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Coronavirus in San Diego and California: May 21 - 23, 2020

This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego and California from May 21 - 23, 2020

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Editor’s note: This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego and California from May 21 - 23, 2020.  Click here for real-time updates for May 24, 2020 and on.   

Key facts in San Diego: 

Key facts in California:

  • California governor issued a statewide stay at home order on March 19.
  • There are 90,631 confirmed cases in California and 3,708  deaths, according to the CA Department of Public Health.
  • 3,024 Californians are hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 1,079 are in the ICU, according to the CA Department of Public Health.
  • 1,505,306 tests have been conducted as of May 20, according to the CA.gov.
  • A senior hotline has been set up to answer questions at 833-544-2374.

May 23

Fashion Valley reopens with new guidelines brought on from COVID pandemic

The upscale outdoor mall is the first major shopping center in San Diego to reopen after the county approved a plan allowing restaurants and retail shops to open.

For a full list of what the mall is doing to keep shoppers, and tenants safe, click here

Flagship cruises will reopen, bay tours will start Sunday 

Flagship Cruises and Events has announced its San Diego Bay cruises will resume on Saturday, with new measures in place to help protect patrons and staff from the coronavirus.

The daily harbor tour and Patriot Jet Boat cruises will open with limited capacity to allow for social distancing, and masks will be required for passengers and employees.

Dinner cruises will resume May 29. The company is accepting reservations for all tours.

May 22

California's April jobless rate higher than Great Recession

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's unemployment rate nearly tripled to 15.5% in April. The nation's most populous state has lost more jobs in one month than it did during the two-and-a-half year Great Recession a decade ago. 

The unemployment rate increased 10.2 percentage points since March. It's the largest one month increase since 1976 when the state began using its current formula to measure job losses. 

Nationwide, the unemployment rate reached 14.7% as all 50 states plus the District of Columbia reported increased job losses. The California numbers reflect survey results from the week of April 12. 

The numbers are likely far higher now.  

Loosened restrictions, holiday weekend to test California

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Millions of Californians are heading into the Memorial Day weekend with both excitement and anxiety after restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus were eased across much of the state. 

More than 40 counties have been allowed to move beyond takeout service and curbside shopping in the most drastic scaling back of the stay-at-home orders since the governor issued them in mid-March. 

California was the first in the nation to issue such a statewide mandate, and it was among the last to loosen restrictions. 

Police, lifeguards and other officials were warning people to not forget about the seriousness of the virus.  

California mountain resort city won't enforce state orders

BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (AP) — A popular Southern California mountain resort city is heading into the Memorial Day weekend with a decision to not enforce Gov. Gavin Newsom’s orders aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

The city of Big Bear Lake argues it has kept COVID-19 cases manageable and there has been significant economic harm. The city says it encourages social distancing, face coverings and good hygiene, but it has no legal responsibilities to enforce the state orders.

 A city statement says it is referring all inquiries, complaints and concerns to the governor’s office and the state health department. Big Bear Lake is about a two-hour drive northeast of Los Angeles.

Governor Newsom gives general update on the state's response to coronavirus

Governor Newsom addressed a myriad of issues in his address Friday. He started out by bringing the Secretary of Veteran Affairs in California to talk about what they did to keep such a vulnerable population safe from coronavirus.

He then touched on churches reopening, contact tracing, and where the state is with PPE. 

For a full rundown on the talk, or to watch it in its entirety, click here

San Diego Lifeguards step up patrols at beaches over Memorial Day weekend

San Diego Lifeguards are stepping up patrols just like they would for any holiday weekend. Beachgoers will see a higher number of officers over the Memorial Day weekend.

The City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) Lifeguard Division said they are fully staffed and ready to manage visitors to city beaches during the Memorial Day weekend.

Read the full story.

San Diego Library to open 11 branches for contact-free pickup service on May 26

The San Diego Public Library will begin offering contact-free pickup service at 11 of its branches beginning Tuesday, May 26, city staff announced Friday.

Starting Tuesday, pickup service will be available Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the following locations: 

  • Carmel Valley 
  • College-Rolando
  • La Jolla/Riford 
  • Logan Heights
  • Mira Mesa
  • Mission Hills-Hillcrest/Knox 
  • Mission Valley 
  • Point Loma/Hervey 
  • Rancho Bernardo 
  • San Ysidro
  • Valencia Park/Malcolm X

Read the full story.

Old Glory to fly at half-staff to honor coronavirus victims

The American flag will be flown at half-staff at all public buildings through sunset Sunday to honor the victims of the coronavirus pandemic under a proclamation by President Donald Trump.

"Our nation mourns for every life lost to the coronavirus pandemic, and we share in the suffering of all those who endured pain and illness from the outbreak," reads the proclamation issued by Trump Thursday.

Read the full story.

May 21

What’s allowed, not allowed in San Diego restaurants, stores

Restaurants and stores can now open to serve customers in person. However, they must follow specific guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Guidelines for dine-in restaurants are:

  • Temperature/symptom screening for employees daily
  • Employees with symptoms are not allowed to work
  • All tables need to be six feet apart or have barriers separating them
  • Signs need to be posted reminding customers to social distance
  • Employees must wear facial coverings
  • Customers must wear facial coverings except when seated
  • No self-service such as buffets, salad bars, soda machines, etc.
  • Encourage reservations
  • Expand outdoor seating

Read the full story.

San Diego Westfield malls will reopen next week

Following state approval for in-restaurant dining and in-store retail Wednesday night, Westfield shopping centers in San Diego, which include Westfield UTC, Mission Valley, North County, and Plaza Bonita, announced they will re-open on Friday, May 29. 

Read the full story

Chicano Federation says San Diego reopening puts Latinos at risk

Some critics say an accelerated phase two reopening is too much too soon. One San Diego group is worried the move could fuel a second wave of coronavirus illnesses and put more vulnerable groups, like the Latino community, at risk.

Chicano Federation CEO Nancy Maldonado said reopening San Diego's economy could prove to be drastic for the Latino community.

Click here for the full story.

Big cuts could hit little Californians: $1 billion in preschool and child care dollars at risk

Even the littlest Californians have not been spared in the governor’s big proposal to cut a budget decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ambitious plans to expand free preschool for low-income children and increase state support for child care now are on the chopping block. He also has proposed cuts to existing, early childhood funding that advocates worry could force child care providers to reduce the number of kids they serve, or even close their businesses.

Click here for the full story.

UC regents suspend requirement for SAT, ACT test scores for admissions 

The University of California Board of Regents voted today to suspend the requirement for SAT and ACT scores for students applying for admission as freshmen to its nine campuses, which include UC San Diego, through fall 2024.

The plan is to create a new test that better reflects preparedness and is equitable to all applicants. However, if a new test does not meet specified criteria in time for fall 2025 admission, UC will do away with the standardized testing requirement for California students. Details have not yet been worked out for out-of-state and international students beginning in 2025.

UC President Janet Napolitano said it was a sea change in policy.

"Today's decision by the board marks a significant change for the university's undergraduate admissions," Napolitano said in a statement issued by the board. "We are removing the ACT/SAT requirement for California students and developing a new test that more closely aligns with what we expect incoming students to know to demonstrate their preparedness for UC."

Inside the 'new normal' | Why some San Diego County restaurants are reopening and others aren't

Some restaurants reopened Thursday for dine-in services with safety modifications. The restaurant experience may look a little different now in San Diego County. This is what local restaurant owners had to say.

San Diego County increases daily testing numbers, stresses safety guidelines as restaurants reopen

San Diego County health officials held a news conference to discuss COVID-19 cases and the state's approval of San Diego County's move further into Stage 2 reopening, allowing dine-in restaurants and in-store retail businesses, with modifications. San Diego County has received word that California approved its request to allow dining at restaurants and in-store shopping, both with social distancing restrictions. You can watch Thursday's update here.

Pandemic steals most from immigrant working women

Early estimates indicate that the coronavirus pandemic has stolen jobs from non-citizen workers — including immigrants who have green cards, work visas or are undocumented — in California at higher rates than citizens. And women have suffered greater job loss than men.

But it’s the Californians at that intersection, women who aren’t citizens, who have experienced the most devastating job losses, according to a study published Wednesday by UC Merced Community and Labor Center researchers.

Click here for the full story.

Some San Diego restaurants open for dine-in, but not everyone is comfortable with the idea

After being closed down for several weeks, many businesses across the county are getting ready to open their doors this week. San Diego County has been given the green light to move further into Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan. 

Click here for the full story.

CVS Health to open 14 new drive-thru COVID-19 test sites in California

Building on the company’s comprehensive efforts to help slow the spread of the virus, on Friday, May 22 CVS Health will open 14 new COVID-19 test sites at select CVS Pharmacy drive-thru locations across California. 

These new sites will utilize self-swab tests and mark the next phase of the company’s nationwide COVID-19 testing strategy, announced April 27. CVS Health expects to have up to 1,000 locations across the country offering this service by the end of May, with the goal of processing up to 1.5 million tests per month, subject to availability of supplies and lab capacity.

Click here for a list of locations in San Diego.

San Diego approved by the state for Stage 2 reopening

The state of California has now approved San Diego's "attestation" to move forward with "Expanded Stage 2 with Attestation" of reopening, according to San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. 

The approval gives the green light for in-dinning restaurants, with modifications, and in-store retail, with modifications, to reopen. 

Read the story here.


RELATED: Some San Diego restaurants open for dine-in, but not everyone is comfortable with the idea

RELATED: CDC releases new guidelines for reopening schools, restaurants

RELATED: CVS Health to open 7 new drive-thru COVID-19 test sites in San Diego County

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. 


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. 


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