SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The COVID-19 death toll in San Diego County neared four dozen Monday, with two new fatalities reported, raising the county total to 47. Health officials announced 43 new cases of the virus, bringing the total to 1,847.
Both new deaths were females, one in her late 90s, the other aged 100.
San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said of the confirmed cases in the county ages of patients range from 3 months to 100 years old. She said all but two of those who have died in San Diego County from the novel coronavirus have had underlying health conditions.
Wooten reiterated that the virus significantly impacts older adults and those with medical conditions including heart disease, chronic lung disease, compromised immune systems, asthma, and diabetes.
She also thanked the public for "staying the course" and staying home.
"I am confident that our collective efforts are working," Dr. Wooten said.
The number of hospitalizations in the county grew from 415 to 420, and the number of patients in intensive care rose from 152 to 156. The county estimates 556 positive-testing individuals have recovered.
The trends over the weekend appeared favorable, with slow growth and few additional deaths, but health officials warned against reading too much into the figures. Dr. Eric McDonald, the county's director of the epidemiology branch, said the public should be looking at long-term trends, and those trends are still increasing.
County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher reported that 13 homeless individuals in the county were among those who have tested positive for COVID- 19 -- to date, no temporary residents of the San Diego Convention Center have tested positive.
Fletcher encouraged residents to continue measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 such as hand washing, wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Fletcher's reminder came after California Governor Gavin Newsom spoke Monday about potential plans to re-open businesses in the state.
"We have had success as a region in flattening the curve. We have had success as a region in slowing the transmission of coronavirus," said Fletcher. "But if that success changes because our posture and our actions in the coming weeks change then we will significantly set back any efforts and any desires on the part of folks to begin the process of rebuilding."
Jamye Pritchett Solorzano of the U.S. Small Business Administration also spoke at Monday's briefing about resources for small businesses struggling in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Pritchett Solorzano highlighted four programs by the SBA to support all types of small businesses including: the Paycheck Protection Program, the EIDL Loan Advance, SBA Express Bridge Loans, and SBA Debt Relief.
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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
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
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.