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San Diego officials remind public to remain vigilant amid coronavirus pandemic

County Office of Emergency Services Director Jeff Toney said the majority of the county’s 18 cities have proclaimed local emergencies.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The County of San Diego reinforced Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order to shelter at home and provided new details about its response efforts at a news conference Saturday. Representatives for the City of San Diego have also echoed similar messages following the stay at home order.

County Office of Emergency Services Director Jeff Toney said the majority of the county’s 18 cities have proclaimed local emergencies.

“This is an all-time record for any emergency within the county,” said Toney. “This shows you that COVID-19 is affecting everyone.”

Toney said the County is leaning forward to build capacity and capability, as well as support our medical professionals, focusing on a community approach to keep San Diego residents safe and healthy. He also thanked the agencies involved in the response, many of which have representatives at the County Emergency Operations Center, including the governor’s Office of Emergency Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Sheriff’s Department, County Fire, San Diego Police Department, the American Red Cross, 2-1-1 San Diego, the County Office of Education and many community and faith-based organizations.

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Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten emphasized the importance of the governor’s order and reminded residents that it is safer to stay at home.

“I ask you again both personally and as the Public Health Officer that we come together in a collective manner to begin to bend the curve. Every one of us has a vital role in this goal,” said Dr. Wooten.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher also provided further clarification on the governor’s stay-at-home directive. He said essential services include restaurant carry out and quick service food operations, workers supporting childcare establishments, and construction workers as well as commercial retail stores that supply essential sectors such as convenience stores, pet supply stores, auto supply and repair, hardware and home improvement.  See the full list of essential critical infrastructure workers.

Supervising public information officer Jose Ysea with the City of San Diego issued the following statement Saturday about outdoor activities and the need for social distancing in public places:

“The State of California has issued a Stay-at-Home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This requires Californians to stay at home with certain exceptions, including caregiving, getting necessary health care, purchasing groceries and working to support an essential industry. San Diegans are still able to participate in outdoor activities such as walking, jogging and biking, as long as they follow the social distancing requirement of at least six feet and gatherings of no more than 10 people. Limiting exposure is the best action to take to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

County Public Health Orders Remain in Place

People — even those in essential services — should continue to follow the public health orders:

  • People are encouraged not to gather in groups of any size unless it’s necessary.
  • Day care must be limited to groups of up to 10 children in the same room and must remain in the same group each day with the same staff person.
  • People 65 years of age and older, or anyone who has a chronic underlying condition or who is immunocompromised, should stay home.
  • Hospitals must conserve resources and delay non-emergency surgeries and elective procedures.

Business ordered closed include:

  • Bars and adult-entertainment establishments that serve alcohol and not food
  • Restaurants must close dining-areas, but may serve food for take-out, drive-through, or delivery
  • Schools
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Hair and nail salons

Social Distancing to Flatten the Curve

Public health officials are urging people to “flatten the curve” of the novel coronavirus by staying home and keeping at least six feet away from other people unless they’re family. That would keep the virus from racing through populations, making everyone sick in a huge spike that could overwhelm hospitals and healthcare systems.

People can practice social distancing by staying at home — parents working remotely and students taking classes online. Businesses should also practice social distancing by keeping employees and customers at least six feet apart, if in an essential job, as well as working remotely, if possible.

People can go out to get food or other essentials, assist a family member or friend, get medical attention, pick up medications, or go to work as an “essential” employee.

Local COVID-19 Cases

Through 5 p.m. Saturday, the County total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 159 — up by 28 from Friday — with no deaths.

Of the 159 cases 135 were San Diego County residents and 13 were non-residents. Cases under federal quarantine remained the same at 11.

Of the 159 cases, 102 were people between the ages of 20 and 49; 18 were between 50 and 59; and 36 were 60 or older. The County’s daily coronavirus in San Diego webpage now also breaks down the number of cases by city and unincorporated communities.

What Everyone Can Do to Minimize Chances of Getting COVID-19

People can help limit the spread of infection, by taking these steps:

  • Wash your hands often to help protect you from germs.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if soap and water are not available. It should contain at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home and keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then wash your hands.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

Get COVID-19 Info Via Text

County residents can now receive information about the novel coronavirus via text thanks to the County COVID-19 public information text message alert system. The system allows County health officials to send real-time information about COVID-19 in the region. To sign up to receive the messages, text COSD COVID19 to 468-311. The system was set up to let County public health officials issue information and instructions on changes related to COVID-19 in the region.

If you have individual questions, please talk to your health care provider. For community resources, please call 2-1-1 San Diego or visit 211sandiego.org or the County’s Coronavirus Disease webpage.

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