SAN DIEGO — Chairman Greg Cox, Dr. Wilma Wooten, Dr. Eric McDonald, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, HHSA Director Nick Macchione, and Dr. Nick Yphantides gave a COVID-19 update in San Diego County on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. You can watch the entire update here.
“It is truly a global pandemic,” said Cox, referring to San Diego’s relationship with Baja California.
Cox said Gaspar’s letter to Vice President Mike Pence helped open up communication between county and White House. Someone from the Department of Homeland Security contacted McDonald to see how they can help at the border and screening essential workers.
Fletcher emphasized three key factors in the fight against COVID-19: Testing, diagnostic tracing, and treatment.
“It is not just testing. It is all three of those components,” said Fletcher.
Macchione said San Diego County is an early leader in all three categories.
“The number of tracers has surpassed 100 and this week, an additional 20 tracers will be added," said Macchione. "These are our disease detectives and a critical component of our T3 strategy.”
The county's Health and Human Services Agency is focusing on isolating people with confirmed COVID-19 infections and quarantining their close contacts. To assess and increase testing capabilities, the county has organized a Laboratory Testing Task Force of local hospitals, relevant clinics and commercial laboratory systems. Right now, labs in the region can test more than 3,400 specimens per day. The County Task Force has set a goal of testing nearly 5,200 people a day, with that figure based on Harvard research being used by the state and federal government to set COVID-19 testing numbers.
Additionally, Wooten announced 173 new cases of COVID-19 in San Diego County and five new deaths. This means 3,314 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 118 people have died countywide.
Wooten said white, Latinx, and Asian patients continue to be the most impacted communities in the county.
Macchione said the county is testing skilled nursing facilities.
Yphantides stressed the importance of wearing facial coverings, which will be mandatory in public in San Diego County starting on May 1.
“The science on a new virus is evolving so rapidly,” said Yphantides.
Yphantides said many people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic and may never know that they are passing on the virus to others, so the cloth face coverings act as another protection tool to keep others safe. Cox said children under two do not need facial coverings per CDC guidelines.
“Lets do this together. We are San Diego,” said Yphantides.