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Coronavirus in San Diego and California: July 13 - 15, 2020

Real-time updates and developments around the coronavirus outbreak and how it is affecting San Diego as we work to separate facts from fear.


To get the most up to date coronavirus updates, click here.

Key COVID-19 facts in San Diego and California:

July 15

San Diego County COVID-19 cases top 21K with 448 deaths, officials warn of health effects

San Diego County public health officials reported 559 cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths from the illness Wednesday and a wave of indoor businesses were forced to close as cases of the illness continue to spike.

The new numbers raise the total number of cases to 21,446 and the number of deaths to 448. Of the 8,436 tests reported Wednesday, 7% returned positive, bringing the 14-day rolling average to 7.2%.

Four new community outbreaks were reported Wednesday, bringing the weekly total to 14 -- well above the county's metric of no more than seven in a one-week span. The new outbreaks were reported in a laboratory, hair salon, barbershop and restaurant/bar.

"While it's true that the mortality for younger people is lower, it's also true that the rate is not zero," said Dr. Scott Eisman, pulmonologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas. "The complications from this illness are far greater, much longer-lasting and far more serious than the flu."

Click here for the full story.

Rite Aid opening 5 drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in San Diego County

Rite Aid is expanding its COVID-19 testing capacity with 161 new drive-through testing locations opening Thursday, including five in San Diego County.

Testing will be available by appointment for people 18 years of age or older, regardless of whether the person is experiencing symptoms, according to Rite Aid. Results are expected in three to five days, a company spokesperson said.

For a list of county locations providing testing starting Thursday, click here.

Poway City Council to review plan to open parks for worship and workouts

The Poway City Council will hold a special meeting on Wednesday to consider a move that would temporarily relax restrictions at city parks for houses of worship and fitness-oriented businesses.

Poway Mayor Steve Vaus proposed the SOS idea (Sharing Outdoor Spaces) which would eliminate the city restriction of parks being used commercially.

If the plan passes, gyms, churches, and other houses of worship would be able to use the open spaces as they see fit at no charge.

For a full rundown of the plan, click here.

Shut down of indoor operations in effect as San Diego County nears 21K COVID-19 cases

A closure of indoor operations at various businesses throughout San Diego County is now in effect as the county COVID-19 case total nears the 21,000 mark.

County health officials reported 539 new COVID-19 cases and 14 additional deaths on Tuesday, raising the region's totals to 20,887 cases and 436 deaths. Of the 7,246 tests reported Tuesday, 7% returned positive, slightly above the county's rolling 14-day positive test average of 6.2%.

Click here for the full story.

July 14

Chula Vista Elementary School District will begin school year in a distance learning format

The Chula Vista Elementary School District on Tuesday announced the 2020-21 school year, which begins on August 31, will begin in a distance learning format. 

"We will continue to work towards transitioning to in-person instruction but will only do so when guidance from local health officials supports a safe transition back to learning on site in classrooms. We know that many parents, students, staff, and community members are disappointed by this decision and we understand that this will complicate many individual family situations," said Superintendent Dr. Francisco Escobedo.

Even though the school year will begin with distance learning, the school district said it would continue to develop plans to transition into either a hybrid learning model which would include combination of in-person instruction and distance learning, or into a full in-person instructional model. 

"When students return to campus for in-person instruction, learning will look much different than previous years because of new health and safety measures. With safety goals always in mind, our leadership team, teachers, bargaining group representatives, parents, and community members are actively collaborating on a school reopening plan that will guide us on how to safely reopen our 46 campuses," said Dr. Escobedo.

Indoor operations to halt Wednesday at various San Diego County businesses

San Diego County reported 539 new COVID-19 cases and 14 additional deaths Tuesday, as indoor operations at various businesses throughout the county prepared to close at midnight.

The new data raise the region's totals to 20,887 cases and 436 deaths. Of the 7,246 tests reported Tuesday, 7% returned positive, slightly above the county's rolling 14-day positive test average of 6.2%.

Of the 14 deaths, six were women and eight men. They died between July 2 and July 13 and ranged in age from mid-40s to late 80s. All but one had underlying medical conditions.

Three new community outbreaks were reported Tuesday, bringing the weekly total to 15 -- still well above the county's metric of no more than seven in a one-week span. The new outbreaks were reported in a restaurant/bar, place of worship and a private residence.

Click here for the full story.

Mayor Faulconer discusses San Diego's outdoor dining expansion as City Council votes on the expanded plan

Continuing to deliver relief to San Diego restaurants and retail businesses impacted by COVID-19, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer was joined Tuesday by the Strategic Alliance of San Diego Ethnic Chambers of Commerce and a local restaurant owner to highlight businesses successfully implementing the outdoor dining protocols as outlined by the July 7 Executive Order

Expanding on that order, the City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on Mayor Faulconer’s proposed ordinance to increase options for restaurants and retail to utilize more outdoor space to allow for physical distancing and more capacity as they comply with public health orders.

If the Council approves, the ordinance cements protocols enacted under the Executive Order but also allows businesses to utilize adjacent on-street parking to operate while also waiving a majority of permitting fees, allowing businesses to transition faster and recover sooner.

City of San Diego 'Summer Lunch Program' offers free meals to families in need during COVID-19 pandemic

The City of San Diego will begin offering free lunches Tuesday and throughout the summer to help meet the needs of the community, especially those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The City is partnering with the San Diego Parks Foundation, Feeding San Diego and Albertsons Companies’ Nourishing Neighbors program to help feed children who need it the most during this unprecedented time.

To meet the needs of the community, members of the public will be able to pick up prepared ‘to go’ lunch and breakfast for children ages 18 and under at a dozen City recreation centers throughout the summer. 

For more information, click here.

Supervisor Jim Desmond answers commonly asked questions about what is happening with the virus in San Diego

During the interview, Desmond touched on why people can't go to church, but others are allowed to protest. He also talked about extra federal funding people can apply for through the county now that the extra $600 unemployment money is expiring. 

To watch the full interview, click here

Indoor operations to halt Wednesday at various San Diego County businesses

Starting Wednesday, indoor operations at various businesses throughout San Diego County will cease in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 cases.

Following Gov. Gavin Newsom's updated health order Monday, all indoor operations will halt at midnight in gyms, houses of worship, non-critical office businesses, hair salons and barber shops, indoor malls and personal care services, such as massage businesses and tattoo parlors.

Click here for the full story.

July 13

San Diego Catholic bishop suspends indoor masses

San Diego Catholic Bishop Robert W. McElroy issued the following statement Monday in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom's latest health orders:

“In light of the recent spike in coronavirus cases in San Diego and Imperial Counties, and Gov. Newsom’s request today that churches statewide return to lockdown, I have ordered that parishes throughout the diocese to suspend indoor Masses and other church gatherings until further notice.

“In addition, Catholics in San Diego and Imperial Counties will continue to receive dispensation and are relieved of their obligation to attend Sunday Mass.

“Our first duty is to the safety of parishioners and the public. We ask your continued prayers for an end to this pandemic and for the welfare of coronavirus victims, their families and the courageous healthcare workers struggling to take care of us all.”

Parishes will continue to offer masses online, as many have done since the initial shutdown of public masses began in March.

San Diego County coronavirus cases surpass 20K, officials adjusting testing approach

San Diego County health officials reported 419 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday bringing the county's total to 20,348. There were no additional deaths reported with the death toll remaining at 422 locally. 

Of the 6,542 tests reported Monday, 6% returned positive, in line with the 14-day rolling average. 

Click here for the full story.

Gov. Newsom orders more business sectors to close down indoor operations

Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered the closure of all indoor operations at gyms, churches, non-critical offices, person-care facilities, hair salons, malls and barbershops in counties on the watch list. The order affects all 30 counties on the state's monitoring list, which includes Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties.

Click here for the full story.

Jockey tests positive and San Diego County reports 558 new COVID-19 cases

Star jockey Flavien Prat tested positive for COVID-19 before this weekend's horse races at Del Mar, according to Del Mar Thoroughbred Club officials.

Prat was tested at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla around noon Sunday after returning from a riding assignment in Kentucky. The 2019 Kentucky Derby winner was removed from all the mounts he was set to ride on Sunday and will quarantine at his home for at least 10 days.

Del Mar requires all riders traveling from other jurisdictions to be tested before they race and will test all jockeys and jockey's room personnel before its next day of racing on Friday.

Click here for the full story.

RELATED: WHO warns the coronavirus pandemic is worsening globally

RELATED: Coronavirus spread, not politics should guide schools, doctors say

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.


On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, "CO" stands for "corona," "VI" for "virus," and "D" for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.

There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.

Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, as with any other respiratory illness: 

Know how it spreads: 

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
    • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
    • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Protect yourself and others

Wash your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • It’s especially important to wash:
    • Before eating or preparing food
    • Before touching your face
    • After using the restroom
    • After leaving a public place
    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After handling your cloth face covering
    • After changing a diaper
    • After caring for someone sick
    • After touching animals or pets
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact 

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
    • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

Monitor your health daily

  • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
    • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

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. 

As of April 4, 2020, all employees in San Diego County who may have contact with the public in any grocery store, pharmacy/drug store, restaurant or food establishments, convenience store or gas station are required to wear a cloth face covering while at work as an additional measure to help “flatten the curve” in the San Diego region.

Violations can be reported online.

As of May 1, San Diego County requires everyone in the county to wear face coverings in many public settings. The coverings help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and are part of our path to reopening San Diego. See full health order here.

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.

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