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Coronavirus in San Diego and California: May 7 - 9, 2020

This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego and California from May 7 - 9, 2020

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Editor’s note: This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego and California from May 7 - 9, 2020.  Click here for real-time updates for May 10, 2020 

Key facts in San Diego:

Key facts in California:

  • California governor issued a statewide stay at home order on March 19.
  • There are 62,512 confirmed cases in California and 2,585 deaths, according to the CA Department of Public Health. 
  • 3,250 Californians are hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 1,118 are in the ICU, according to the CA Department of Public Health.
  • 875,272 tests have been conducted as of May 7, according to the CA Department of Public Health.
  • A senior hotline has been set up to answer questions at 833-544-2374.

May 9

Doctor at Sharp Grossmont Reed recovering from severe injury after attack

Doctor Eric Reed is in a position he never really expected find himself.

"I feel like a new person already and for the next three months I'll be feeling like a new person every day or two," Reed said.

A pediatrician at Sharp Grossmont Reed was working at the hospital when he witnessed a physical attack on someone and jumped in to help. He was then attacked and suffered a severe neck and spinal injury.

Read the full story here.

With businesses reopening in San Diego, are people returning?

After being closed for several weeks amid the COVID-19 pandemic some merchants were allowed to reopen Saturday with restrictions while following safety guidelines.

News 8 stopped in Old Town, which is a popular place for Mother’s Day weekend shopping and with great weather and beach access now, we also made a stop on Garnet in Pacific Beach, where some small businesses reopened.  

Read the full story here.

Viejas Casino set to reopen on May 18

The Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine Saturday announced plans to reopen on May 18.

The casino has been closed for about two months in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but officials said that because California officials are poised to relax some of the stay-home orders and other measures, they are preparing to reopen soon.

Read the full story here.

YMCA of San Diego County and the San Diego Foundation bring summer camp to low-income families

The partnership between Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, the YMCA of San Diego County, and the San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund will make summer camp programs available for children of low-income families who will be going back to work as the State of California gradually eases restrictions on stay at home orders.

Read the full story here.

May 8

Mayor Faulconer explains childcare support for essential workers

The city and county of San Diego announced Friday that $10 million in federal stimulus funding will be directed toward expanding childcare services for workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read the full story.

Is this allowed? Confusing California rules, enforcement

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has seen an on-again, off-again patchwork when it comes to enforcing Gov. Gavin Newsom's orders designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. 

Local officials must both interpret and enforce rapidly evolving rules, with state and local orders often at odds. Newsom outlined more guidelines Thursday on how local governments can gradually allow businesses to reopen. 

But enforcement has been spotty at best and often confusing as local governments layer rules on top of statewide mandates. Some restaurants have reopened, only to be shuttered the following day. 

Most law enforcement agencies say they're using a light touch.

California threatens 3 counties' aid as reopening begins

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom is warning three counties that they could lose disaster funding if they continue to defy his stay-at-home order. 

Officials in Yuba, Sutter and Modoc counties have allowed businesses to reopen because they have fewer coronavirus cases than other parts of the state. 

A spokesman for Yuba and Sutter counties said local leaders are working to do what is best for the overall health of their communities. 

The letter came Friday as California began the most significant reopening yet of its economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Under state guidelines, retailers and manufacturers could open with restrictions.

San Diego County to reopen some recreation areas 

Campgrounds will open up in limited capacity for people in the same household. There are even more recreation changes coming to San Diego County. Chairman Greg Cox said single riders can now use golf carts. Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the county is now allowing people to rent certain recreation items, like bikes, boats, and kayaks.  You can read more here.

Every registered California voter will receive a mail-in ballot for this November

Governor Newsom and Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that people can vote by mail this November.

“I think that’s huge," said Alex Padilla, California’s Secretary of State. “There’s no safer, physically-distanced, healthier way to exercise your right to vote.”

Padilla said the return postage is prepaid. 

“It’s great for public health,” said Padilla. “It’s great for voting rights.” 

You can read the full story here.

Sorrento Therapeutics, Mount Sinai work to develop COVID-19 antibody therapy

San Diego-based Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. announced Friday that it is partnering with Mount Sinai Health System in New York to develop an "antibody cocktail" to potentially treat COVID-19.

Mount Sinai says it has screened around 15,000 people for the potential presence of antibodies and will provide plasma containing antibodies to Sorrento "for the purpose of identification and production of monoclonal antibodies with potential neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2."

"It is our belief that as we reopen the country and the economy, we will see local flare-ups of infectious spread of SARS-CoV-2. Unfortunately, with coronaviruses, mutations are part of the equation and could render therapies ineffective over time," said Dr. Henry Ji, chairman and CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics.

"It is our intention to develop a triple antibody prophylactic and therapeutic agent that would shield healthcare workers and at-risk patients," he said. "This therapy is designed to be resistant to future virus mutations and, if approved (by the FDA), should be made available in support of testing, tracing, vaccination and other therapeutic approaches to allow for efficient management of viral infection by protecting those most at risk for up to two months at a time."

Labor Council and Feeding San Diego extend emergency mass food distributions through the month of May 

Feeding San Diego in partnership with the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council, will host mass “drive through” food distributions for San Diego families and seniors in need at SDCCU Stadium every Saturday in May from 9 a.m. until all of the food is gone. 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. 

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.    

Chula Vista parks reopen for limited use Friday

The City of Chula Vista reopened its city parks and trails for limited use such as jogging, walking, hiking, bike riding on paths, standing or sitting in the grass and use of off-leash dog parks. Parking lots will be open and park use will be from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Not allowed are organized or team sporting activities, no gathering or congregating in groups of more than one, and no picnics. The limited use allows for members of the same household to congregate up to a maximum of ten people.

Read the full story here.

May 7

Masks to become part of life in California, but rules vary

LOS ANGELES (AP) — For Californians venturing outside, donning a mask will be as common as putting on a cap or sunglasses when the state begins gradually easing stay-at-home orders. 

But rules about face coverings vary, and it’s unclear what enforcement might look like. Masks have been ubiquitous at essential businesses like grocery stores and medical clinics since the early days of the pandemic. 

Now they will be required for customers and employees at certain retailers reopening under new guidelines that also include contact-free transactions.

Authorities hope people will be amenable to the rules, because they don't want to issue citations during a public health crisis.

Is this allowed? Confusing rules, enforcement in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has seen an on-again, off-again patchwork of enforcement of Gov. Gavin Newsom's orders designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. 

It’s fallen to local officials to both interpret and enforce rapidly evolving rules, with state and local orders often at odds. 

Newsom outlined more guidelines Thursday on how local governments can gradually allow businesses to reopen. But enforcement has been spotty at best and often confusing as local governments layer rules on top of statewide mandates. 

Some restaurants have reopened, only to be shuttered the following day. Most law enforcement agencies say they're using a light touch.

DUI cases drop 50% in San Diego County amid stay-at-home order

One side effect of the coronavirus pandemic is there are fewer cars on the roads and there have also been fewer cases of DUIs.

New numbers from the San Diego County District Attorney's Office show a significant decrease in the number of people drinking and driving.

In 2020 the number of cases submitted for March and April were 529. Last year they were 1074. In 2018, they were 1208.

Click here for the full story.

Business is down but San Diego's El Pollo Grill uses social media, promotions to drive to attract customers

Businesses affected by coronavirus are still trying to find their way during the pandemic. El Pollo Grill, which has three locations in San Diego County, is working hard to attract customers through promotions and social media.

El Pollo Grill, like all California restaurants, was forced to serve customers by carry-out and delivery only. For Cinco de Mayo, they offered unprecedented specials to spread the word that resulted in unprecedented demand. 

Click here for the full story.

Telehealth providers report increase in requests for birth control

The coronavirus pandemic has been impacting women's access to birth control with many unable to see doctor. But as more patients are going online using telehealth services, one Bay Area-based company is seeing a spike for contraception requested by patients.

Nurx CEO Varsha Rao said her health tech company has seen a surge in birth control requests by 50% since March.

The Nurx website offers birth control pills online for as little as $0 with insurance or $15 without it per month. The site shows detailed pictures of pills, a patch and a shot and breaks down the steps to get a prescription and have it delivered home.

Click here for the full story.

San Diego County at 4,429 COVID-19 cases with 165 reported deaths

San Diego County officials announced an additional 110 cases from COVID-19 and seven new reported deaths bringing the totals to 4,429 and 165 respectively. 

Officials discussed how several industries and businesses will be able to open in San Diego County starting Friday. The types of businesses include retail stores, manufacturing businesses, and warehouses. When businesses reopen only curbside pick-up will be allowed, and no customers should be inside the premises, according to the county.

Retail businesses that will be allowed to reopen include bookstores, clothing stores, toy stores, florists and sporting goods stores. 

When they open their doors, businesses must ensure that social distancing and the face-covering guidelines are being followed to prevent or slow the spread of the virus.

Click here for the full story.

DMV reopening offices, including San Diego, San Marcos locations

The California Department of Motor Vehicles will reopen 25 of its field offices Friday, including San Diego and San Marcos locations, to assist customers with appointments and "transactions that require an in-person visit to a field office."

The offices will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on Wednesdays, when offices will open at 9 a.m.

Read full story here.

Apple awards $10 million to San Diego area company for COVID-19 response 

Apple is awarding San Diego (Murietta)-based COPAN Diagnostics $10 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to rapidly accelerate their supply of sample collection kits for Covid-19 tests for hospitals across the US. COPAN expects to add more than 50 new employees to support this effort.

COPAN is a global player in the field of specimen collection and preservation for infectious disease diagnostics. The company has been in California for 25 years and currently employs 100 people; with this effort, they expect to add more than 50 new employees in the US.

No customers inside when San Diego businesses reopen

As more San Diego County businesses prepare to reopen, it is important to remember that only curbside pick-up will be allowed, and no customers should be inside the premises.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce modifications to his order later this week and allow more businesses to safely open.

Read the full story.

San Diegans urged to stay home and stay cool during heat warning

Residents are reminded to avoid activities that may cause overheating due to high temperatures this week in San Diego’s valleys and deserts.

“With hot weather comes huge risks for many San Diegans, especially our seniors and the disabled,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who represents much of East County. “In light of the current stay-at-home orders, it’s critical that we are in contact with family, friends and neighbors and make sure they are doing all they can to stay cool.”

Read the full story.

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RELATED: San Diego resident files federal lawsuit against California Gov. Newsom

RELATED: Governor Newsom describes rules for reopening certain businesses starting Friday

RELATED: DMV reopening offices, including San Diego, San Marcos locations

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. 

BACKGROUND  

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.  

The County of San Diego has made face coverings mandatory for those working with the public including grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and similar businesses. 

While officials 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.