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Coronavirus in San Diego and California: Sept. 15 - 17 (afternoon), 2020

This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego and California from Sept. 15 - 17 (afternoon), 2020

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Editor’s note: This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego and California from Sept. 15 - 17 (afternoon), 2020.  Click here for real-time updates for Sept. 17, 2020 and on.  

Key COVID-19 facts in San Diego and California:

Sept. 17

Poway Unified announces plan to return to in-person instruction

Poway Unified School District announced its plan to return to in-person learning. However, for those students who do go back, it will be anything but business as usual.

The plan will require kids to be placed into groups. Some will attend school in the morning, while others will attend in the afternoon. The district says this is being done to keep the number of children in the classroom at any given time to a minimum. Ten elementary schools will return on October 1st.  

Click here for the full story.

Sept. 16

County continues push to exclude SDSU case numbers from San Diego's overall case rate

San Diego County could regress into the state's most restrictive public health tier due to increasing COVID-19 numbers, with Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday rejecting a county effort to discount the 722 positive tests recorded by San Diego State University since the semester began.

Click here for the full story.

San Diego extends outdoor business permits until summer 2021

As the region threatens to slide into the dreaded purple tier of the state’s reopening plan, the City of San Diego has voted to extend outdoor permits for a long list of businesses far into next year.

Under the new city ordinance, any business in San Diego from spas to museums to houses of worship will be allowed to operate under or apply for outdoor permits that are valid for the next 10 months.

Click here for the full story.

Dentists see patients for 'COVID crunch'

San Diego dentists said they've seen an uptick in fractured teeth since reopening. Some said it's from people using teeth-grinding as a stress coping mechanism while others blamed a lack of normal routine. Here's why dentists recommend you still come in for your appointment if you're feeling well.

San Diego State freshman shares quarantine experience after testing positive for COVID-19

After moving from Chicago, the freshman said she only had contact with a handful of people. Then, she tested positive for COVID-19. You can watch the full story here.

San Diego could backslide to Tier 1 causing restrictions for some businesses

San Diego County could become the first county in California to backslide under the state’s new tier system used to measure the spread of coronavirus. The county’s unadjusted rate of 7.9 puts it well above the limits of its current Tier 2 status. The California Department of Public Health then adjusted the rate to 8.1 because it determined San Diego performed fewer tests than the median number performed statewide. 

Click here for the full story.

San Diego County, SDSU hold briefing

The county has investigated 17 community-setting outbreaks in the last week, which is above the trigger of seven in a week. Dr. Eric McDonald said 37 of the 264 cases announced Wednesday represent SDSU students. Supervisor Cox and others plan to send a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom asking him to consider the fact that SDSU students make up a considerable amount of San Diego County's recent cases. v

You can watch the full briefing here.

Governor Newsom holds daily briefing to update state's response to COVID-19 & wildfires

Newsom opened his talk by talking about homelessness in the state. He went on to talk about “Project Homekey” that is finding hotel rooms for the state’s homeless population.

The governor then gave his daily update that covered COVID-19 numbers and where the wildfires stand.

During the talk, the governor called up Dr. Mark Ghaly who spoke on San Diego. He said if the county’s numbers don’t fall by next Tuesday the state will be forced to take measures to shut down businesses again.  

To watch the full address, click here

U.S. Surgeon General visits San Diego Convention Center, Helix lab

Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General, visited San Diego to tour several local sites this week which have helped homeless and minority communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, the city announced Wednesday.

Adams, on a tour of California, met with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and county public health officials Tuesday to tour Operation Shelter to Home at the San Diego Convention Center and the diagnostic testing service developed by Helix -- two operations intended to help protect San Diegans during the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

To read the full story, click here

Mayor Faulconer announces relief fund has helped more than 2,000 businesses

Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Wednesday that more than 2,000 businesses in the city have received grants from San Diego's COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund, impacting nearly 10,000 full-time jobs with half of the recipients operating in underserved communities. 

Click here for the full story.

Sept. 15

San Diego County leaders move to exclude SDSU from case rate calculation

On Tuesday, San Diego County's coronavirus case rate climbed to 7.9, placing many local businesses in jeopardy of having to shut down once again.

This disturbing development came as San Diego State University's COVID-19 case count continued to increase, and university officials announced an expanded testing program to begin on Wednesday

In the meantime, as the state released San Diego county's latest case rate of 7.9, County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten made it clear that if San Diego State's numbers were taken out of the equation, the local case rate would only be 6.0. 

Click here for the full story.

Where San Diego County stands in California's colored COVID-19 tier system

San Diego’s case rate jumped well into Tier 1 status Tuesday, putting some county businesses at risk of being forced to close indoor operations. The county’s unadjusted case rate increased to 7.9, but after adjusting for doing below average testing, the state calculated the county’s rate at 8.1.

If the county’s case rate remains above 7.0 for 14 consecutive days, through Sept. 22, county Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H. said we could be placed in Tier 1. However, this week, the county will remain in Tier 2.

You can read the full story here.

SDSU announces plan to test all students living on campus

Adela de la Torre, Ph.D., San Diego State University President, and other school administration leaders released a statement addressed to the SDSU community on Tuesday announcing a new initiative for students and COVID-19 testing.

In partnership with the San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) the university announced that it has developed a plan to test all students living on campus for COVID-19 through a new random testing initiative: SDSU’s COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Plan.

Click here for the full story.

County Supervisors approve $14 million small business grant relief program

San Diego County Supervisors approved a small business relief plan on Tuesday. The vote determined how much money each district will receive from the program.

District 2 Supervisor Dianne Jacob recommended more than $4 million be handed out to small businesses. The individual grants are between $5,000 and $25,000.  

For the full story, click here

Doctor: Flu shots can help with health care resources during COVID-19

An infectious disease expert for Scripps Health reminded San Diegans Tuesday to get influenza shots early this season to avoid potentially overloading the region's medical system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"If you normally get the flu shot each year, then now is the time to make arrangements for your vaccination, and if you rarely or never get a shot, then this is the year to start doing it," said Dr. Siu Ming Geary, an internal medicine physician and vice president of primary care for Scripps Clinic Medical Group.

Click here for the full story.

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

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.

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.