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'We can't wish it away' | San Diego County experiencing record COVID-19 cases

The Southern California restrictions last for a minimum of three weeks.

SAN DIEGO — County officials held an emergency briefing Saturday afternoon to explain just what San Diegans all need to do under the state’s latest stay-at-home order.

Health experts have warned for months that this surge was on the way and now that it’s here, the state is asking everyone in Southern California to stay home, stay apart and stay safe.

“Effective at 11:59 p.m. tomorrow night, Sunday, our county and 10 other counties in the designated Southern California region, will fall under new, tougher restrictions ordered by the state,” said San Diego County Supervisor and Chairman Greg Cox.

San Diego County is on lockdown again after rising cases of coronavirus caused the number of available ICU beds to drop below 15% regionally. Just as the holiday season gets in full swing, the timing couldn’t be worse. On Sunday, the California Department of Public Health reported that Southern California had a dwindling ICU capacity of 10.3%. 

“These restrictions will last for a minimum of three weeks. There’s no way around it. This stinks. We know that,” Cox said.

COVID-19 cases have reached record highs and county officials said the surge is not sustainable as hospitalizations also skyrocket. Now, all non-essential businesses will be closed, retail stores can only operate at 20% indoor capacity, religious services should only be held outdoors and restaurants will only serve take-out, pick-up or by delivery. 

“We can’t avoid COVID. We can’t wish it away. We can’t blame it. It’s not the fault of a tiered system. It’s not the fault of an elected official, or public health expert or doctor. It is a deadly, global pandemic that is ravaging our communities,” said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

Fletcher said there is a light at the end of this tunnel, but everyone will have to buckle down together at least one last time to control the spread before a vaccine is ready.

“We all know what we need to do. Physically distance from non-household members, avoid large indoor settings, wash your hands. And now we’re coming together with a series of efforts to beat this back even more,” Fletcher said.

San Diego County reported 2,287 news cases of COVID-19 and eight additional deaths Saturday, the highest one-day total of new cases yet. That brings the total number of cases to 90,468 and 1,055 total deaths. 

Fletcher also reminded people just how dire this situation by noting that this week, more Americans died from COVID-19 in one day, than they did on September 11th in 2001.