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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Indoor operations to halt Wednesday at various San Diego County businesses

"The pandemic is not over," San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten reminded county residents last week.

SAN DIEGO — Starting Wednesday, indoor operations at various businesses throughout San Diego County will cease in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 cases.

Following Gov. Gavin Newsom's updated health order Monday, all indoor operations will halt at midnight in gyms, houses of worship, non-critical office businesses, hair salons and barber shops, indoor malls and personal care services, such as massage businesses and tattoo parlors.

County health officials reported 419 new positive COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the county case total to 20,348 while the death toll remains at 422. Of the 6,542 tests reported Monday, 6% returned positive, in line with the 14-day rolling average.

Additionally, the smoke from the fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego could cause potential health problems for those most susceptible to COVID-19, including the elderly and those with heart or lung conditions, health officials said. Supervisor Nathan Fletcher asked residents who smell smoke or experience eye irritation to remain indoors with doors and windows closed and to avoid strenuous exercise.

Nick Macchione, San Diego County's director of the Health and Human Services Agency offered some more bad news Monday when he reported the county's COVID-19 testing capacity was stretched to its limit. Local biotechnology company Helix did announce a partnership with the county to provide 2,000 tests a day with a 24-hour turnaround for the foreseeable future, but supplies both locally and nationally remain critically low.

"I'll be clear and frank, it's not a testing windfall," Macchione said of the partnership.

Although the county has averaged more than 8,000 tests per day over the last week, a shortage in testing supplies has stretched supply lines to the limit, County Supervisor Greg Cox said Monday.

Before the partnership with Helix, Macchione said the county was seriously considering doing what some other jurisdictions in the country have done and close state- or county-run testing sites to better consolidate resources. For now, the county can keep all testing sites open and honor all existing appointments for tests, but both Macchione and San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten explained the county would shift testing priorities back to those showing symptoms and those most at risk for the illness -- including the elderly, first responders and those with underlying health conditions.

Of the total positive cases, 2,052 or 10.1% have been hospitalized and 538 or 2.6% of cases have been admitted to an intensive care unit.

No new community outbreaks were reported Monday, but the weekly total - - 17 -- is still well above the county's metric of no more than seven in a one-week span.

About 137 of every 100,000 San Diegans are testing positive for the illness, well above the state's criterion of 100 per 100,000. Total COVID-19 hospitalizations have inched up over the last several weeks and now sit at 467,159 of which 159 are in intensive care units.

"The pandemic is not over," Wooten reminded county residents last week. "The disease is still widespread in our community, as evidenced by the rising cases." 

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