m.

As the state of California and San Diego County continue to respond to the ongoing threat posed by COVID-19, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office issued a warning Monday, March 23, to businesses and scammers not to take advantage of consumers by price gouging. During a declared state of emergency, it is illegal for a business to increase its prices for essential goods or services by more than 10 percent, unless they can show their own costs have been increased. Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in California on March 4 and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors extended its countywide state of emergency for an additional 30 days on February 19.

 “We want county residents to know that we stand ready to protect their consumer rights under the law,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “We will strictly enforce violations related to price gouging.”

8 a.m.

County Supervisor, Kristin Gaspar and County Supervisor Jim Desmond held a briefing Monday, March 23, 2020, seeking recovery and resiliency for the San Diego business community devastated by COVID-19. To watch on YouTube, click here.

7 a.m.

Pacific Gas & Electric [PG&E] announced Monday it plans to plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter stemming for 2018's Camp Fire that killed 85 people.

In a press release announcing its decision, the utility company also said it plans to plead guilty to one count of unlawfully starting a fire stemming from 2018 Camp Fire

6 a.m.

The hospital ship USNS Mercy will depart Naval Station San Diego Monday, March 23 in support of the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts.

Mercy will depart Naval Base San Diego with over 800 Navy medical personnel and support staff with the afloat medical treatment facility (MTF), and more than 70 civil service mariners. The ship will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, and will provide a full spectrum of medical care to include critical and urgent care for adults.  This will allow local health professionals to focus on treating COVID-19 patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their Intensive Care Units and ventilators for those patients. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted about the approval saying he was grateful to the president for the quick response and partnership."

On Monday, March 23, the City of San Diego Development Services Department (DSD) is implementing a series of safety protocols "to protect customers and employees from the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic," the city announced Sunday. The protocols include a new fully electronic permitting process for solar photovoltaic (PV) projects and plans to expand to electronic submittal for all projects in the near future, according to city officials.

March 22 

6 p.m.

Federal emergency aid has been made available for the state of California to supplement "state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing," FEMA announced Sunday night. 

President Trump approved the major disaster declaration for the state which was requested by California Governor Gavin Newsom, earlier Sunday.

Their statement read in part: 

"The President's action makes federal funding available for Crisis Counseling for affected individuals in all areas of the state of California.

Federal funding is also available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures (Category B), including direct federal assistance under Public Assistance, for all areas affected by COVID-19 in the state of California. The federal cost-share is 75 percent."


The San Diego Food Bank has posted emergency food distribution locations for Monday, March 23 - Saturday, March 28 online. There are more than 100 scheduled distributions throughout the county this coming week. The food bank also said it will post all of its weekly, countywide emergency food distribution locations every Friday on its website

All food distributions are “touchless,” and the food bank encourages seniors to send a friend or family member to pick up on their behalf.

5:30 p.m.

Grocery stores are starting to take action in response to overwhelming demand amid the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Many are putting limits on high-demand items, such as toilet paper, paper towels and canned goods to prevent hoarding.

Vons, Costco, 99 Ranch and other retailers in San Diego and elsewhere are limiting how many people can enter the store at one time. This allows customers to shop and maintain six feet of separation, which is recommended by health officials to prevent spreading coronavirus.

Brandon Lewis reports on some of the changes stores and customers are experiencing. 

5 p.m.

Confirmed coronavirus cases in San Diego are now up to 205, according to the latest update from the county's monitoring page

The cases break down by age as follows: 

  • 0-9 years:  0 cases
  • 10-19 years: 3 cases
  • 20-29 years: 44 cases
  • 30-39 years: 52 cases
  • 40-49 years: 35 cases
  • 50-59 years: 27 cases
  • 60-69 years: 15 cases
  • 70-79 years: 20 cases
  • 80+ years: 8 cases
  • Age Unknown: 1 case

By gender: 

  • Females: 71
  • Males: 133
  • Unknown: 1
Credit: KFMB

Forty-one people who have tested positive are hospitalized with 15 in intensive care. There has been one death reported of a San Diego resident in relation to COVID-19, which was announced earlier Sunday by Dr. Wilma Wooten during a daily coronavirus update by the San Diego County elected and health officials. 

4 p.m.

President Trump agreed Sunday to send a massive Navy hospital ship to Los Angeles to deal with the area's surge of coronavirus patients.

The USNS Mercy -- one of the Navy's two 1,000-bed hospital ships -- should arrive to the Port of Los Angeles next week, officials said. The ship is currently in San Diego.

California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted about the approval saying he was grateful to the president for the quick response and partnership."

The Navy reported that the ship will leave Naval Base San Diego on Monday with over 800 Navy medical personnel and support staff, and more than 70 civil service mariners on board. 

"The ship will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, and will provide a full spectrum of medical care to include critical and urgent care for adults. This will allow local health professionals to focus on treating COVID-19 patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their Intensive Care Units and ventilators for those patients," the Navy's statement read in part.

Trump also said Sunday that he would approve "very quickly ... maybe tonight" California's request for a major disaster declaration to deal with the worsening COVID-19 outbreak. Similar declarations were approved for New York and Washington state.

The president also approved California's activation of the National Guard to help with the distribution of supplies and other needed relief efforts, but officials stressed that state officials would be in charge. 

Editor's note: A previous version of this item indicated the ship was in Seattle but its home port is in San Diego. We regret the error.

3:10 p.m.

The city of San Diego has banned gatherings of any size at beaches and parks. Parking lots at city-run beaches and parks are now closed. 

See more about the bans and closures in our full report here.

2:45 p.m.

Petco is donating $2 million to launch an employee relief fund, the San Diego-based pet supply company announced Sunday.

The Petco Partner Assistance Fund will "provide ongoing support to Petco's 27,000+ partners as they face the effects of COVID-19 as well as future hardship in other times of need."

The company's initial $2 million will be added to by additional donations from the company's private equity sponsors at CVC Capital Partners, and personal donations from every member of its Board of Directors and executive leadership team, officials said. 

2:30 p.m.

San Diego County elected and health officials gave their daily update on COVID-19 in the county.

San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten announced the first death of a San Diego resident from COVID-19. She said the person was a male in his early 70s who was being treated in Santa Clara County following travel to Hawaii. Dr. Wooten said that the latest updates to numbers of San Diego cases will come out Sunday night and will include the county's first death. 

San Diego Board of Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox announced that local nonprofit Facilitating Access to Coordinated Transportation - also known as FACT - is offering free rides in San Diego County for seniors, persons with disabilities, students, veterans, and other residents who need assistance to make essential trips for medical needs or grocery needs. FACT will offer these rides through April 15, according to Cox. 

To arrange for a ride for yourself of someone else, call FACT at 888-924-3228 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday - Friday. When making a request please have the name(s) of the rider(s) to be transported, the pick-up address and time, and specify if any rider uses a mobility device such as a wheelchair or scooter. Rides are available on a first-come, first-served basis and FACT asks that you call at least one day ahead if possible to arrange for a ride.


The White House Coronavirus Task Force held a media briefing Sunday afternoon

2:15 p.m.

Seven sailors who were onboard San Diego-based ships have tested positive for COVID-19, U.S. Pacific Fleet officials announced Sunday.

Two sailors tested positive Friday and five more tested positive Saturday, according to a statement from U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs.

"These sailors are currently isolated off ship and restricted in movement in accordance with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines," the statement said. "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 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, officials said.

2 p.m.

Beach parking lots were shut down starting at 12:30 p.m. Sunday by San Diego Police Department officers to discourage large crowds from gathering, after county officials stressed the importance of avoiding crowds to stop the spread of COVID-19, authorities said. 

Officers closed Fiesta Island after large crowds of people were spotted gathering there.

In the interest of public safety, police officers will continue on a day-to-day basis to monitor beach areas and decide when to close parking lots, said Officer Dino Delimitros of the San Diego Police Department.  

12:15 p.m.

The California Department of Public Health released new numbers on COVID-19 cases in the state. Confirmed cases rose to 1,468 - up over 200 from Saturday. Deaths rose to 27 from 24 the previous day. 

Ages of all confirmed positive cases: 1,468

  • Age 0-17: 23 cases
  • Age 18-64: 1066 cases
  • Age 65+: 369 cases
  • Unknown: 10 cases

Cases not related to repatriation flights: 1,444

  • 113 – Travel-related
  • 145 – Person to person
  • 408 – Community transmission
  • 778 – Under investigation

24 – Positive cases related to federal repatriation flights

Twenty-two state and county health labs are currently testing.

11:45 a.m.

Two popular hiking trails in the East County were closed Sunday by Cleveland National Forest authorities.

The Cedar Creek Falls Trail and the Three Sisters Falls Trail, running through the national forest between Ramona and Julian, are now closed, authorities said on Twitter.

11 a.m.

Many school districts in San Diego County will resume meal distribution on Monday, March 23. Click here for the list of participating food service sites

"Any student age 2 to 18 can go to any school site providing meals and receive food during this period of school closures due to COVID-19," according to the San Diego County Office of Education.

10:30 a.m.

A sailor from Naval Base Coronado is the latest member of the local military community to test positive for COVID-19 as San Diego County's confirmed cases spiked from 131 to 159 this weekend, county health officials and the Navy said.

The sailor reported symptoms of COVID-19 to his supervisor on March 17, according to officials from the base. He tested positive on Friday and is now restricted to his residence, receiving medical care


Saturday night the YMCA of San Diego County announced they are closing all 18 locations due to coronavirus concerns. In a statement, representatives of the Y said they expect to stay closed until at least June 30 and anticipate cuts to their staff. 

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View all coverage of coronavirus / COVID-19 

NEWS 8 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. 


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, along with any other respiratory illness: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 

  • Stay home when you are sick. 

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. 

The CDC also says facemasks should only be used by people who show symptoms of the virus. If you’re not sick, you do not have to wear a facemask.  

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