SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego County health officials were not yet ready to declare the recent uptick in coronavirus cases a trend, citing the need for more data. This weekend, there were more than 600 new confirmed cases, far more than any other day since the pandemic began. The new cases came during a week when the county continued to increase its testing capacity.
The county has 13 triggers that could require a modification to the health officer’s order. So far, San Diego has only hit one metric, having more than seven outbreaks in community settings during the previous seven days, but it was attributed to batches of old data that are just being recorded.
The increase has occurred as more businesses are reopening and was not completely unexpected. However, unlike the previous spikes in cases, more of the latest cases are occurring in residents of northern communities, such as Fallbrook, Vista and Lemon Grove.
Health officials continued to stress the importance of masks and hand washing. Many educational resources have been targeting South Bay communities, which saw their rate of cases at or below the county average.
Businesses are required to mandate customers wear masks or refuse service except in some circumstances.
“Some customers don't feel we need to do this, but this is not for them. This is for the customer that actually is taking this seriously,” said Victor Lopez, owner of El Pollo Grill, which has locations in some of the hardest-hit areas.
Even as cases rise, health officials are loath to shutter swaths of industries because tracers have not found any commonalities among places where outbreaks have occurred. The three most recent cases happened at a construction firm, a retail manufacturer and a retail business.
Instead, they are taking a more surgical approach by shutting down or educating scofflaw businesses. No enforcement action was taken over the weekend.
“It shouldn't be the job of law enforcement to have to go out and enforce these things," said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher." We are counting on the public to buy in and support and the reality is there are great challenges here because there's so much misinformation that gets shared about the validity of face coverings. I think that that mindset is certainly what's contributing to a significant increase in cases, both cases, percentage of positives and outbreaks.”