Health

One More COVID-19 Death Reported; Facial Coverings Should Be Worn in Public

We're live at the County Operations Center with another update on the coronavirus. For updates, visit coronavirus-sd.com or text COSD COVID19 to 468-311.

Posted by County of San Diego - Government on Friday, April 3, 2020
Video by County News Center

An additional COVID-19 death was reported in San Diego, bringing the region’s total to 17, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

“COVID-19 is in our neighborhoods and communities and, unfortunately, we are likely to see more deaths,” said Wilma Wooten, County public health officer, adding that the new death is a man in his late 70s. “People who are not essential workers should remain at home to decrease their chances of contracting the virus and passing it to others, especially people at higher risk of having severe complications from COVID-19.”

County health officials continue to strongly encourage San Diegans to wear a facial covering when out in public conducting essential activities. The cloth facial coverings don’t have to be hospital grade but should cover the nose and mouth. Homemade masks, bandanas, scarves and neck gaiters are acceptable, since these items can be washed and reused. Facial coverings don’t need to be used when people are at home. First 5 San Diego compiled a list of guides for making your own covering.

Guidance for Businesses

Starting April 4, all employees who work in the following businesses must wear facial coverings if they have contact with the public:

  • Supermarkets and grocery stores
  • Restaurants
  • Pharmacies
  • Convenience stores
  • Gas stations

Also, all businesses in the region must display their social distancing and sanitation protocol. A template is available on coronavirus-sd.com. The protocol, which should be implemented by April 7, includes:

  • Signage at each public entrance to inform all employees and customers that they should: avoid entering the facility if they have a cough or fever; maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another and not shake hands or engage in any unnecessary physical contact.
  • Display a copy of the Social Distancing Protocol at each public entrance to the facility.
  • Businesses must make sure every employee who can carry out their work duties from home has been directed to do so. All employees have been told not to come to work, if sick.
  • All desks or individual workstations are separated by at least six feet.
  • Break rooms, bathrooms, and other common areas are disinfected frequently.

“All these measures are necessary to protect the health of your employees and everyone around them,” Wooten said. “These aggressive measures are necessary to keep people from contracting COVID-19 and spreading the virus to others.”

COVID-19 Health Order Being Enforced

The County’s health order has also been amended to include the following: boating for recreational purposes, outdoor water sports, swimming and surfing in public waterways or beaches are prohibited.

Law enforcement agencies throughout the region will be out making sure that people who are in public are conducting essential activities and to keep people from being out in groups, especially if they are not members of the same family or household.

They will also be investigating essential businesses that are not following the new facial covering or social distancing guidance. People are encouraged to call their local police department’s non-emergency line or visit 2-1-1 San Diego to report businesses not in compliances.

Residents who disobey the essential business guideline or who are in groups in public are subject to a misdemeanor ticket. Penalties can be up to a $1,000 fine or 6 months in jail.

What Do Cases by ZIP Code Really Mean?

Many people and some media have been questioning what the number of COVID-19 cases by ZIP code really means.

Public health officials say the data does not really indicate much, except where the positive cases reside. It does not show where the person contracted the virus. In some instances, the data also includes the ZIP codes of the hospital where patients were tested, especially if the patients did not have an address.

San Diegans should know that since there is community spread, it is possible to contract COVID-19 in any region, city, or ZIP code of the county.  However, many of the early cases contracted the illness outside of the County.

All residents, regardless of where they live, should follow the guidance that has been given. That includes:

  • Wearing a facial covering when in public conducting essential activities; for employees of essential businesses who have contact with the public, this is mandatory.
  • Maintaining physical distance –six feet – from other people.
  • Washing hands regularly with soap and water or using hand sanitizer.
  • Staying home, especially if they are sick.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Not going out in public in groups, especially if you’re not part of the same household.

“You should assume anyone around you could have COVID-19 and take appropriate precautions to avoid contracting the virus,” Wooten said.

COVID-19 Cases Jump to 1,112

Through April 2, a total of 1,112 COVID-19 cases have been reported in San Diego County, including 146 new cases in the last day.

Of San Diego County’s cases, 52.6% (585) were men and 46.7% (439) were women. The gender of eight people is unknown. Of the known cases, 211 (19%) have required hospitalization and 85 (7.6%) of the total number of cases had to be placed in intensive care.

County officials also talked about other measures and resources to deal with COVID-19. To date:

  • More than 15,800 San Diegans have been tested, including 1,882 tests reported April 2.
  • The County has distributed nearly 1.4 million personal protective equipment items to local health care providers, including nearly 594,000 N-95 respirators, more than 234,000 surgical face masks and about 550,000 gloves.
  • A total of 2,026 hotel rooms have been secured to isolate people who have potential COVID-19 symptoms and people who have health vulnerabilities and have no place to live.
  • Of the 1,585 rooms for County Public Health Services use, 142 are occupied by 146 guests.
  • Of the 441 rooms assigned to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, 179 are being occupied by 302 people who are at higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19.

The County’s COVID-19 webpage now contains a graph showing new positive cases and total cases reported by date. For more information, visit www.coronavirus-sd.com.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact