Public Health Official: San Diego County Close to Trigger that Could Force Modification to Loosening of Restrictions

by on June 18, 2020 · 3 comments

in Health, San Diego

OB. Photo by Charles Landon of StudioCapeMay

San Diego County’s Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten at a Wednesday press briefing reported that three new community outbreaks now bring the total to six within one week. That is just one away from the number that could trigger the county to modify its loosening of restrictions that have occurred recently away from closures due to the pandemic.

If the trigger is reached, county health officials could reverse or halt the reopening of local businesses, parks, etc.

Of the six outbreaks, Wooten said, only two are in restaurants; one is a private residence and the others are in businesses of various types.

So what is a “community outbreak”? It is defined as three or more confirmed cases from different households contracted in the same location. Outbreaks in nursing homes and other congregate living facilities are not applied to the trigger total.

Wooten has staff that goes out to the businesses to conduct inspections for prevention and control to make sure that parameters are in place, which include hygiene, sanitation, physical distancing, facial coverings and screenings for temperature and symptoms.

There are 13 items that County officials have committed to monitoring that could trigger a change to restrictions on businesses and activities that were put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Items include:

  • increases in new confirmed cases
  • hospital bed occupancy, and most require more than one to occur before modifications to county orders are triggered.
  • Community outbreaks – considered serious
  • the supply of personal protection equipment – considered serious
  • the number of patients in intensive care – considered serious;

With the more serious triggers, reaching any one could result in modifying county orders.

During Wednesday’s press briefing, Wooten was asked if she had heard about an outbreak involving 10 new cases from a party of 30 people – she hadn’t. This could be the seventh community outbreak.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher – also at the briefing – said San Diego County rates are promising results, compared with other counties in the state. For instance, Fletcher said the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county has remained relatively flat over the past few weeks.

In comparison:

  • Contra Costa County had seen a 13 percent increase in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 over the past few days
  • Kings County had an 18 percent increase,
  • Santa Barbara County a 27 percent increase,
  • San Joaquin County a 12 percent increase
  • Stanislaus County a 42 percent increase.
  • Ventura County had a 75 percent hospitalization increase over the past week
  • Orange County had a 76 percent increase in patients in intensive care over the past six weeks.

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Fletcher said San Diego County reported 124 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, or about 2 percent of the 6,782 tests reported that day. The county has reported an average of about 2.9 percent positive cases among all tests over the past two weeks.

Wooten reported four new COVID-19 related deaths Wednesday, bringing the countywide total to 327. The 124 new cases reported Wednesday brought the total number of confirmed cases to 9,854.



{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page June 18, 2020 at 1:16 pm

The county percentages do not mean much without the numbers. For example, a 50% increase could be one more case when there were only two already. Percentages are useful but they need context to be understood.


Frank Gormlie June 18, 2020 at 2:18 pm

Arizona, Florida, California and South Carolina all reported record-high single-day increases in coronavirus cases on Thursday June 18 as states continue to ramp up testing and the virus reaches new communities.

Arizona health officials reported 2,519 confirmed cases on Thursday, surpassing the previous single-day high of 2,392 reported on Tuesday. Florida officials announced 3,207 new cases Thursday morning, shattering the state’s previous single-day high of 2,783 new cases also reported on Tuesday. California officials reported Thursday 4,084 new cases that were confirmed on Wednesday.

South Carolina officials reported 987 new cases Thursday afternoon, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 21,533 and marking another all-time high single-day increase.

The record-setting numbers come amid an ongoing tide of new infections and increasing hospitalizations reported among a slew of states across the American South and West. Some states now seeing a rise in infections were among the first and most aggressive to reopen.


Denine June 18, 2020 at 3:25 pm

I just watched the county briefing and the total is now 8 community outbreaks. One related to a “social club”, a couple more related to restaurants and another involving a big gathering in a private home. The county is not taking any action even though the trigger has been met… yet.


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