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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

San Diego County COVID-19 Cases Pass 1,000 Mark

A chart, released April 3, 2020, showing San Diego County COVID-19 cases pass...

Credit: County of San Diego

Above: A chart, released April 3, 2020, showing San Diego County COVID-19 cases passed the 1,000 milestone.

The number of COVID-19 cases in San Diego County increased by 146 Friday, the largest local increase since the epidemic began and enough to have the county cross the 1,000-case milestone.

There have been 1,112 positive cases confirmed in the county, and an additional death reported Friday of a man in his late 70s, brings the total death count to 17.

Of those positive cases, 211 have been hospitalized and 85 placed in intensive care.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher asked for patience with clarifications on public health orders, stating rapidly changing information sometimes meant messages became muddled.

"We are adapting to new information," he said. "And we must adapt to the newest opportunities to protect each other."

The city of Oceanside, in order to comply with public health orders, will close its beaches at midnight Friday evening, leaving just Coronado with open beaches.

Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said the county had 13 confirmed outbreaks in congregate living centers, which had placed positive individuals in isolation.

All San Diego stores still open and serving the public scrambled Friday to comply with San Diego County's amended public health orders — requiring all employees who work in essential business and interact with the public to wear facial covering — which go into effect at midnight tonight.

These industries include pharmacies, grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations.

Fletcher clarified the public health order to include restaurants after a plea Thursday from Jeff Rossman, president of the San Diego County chapter of the California Restaurant Association.

The California Grocers Associated sought guidance from county officials Thursday on how grocery stores are supposed to acquire face masks for their employees "with such short notice."

"The safety of our employees and customers is always our first priority, and even more so during this health crisis," Ron Fong, president and CEO of the California Grocers Association, said in a statement Thursday.

"With such short notice given by San Diego County, grocery companies will be scrambling to be in compliance by Saturday's deadline. We look forward to hearing from the County quickly on how it will support grocers securing appropriate face coverings for all its workers by April 4," he said.

San Diego County health officials revised the public health orders Thursday, which also shut down park and beach parking lots throughout the region. Any park or beach still open in the county must close parking lots, making the space accessible only for local residents who can walk there.

Also, boating for recreational purposes, outdoor water sports, swimming and surfing in public waterways or beaches are prohibited.

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 by the end of the day Tuesday, April 7 and a recommendation that anyone who leaves their home for any essential purpose should wear a facial covering — bandana, scarf, homemade mask, etc. — while maintaining social distancing. These coverings should not be medical-grade masks, officials said.

The order for certain workers to wear face covering, and the recommendation that all San Diego residents wear them when leaving their home, comes after health experts revised the value of face masks. Previously, the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not recommend wearing a mask, unless a person was sick. But the CDC has reviewed this as new data showed that up to 25% of infected people may not have symptoms, but could transmit the virus.

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