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Coronavirus in San Diego and California: May 19 - May 21 (midday), 2020

This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego and California from May 19 - May 21 (midday), 2020.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Editor’s note: This story shows updates about the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego and California from May 19 - May 21 (midday), 2020.  Click here for real-time updates for May 21, 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 81,795 confirmed cases in California and 3,334  deaths, according to the CA Department of Public Health.
  • 3,073 Californians are hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 1,076 are in the ICU, according to the CA Department of Public Health.
  • 1,339,316 tests have been conducted as of May 18, according to the CA.gov.
  • A senior hotline has been set up to answer questions at 833-544-2374.

May 21

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.

May 20

COVID-19's lasting impact on the entertainment industry

On Wednesday, Governor Newsom hosted a virtual round table with television and film crew members in California to brainstorm safety standards for getting the industry back to work. You can watch it all here.

San Diego restaurants anxious to reopen for the 'new normal'

The California Department of Public Health is reviewing San Diego County's 'phase two plus' plans, which could include in-person dining. Here's what the process looks like.

Sycuan Casino reopens, 3 more casinos will follow this week

Sycuan Casino reopened to the public Wednesday, becoming the second of five tribal casinos that will open its doors this week.

Viejas Casino and Resort reopened on Monday, Jamul Casino will reopen on Thursday and Valley View Casino & Hotel and Harrah's Resort Southern California will reopen Friday.

Bingo and poker will remain closed as part of Sycuan's phased reopening. Restaurants will operate for limited hours and gaming areas will require appropriate spacing between players and staff. 

Click here for the full story.

The psychology behind crowds heading to areas as they reopen

Krispy Kreme gave out free donuts to the class of 2020 on Tuesday and some people waited 3 hours in line to get them. Three hours for donuts! 

Mental health experts say, under the current coronavirus conditions, they aren't surprised.

Click here for the full story.

San Diego County officials reiterate restaurants cannot open for dine-in service until approved by state

San Diego County officials reported 114 additional cases of COVID-19 and 8 additional reported deaths Wednesday bringing the county totals to 6,140 cases and 230 deaths.  

County of San Diego supervisors Greg Cox and Nathan Fletcher both reminded locals Wednesday that in-person dining cannot resume at restaurants until it is approved by the state. Cox said that the plan has been sent to Governor Gavin Newsom and the county is awaiting approval.

Click here for the full story.

Chula Vista church appeals judge's denial to reopen 

A Chula Vista church that sued Gov. Gavin Newsom to halt enforcement of the ban on in-person religious gatherings during the COVID- 19 pandemic is appealing a San Diego federal judge's denial of its request to reopen.

South Bay United Pentecostal Church and its senior pastor, Bishop Arthur Hodges III, sued Newsom and a host of other state and local officials earlier this month for placing churches and other places of worship under Stage 3 of California's reopening plan, which also includes movie theaters, salons and gyms.

The lawsuit alleges state and local elected officials have "intentionally denigrated California churches and pastors and people of faith by relegating them to third-class citizenship."

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant denied the request, saying the state's order placed churches under Stage 3 because "the services involve people sitting together in a closed environment for long periods of time," rather than any motivation against religion.

The judge noted that similar restrictions have been placed on a variety of secular industries and that alternatives such as drive-in and remote services remain in place for people to engage in worship activities.

Padres and San Diego County Office of Education team up for message to grads

The San Diego County Office of Education and the San Diego Padres are teaming up to celebrate local high school seniors whose graduation ceremonies have gone virtual or been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced on Wednesday.

The Padres created a video message congratulating the Class of 2020 on their upcoming graduation. It features Ty France, a Padres third baseman who graduated from San Diego State University. 

To watch the video, click here

Too soon? San Diego County supervisors vote to reopen more business types

San Diego County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to accelerate Stage 2 reopenings. The move means there could soon be in-person dining at local restaurants and in-person shopping at retail stores as long as they can still follow social-distancing guidelines.

But the board of supervisors didn’t end their push to reopen the county there. They also voted overwhelmingly to formally ask Governor Gavin Newsom to give San Diego the right to accelerate the reopening of several Stage 3 businesses - including salons, fitness clubs and outdoor religious services.

Click here for the full story.

May 19

San Diego Border Patrol agents flying deportees to Mexico City in effort to decrease spread of COVID-19

U.S. Border Patrol agents in San Diego began repatriating Mexican nationals to Mexico City on Tuesday in an effort to decrease the spread of the novel coronavirus along the border, federal officials said

Between March 20 and May 15, U.S. border agents saw an increase in Mexican nationals who made repeated attempts to enter the U.S. illegally and bypass public health measures, San Diego Border Patrol agent Justin Castrejon said. Some have re-entered the U.S. illegally more than 10 times within the past two months, he said. 

Click here for the full story.

What does accelerated Stage 2 reopening mean for San Diego?

San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to send an accelerated Stage 2 reopening plan to the state. It also voted 4-1 to request permission to reopen some Stage 3 businesses.

The vote came a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom relaxed some of the metrics used by counties to determine when they can move through Stage 2. County leaders called the state’s previous guidelines “unrealistic” for urban counties. 

Click here for the full story.

San Diego mayor releases updated proposed budget for fiscal year 2021

 San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer released an updated proposed budget Tuesday for fiscal year 2021.

The mayor said the proposed budget restores recreation center hours and reserve funding, and prioritizes federal CARES Act stimulus funds for homeless services, small businesses and childcare for frontline workers. 

Click here for the full story.

County of San Diego reports new COVID-19 numbers

The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency on Tuesday reported 80 additional COVID-19 cases and 11 new reported deaths bringing the region's totals to 6,026 cases and 222 deaths. 

California community college chancellor endorses going online-only this fall

California’s 115 community colleges will likely remain an online system of higher education in the fall, its chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said Monday.

“As we transition to the fall, many of our colleges have already announced that they’re going fully online in the fall,” Oakley said. “I encourage them to continue to do so. I fully believe that that will be the most relevant way for us to continue to reach our students and to do it in a way that commits to maintaining equity for our students.”

The remarks further highlight the massive change confronting California’s public higher-education students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also underscores how higher education’s emergency measures to address the health risk are becoming longer-term solutions to ensure public safety.

Click here for the full story.

Board of Supervisors approves county’s plan for accelerated reopening

The San Diego Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve the county's plan for an accelerated reopening of San Diego County. In a separate vote, the board passed another item by a vote of 4-1 for San Diego to become a pilot program to open some Stage 3 businesses. Supevisor Nathan Fletcher was the one party who voted against the Stage 3 plan and elaborated on his votes on Twitter.  

Health officials told the board they are confident the region meets new state criteria that would allow it to move further into Stage 2 of the California resiliency roadmap.

The plan will now be immediately submitted to the California Department of Public Health for review.

Click here for the full story.

How Newsom budget yanks back Medi-Cal health care gains for low-income residents in California

In the last few years, California began restoring benefits in its Medi-Cal program that were cut during the last recession more than a decade ago. And in January, Gov. Gavin Newsom had even proposed expansions and deep investments that were poised to transform the multi-billion dollar health coverage program for low-income residents.  

Then coronavirus happened. And how the picture has changed.

The state’s revised budget released last week shows that the Golden State’s new economic reality will almost certainly hit the Medi-Cal program with cuts in services and provider rates, as well as rescinded expansions. The list of proposed changes is sweeping, from canceling coverage expansion to more older Californians – including undocumented seniors – to cuts in some adult dental services.

Click here for the full story.

Online training program available for teachers to recognize exploitation amid pandemic

The San Diego Trafficking Prevention Collective, formed last year, is now providing online training to help teachers take notice of signs of potential exploitation, even while distance learning is the only way to monitor students.

For more information on the course, click here

Supervisors Fletcher and Jacob to present $34 million stimulus package Tuesday

San Diego County Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Diane Jacob say they will introduce a $34 million economic stimulus package designed to assist local businesses struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic to the full Board of Supervisors Tuesday at 9 a.m.

The proposed Economic and Humanitarian Stimulus Package from federal CARES Act funding would also be used for more behavioral health and child welfare services. You can watch it live here.

The Old Globe postpones 2020 Summer Season productions to 2021

The Old Globe Tuesday announced that it is moving the productions in its 2020 Summer Season to the summer of 2021, although exact dates have not been settled upon. The season’s titles include a classic American musical, a new adaptation of a 20th century thriller, and two of Shakespeare’s masterworks on the Globe’s outdoor stage.

Read the full story.

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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. 

BACKGROUND  

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.