SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Editor’s note: This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego and California from Sept. 29 - Oct. 1 (afternoon), 2020. Click here for real-time updates for Oct. 1 2020 and on.
Key COVID-19 facts in San Diego and California:
Students from 10 Poway Unified elementary schools return for in-person learning
Students from 10 Poway elementary schools were back in class Thursday for in-person learning. That’s nearly one-third of Poway Unified’s 36,000 students.
It was treated as a day of celebration at Canyon View Elementary School Thursday morning as kids walked in. There were balloons and smiling faces under masks as parents who opted in to in-person instruction made their way through the drop off line.
San Diego city libraries to reopen in limited capacity with in-person services
Mayor Kevin Faulconer Thursday announced that San Diego Public Libraries would reopen Saturday, Oct. 3, for the first time since mid-March.
A dozen libraries will reopen to the public in a limited capacity accompanied by a new program – SD Access4All – targeted at bridging the digital divide while maintaining existing COVID-19 programs and practices.
San Diego City Councilmembers potentially exposed to COVID-19
San Diego City Councilmembers were potentially exposed to COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson with the city.
An employee who interacted with "in the city council chambers" tested positive for the virus, Craig Gustafson, Director of Communications with the City of San Diego said in a statement to News 8 on Wednesday. He did not identify which councilmembers were exposed but said each person who was in proximity of the person who tested positive was informed.
New COVID-19 study offers ways to slow down spread in San Diego's Latino community
A new Chicano Federation and UC San Diego study titled "Perceptions of Contact Tracing among San Diego Latinos analyzes the impacts of COVID-19 on San Diego’s Latino community.
"[We are] really educating people about contact tracing, what it is and why it is so important to participate,” said Nancy Maldonado, the Chicano Federation Chief Executive Officer.
San Diego's COVID-19 case rate remains in red tier, county expands K-12 testing
San Diego County’s case rate remained within the limits of the red tier this week but is well above what is needed to move to orange. The state calculated the county’s unadjusted rate at 7.2, but after including credits for doing more than the state median testing volume, it was adjusted to 6.7.
San Diego added an average of 249 cases each day this week as of Wednesday. It needs to have an average of less than 133 new cases a day for 14 consecutive days to have an unadjusted case rate that would qualify it for the orange tier. Testing credits and, a soon to be announced, equity metric for helping high-need communities may help the county reach the tier sooner.
San Diego County discusses testing strategy for school districts at county briefing
San Diego County public health officials reported 195 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths Wednesday, raising the county's totals to 47,180 cases and 783 fatalities.
The new cases come as county playgrounds reopened to the public Wednesday morning, and while county schools are not yet open for in-person learning, that appears poised to change in the near future.
Paul Gothold, San Diego County's superintendent of schools, said schedules for the county's many districts and charter schools have not been built yet, but they were coming.
To help deal with the incoming school populations, the county will run four testing sites for school staff only, with locations in Chula Vista and San Diego on Thursday, one in Del Mar on Friday and one in El Cajon on Monday.
The details and locations for these new free, drop-in testing sites were being finalized, Gothold said.
Additionally, the county has expanded its total testing sites to 41 locations, and school staff, including teachers, cafeteria workers, janitors and bus drivers, can be tested for free at any one of those sites. A rotating rural testing program with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection was in the works for schools in the backcountry of the county.
There are no state testing requirements for children, but all school staff who interact with children must be tested every two months. Were schools to open before San Diego County headed to a more restrictive tier in the state's monitoring system, they would not be affected. However, if a move to a different tier happened before schools opened, it would change the game plan, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.
If parents do want to test their children for the illness, they have options, including Rady Children's Hospital, through Kaiser Permanente or through the 41 sites the county manages. Children as young as six months can be tested at the county-run sites.
Of the 10,709 tests reported Wednesday, 2% returned positive, dropping the 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases to 3%. The state- set target is less than 8%. The seven-day daily average of tests was 9,357.
Of the total number of cases in the county, 3,525 -- or 7.5% -- have required hospitalization and 822 -- or 1.7% of all cases -- had to be admitted to an intensive care unit. The current COVID-19 hospital population is 250, with 74 in ICUs.
San Diego County remains in red tier
San Diego County will remain in the red tier for COVID-19 cases, with a state-adjusted case rate of 6.7 per 100,000 residents, the county's public health officer told the Board of Supervisors during their meeting on Tuesday.
California officials announced changes to the monitoring system for counties on Tuesday. County public health officials said their unadjusted case rate was above 7.0, at 7.2. However, because testing levels were above the state median testing volume, the county's adjustment level was decreased.
Grossmont Union High School District reopens to in-person learning
With masks on, temperature checks, and social distancing in check, students at Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD), were back for day one of in-person instruction on Tuesday
Students were welcomed onto campus for a modified version of in-person instruction. CBS 8 spoke with the Superintendent Theresa Kemper and a few students as they walked in for the first time.
View all News 8 coverage of coronavirus / COVID-19
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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
- Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
- Outside your home: Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
- Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
- Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
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.
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.