SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Editor’s note: This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego and California from Oct. 18 - 20 (afternoon), 2020. Click here for real-time updates for Oct. 20, 2020 and on.
Key COVID-19 facts in San Diego and California:
San Diego County inches closer to purple tier, awaits data from state
The county awaits data from the state Tuesday which could forecast a tipping point toward closing some businesses again. No new deaths were reported Monday, and the death toll remains at 853.
The county will receive an update about its data from the California Department of Public Health and how it fits into the state's four-tier reopening plan. Rising case rates could tip San Diego County into the "purple" tier, the state's most restrictive.
San Diego pediatrician serving on state's COVID vaccine safety panel
As a number of coronavirus vaccine trials continue nationwide, safety continues to be a major concern. On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a special independent panel of top California doctors and scientists, charged with reviewing any COVID-19 vaccine before it is rolled out for distribution statewide.
Sitting on the 11-member statewide scientific safety review workgroup is Dr. Mark Sawyer, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.
County health officials report 380 new COVID-19 positive cases, no new community outbreaks
8,850 tests were reported to the County on Oct. 18, and the percentage of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 4%. Of those tested, 380 were confirmed positive.
No new community outbreaks were confirmed on Oct. 18, but in the past seven days (Oct. 12 through Oct. 18), 31 community outbreaks were confirmed. The number of community outbreaks remains above the trigger of seven or more in seven days.
No new COVID-19 deaths were reported in San Diego County on Oct. 18. The region’s total remains at 853.
Gov. Newsom sets sight on vaccine review group while hospitalizations are going up modestly
On Monday at noon, Gov. Newsom gave a statewide COVID-19 update, which you can watch here. Newsom said California health experts from a variety of fields will independently assess any coronavirus vaccines, adding that California simply won't "take anyone's word for it" when it comes to assuring the safety and effectiveness of a potential vaccine. California's Scientific Safety Review Workgroup includes a San Diegan, Dr. Mark Sawyer. California is urging people to be patient.
“While a small number of doses of an FDA-approved vaccine could be deployed before year’s end, the reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us well into 2021 – and widespread vaccine distribution likely won’t occur for many more months,” said Dr. Erica Pan, California's acting State Public Health Officer.
San Diego County inches closer to purple tier which would put limits on businesses
San Diego County will, again, flirt with having a case rate that puts it on the path toward moving into the purple tier this week, the highest under California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. If the county’s adjusted case rate is above 7 when it’s calculated Tuesday, it could start a countdown toward potentially limiting retail capacity and forcing some businesses to operate exclusively outdoors.
San Diego County reports 373 new COVID-19 cases
San Diego County public health officials Sunday reported 373 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths, bringing the county's totals to 52,355 and the death toll remaining at 853.
Officials are imploring San Diegans to maintain vigilance as positive case rates for the coronavirus continue to increase in the region.
Businesses worried spike in county COVID cases could mean a shutdown
San Diego County officials say San Diego is living on the edge of going into the higher, more restrictive "purple" tier if case numbers don’t drop. They are urging San Diegans to do everything they can to reduce their exposure to the virus in order to avoid moving to the most restrictive tier.
But many local business owners say they’ve already had an extremely difficult time trying to operate and don’t want to be forced to scale back or shut down.
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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.