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By Kim Harris
Managing Editor 

San Diego County meets 4 of 5 criteria for reopening, officials say

Officials extend stay-at-home order citing need for state guidance


Last updated 4/30/2020 at 1:09pm

Village News/Courtesy photo

A San Diego County Department of Public Health nurse tests an individual for COVID-19 at a drive-thru testing site.

San Diego County meets four out the 5 criteria to begin reopening businesses, according to a press release issued by County Officials Thursday, April 30, but along with the good news, came some bad as the county announced despite meeting the criteria, it would extend the stay-at-home order indefinitely, citing the need for guidance from the state before lifting the order.

According to the press release written by San Diego County communications officer José A. Álvarez, the county is using five federal criteria and state recommendations to determine when and how to ease or lift restrictions made by the local health officer stay-at-home order issued earlier in April.

"The county has met four of the five federal criteria – symptoms, cases and hospitals –and has made progress in the remaining testing criteria," Álvarez said.

To date, San Diego has seen a 14-day downward trajectory in the number of people with influenza-like illness (ILI) at local emergency departments. From March 16 to April 15, the percent of emergency department visits for ILI dropped from 10% to 3%, Álvarez said.

The county must register a downward trajectory of COVID-like syndromic cases reported within a 14-day period. While the trend has varied it has been declining in recent days, he said in the press release, adding that the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in comparison to the number of tests administered over a 14-day period is in a downward trajectory.

"Since April 6, the county has experienced a decreasing percentage in positive COVID-19 tests among San Diegans," Álvarez said.

According to the press release, the local health care system has been able to handle the number of patients needing hospitalization for COVID-19 and other illnesses and diseases. Currently, hospital capacity remains stable.

"We have met four of the federal criteria and will continue monitoring to make sure the trends continue," San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said.

To meet the fifth of the federal criteria, "robust" testing needs to be in place for at-risk health care workers, including antibody testing.

"The county and local hospitals have extended their testing capacity and can perform 3,400 tests daily," Álvarez said.

Despite meeting four of the five criteria, San Diego county announced it would extend the stay-at-home order indefinitely, citing the need for guidance from the state before lifting the order.

San Diego County is testing roughly 3,400 people per day at county testing sites and local hospitals.

Currently testing is available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at North Inland Live Well Escondido Center, 649 W. Mission Ave. in Escondido and from 1-7 p.m. Monday through Friday at Live Well Center at Chula Vista, 690 Oxford St. in Chula Vista.

The county's first drive-up site is located at the San Diego County Credit Union Stadium in Mission Valley at 9449 Friars Road in San Diego with more sites soon to be deployed, the county said. Testing at all three sites are conducted by county public health nurses and using the county public health laboratory with results typically taking between 24-48 hours.

Village News/Courtesy photo

This chart issued by San Diego County Thursday, April 29, shows the percent of Emergency room visits where the chief complaint is flu- or COVID-19-like symptoms is on the decline.

Saturday, May 2, testing will be offered in Southeastern San Diego 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Euclid Health Center, 252 Euclid Ave. A doctor's referral and appointment through 2-1-1 are necessary.

To date, 120 COVID-19 deaths – 66 men and 54 women – have been reported in San Diego County while another 118 COVID-19 cases were reported, bringing the region's total to 3,432.

Most recent numbers released at 8 a.m. Thursday, April 29, show 15 people in Fallbrook and two people in Bonsall have been diagnosed with the virus. Both represent some of the smallest numbers in the county with Bonsall's infection rate per 100,000 residents being too low to calculate. Fallbrook comes in fifth at an infection rate per 100,000 of 49.1 behind the cities of Coronado, Oceanside, Solana Beach and Carlsbad, with infection rates per 100,000 of 36.9, 40.6, 43.0 and 45.4 respectively.

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Kim Harris can be reached by email at [email protected]


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