County orders essential workers dealing with public to ware face coverings
Last updated 4/2/2020 at 5pm
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego County health officials amended public
health orders today, shutting down park and beach parking lots and mandating
that people in essential industries who interact with the public must wear
facial coverings, effective Friday at midnight.
These industries include pharmacies, grocery stores and gas stations.
Any park or beach still open in the county must close parking lots, making the
space accessible only to residents who can walk there. County Public Health
Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten also said that all group activities such as basketball
and volleyball were prohibited. Activities such as walking, hiking and
bicycling will still be permitted.
Further orders include businesses remaining open that serve the public
must now post social-distancing and sanitization guidelines near the
entrance of their business and a recommendation that anyone who leaves their
home for any essential purpose should wear a facial covering -- a bandana,
scarf, homemade mask, etc. -- while maintaining social distancing. These
coverings should not be medical-grade masks, officials said.
The number of global COVID-19 cases crossed the million-case milestone
today, while health officials confirmed 117 new local cases and one death
related to the illness in the county.
The death of that 98-year-old woman raises the county's illness-
related mortalities to 16. There have now been 966 cases in the county, 181 of
which have been hospitalized. Seventy have been sent to intensive care.
``We will clearly have over 1,000 cases tomorrow,'' said Dr. Eric
McDonald, the county's medical director of epidemiology. ``If you do have to go
out, treat others as if they have COVID and remain socially distant. They
should be treating you like you have it, too.''
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore further added to the county's
public health orders, stating that he was informing law enforcement agencies
across the county to step up enforcement of closed areas such as beaches and
``The days of voluntary compliance are over,'' he said. ``These are
not recommendations, these are orders.''
Violations are considered a misdemeanor and punishable by up to a
$1,000 fine. Law enforcement agencies were largely educating violators before
today, Gore said.
County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher thanked the vast majority of San
Diegans for taking the orders and closures seriously, but that a few people
were necessitating the change in enforcement.
He said that 422 county residents were being sheltered in hotel rooms
managed by the county and the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. That figure
includes 120 in isolation or awaiting test results and 302 previously
unsheltered individuals now off the street.
Fletcher said the county had administered more than 1.3 million pieces
of personal protective equipment, including more than 581,000 N-95
respirators and more than 213,000 surgical masks.
McDonald said that the county had confirmed seven skilled nursing
facilities reporting outbreaks, responsible for 41 cases and three deaths.
San Diego County temporarily suspended animal adoptions and fostering
at county animal shelters, it announced Wednesday.
``The animals in our care are safe and well, and will be ready to meet
their potential new families again soon,'' read a county statement on Twitter.
The Celebrity Eclipse cruise ship, which was scheduled to depart San
Diego Wednesday morning, remains in the harbor, McDonald said. One crew member
testing positive for COVID-19 had been taken off ship, evaluated and then put
into isolation aboard the ship. Another cruise ship anchored off the coast, the
Celebrity Millennium, had a crew member flown into San Diego due to cardiac and
respiratory issues. That crew member tested negative for COVID-19, was treated
and flown back to the ship.
Roughly 2,000 sailors aboard a San Diego-based nuclear aircraft
carrier currently docked in Guam were moved off the ship today after its
captain requested more resources and ``decisive action'' to battle a
coronavirus outbreak aboard the vessel.
The officer, Capt. Brett Crozier, was subsequently relieved of duty by
the U.S. Navy after Thomas Modly, acting Navy secretary, and Adm. Mike
Gilday, chief of naval operations, in Washington said they had ``lost
confidence'' in him.
Modly said 93 sailors have tested positive for COVID-19 so far among
the USS Theodore Roosevelt's crew of more than 4,000. All but seven of those 93
are exhibiting symptoms of the virus, but no one has required hospitalization.
Though most of the sailors will be moved off the ship, about 1,000 of
them will remain onboard to maintain certain critical functions and security
for the ship.
Modly said conversations were ongoing with the government of Guam to
free up hotel space to accommodate the sailors moved off ship.
The county reported a total of 456 ventilators in 20 of its 23
hospitals -- with another 88 ready to be deployed in an emergency -- 57 being
serviced, 600 requested from the state and 125 ordered from elsewhere.
-- Oceanside moved toward implementing a $3 million small-business
relief fund that will be used to issue micro-loans ranging from $10,000 to
$20,000 to help local small businesses retain employees and stay afloat amid
various federal, state and local public health restrictions. The program will
be open to businesses that can show they have sustained economic hardship due
to COVID-19, have a city business license and have been in operation for at
least six months.
-- The owners of the Anaheim Ducks NHL team -- Henry and Susan Samueli
-- informed workers in Orange and San Diego counties, including part-time
San Diego Gulls employees, that ``all 2,100 part-time staff members will be
paid for current or future rescheduled, postponed or canceled events through
June 30.'' The Gulls are the minor league affiliate of the Ducks.
-- Chula Vista announced it would offer small business loans through
San Diego's small-business relief fund. Much like Oceanside's fund, loans
ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 are available to businesses in the city.
County officials began reporting cases by ZIP code Wednesday, but a
spike in areas like Hillcrest and La Jolla were not causes for concern for Dr.
Nick Yphantides, San Diego County's chief medical officer.
Fletcher, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, City Councilman Chris Ward,
Regional Task Force on the Homeless CEO Tamera Kohler and San Diego
Convention Center President and CEO Rip Rippetoe opened the convention center
Wednesday morning to unsheltered San Diegans.
The convention center was configured to hold more than 900 physically
distanced cots and more if needed -- less than a month after San Diego
residents voted down a hotel tax designed to expand the facility.
The first unsheltered residents were moved into the center by the
A skilled nursing home in El Cajon was the site of another outbreak,
including one positive case and three suspected cases. It is the latest in a
series of ``congregate living sites'' -- assisted living facilities, prisons or
anywhere where large groups of people congregate in one living location -- to
have positive tests. Those sites were under strict health protocols and further
investigation, Yphantides said.
The county also extended public health closure orders indefinitely
that were set to expire. The closure applies to schools, nonessential
businesses, restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, and anyone 65 or older
should continue to quarantine at home.