How San Diegans can help keep COVID-19 case rate down
Last updated 8/26/2020 at 9:36am
With the San Diego County’s COVID-19 case rate continuing to decline, local health officials are urging San Diegans to keep taking measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The county’s case rate is now at 85.2 and below the state watchlist threshold of 100 cases per every 100,000 residents. Because of that, the region is now in the second day of the 14-day period before all K-12 schools can reopen, if they choose to do so.
To make sure the region gets to that point, it’s important that all San Diegans keep taking the necessary actions to prevent COVID-19 community outbreaks and the spread of the virus. They include: wear face coverings, maintain physical distance, wash your hands, avoid crowded places and stay home if you are sick.
“Because there is no treatment or vaccine, this is really what we have to wrap our arms around to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer, said. “San Diego residents have done a phenomenal job in helping to push our case rate below 100.”
Why are outbreak locations are not released?
Many San Diegans have asked for the county to release the names and locations where COVID-19 community outbreaks are identified.
Currently, the county is not releasing the names of outbreak locations because there is no action that the public needs to take. There is no higher risk of infection at these locations because the virus is widespread.
“Avoiding businesses where an outbreak has been identified does not lower your risk of infection,” Wooten said. “If there was a specific threat to public health, we would release that information.”
For example, Wooten said that the county would make public the location of a community outbreak if it posed a threat to the public, such as the E.coli outbreak at the 2019 San Diego County Fair or the measles outbreak that started at Disneyland in late 2014.
“We release information when there is an action that an individual or the public could or should take,” Wooten said.
County COVID-19 testing is done by priority.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Public Health Department recently updated their testing guidance, but their recommended priority categories/tiers were broad and did not address frequency.
Recognizing that local health care providers, especially those with limited supplies and capacity, would have challenges adopting the new guidance, the county worked with partners to set the local priority levels.
An advisory went out recently to the local medical community with the updated five testing tiers. The first tier is people with symptoms who are hospitalized, in congregate facilities, older adults, have underlying medical conditions or are part of a vulnerable population, followed by people identified by public health investigations and disease control activities.
Next is people with symptoms such as health care workers and first responders, as well as patients requiring hospitalization and people who require surgical procedures, followed by people without symptoms in congregate living facilities and close contacts of people who tested positive.
The next tier is people without symptoms such as health care workers, first responders, vulnerable populations, essential workers, older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and their caretakers.
The last tier is people without symptoms who are being tested for purposes of public health surveillance.
San Diego Public Health organizes free COVID-19 testing locations countywide. Appointments can be made at online, while three walk-in locations offer no-appointment testing where no one is turned away.
More information on COVID-19 and detailed data summaries can be found at http://coronavirus-sd.com.