Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

County Lays Out Backup Plan If Second Wave Of COVID-19 Arrives

People eat inside of STP Bar-N-Grill in Clairemont Mesa on the first day rest...

Photo by Mike Damron

Above: People eat inside of STP Bar-N-Grill in Clairemont Mesa on the first day restaurants are allowed to reopen for dine-in service, May 21, 2020.

San Diego County public health officials gave residents a glimpse of actions the county could take if COVID-19 cases begin to spike as a result of public demonstrations and newly opened industries, up to and including dialing back reopenings.

The county reported 124 additional cases and seven deaths Wednesday, raising its totals to 7,798 cases and 283 deaths. The deaths included four men and three women ranging in age from 62 to 91.

The county also recorded a new daily-high for COVID-19 tests, with 4,940, just 3% of which returned positive.

The county's rolling average of positive tests has hit a plateau over the last several weeks, and other numbers are "trending in the right direction," according to Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County's public health officer.

But with thousands taking to the streets protesting the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week, and with restaurants and other industries continuing to open locally, health officials revealed a backup plan Wednesday.

Coronavirus: Quick facts

  • What is coronavirus?
    The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a virus that can infect animals and humans. It causes a range of respiratory illness, fever, cough and in more severe cases can cause pneumonia and even death.
  • What are the symptoms?
    The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Get all coverage →

Government Resources

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher identified 13 "triggers" that could cause the county to take industry-specific actions, pause all reopening efforts or even dial back reopenings. These triggers are divided into three categories: epidemiology and public health, with four triggers each — and healthcare, with five.

According to Fletcher, the county is currently in "green" in all 13 measurements.

However, if the county records seven or more community-based outbreaks in seven days, sees the intensive care bed availability come close to 20% of the total or if personal protective equipment at half the county's hospitals drop below a 15-day supply for three consecutive days, the county will take immediate action.

"Any one of these criteria could force us to take action," Fletcher said, adding that if the county triggers one of the guidelines in two of the three categories, it would also be forced to act.

"It's complicated, but it gives us our best and clearest sense of where we are," he said.

Also Wednesday, Fletcher said the county planned to move forward once it got directions from the state. Once the county gets the "how" of reopening further, local county health officials will decide the "when," he said.

On Tuesday, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors sent a request to Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow them to reopen facilities such as gymnasiums, hotels and cultural venues closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The board voted 4-1 to approve sending the request, which also includes seeking more leeway to allow the reopening of wineries, breweries, churches, theme parks, youth sports facilities, charter and fishing boats and public swimming pools.

The Board of Supervisors also voted Tuesday to extend a moratorium on evictions for both residents and small businesses for another month, through June 30th.

Fletcher, along with board Chairman Greg Cox, made the request, which was unanimously approved. The board first approved an eviction moratorium in late March.

"By extending the moratorium, we are giving families and business owners another tool to assist in their recovery from the pandemic," Fletcher said.

Cox said, "This is not an effort to provide free rent. It's really an encouragement for tenants, landlords, to work together on a payment plan."

Fletcher added that people who qualify for the moratorium have to prove economic hardship caused by the pandemic.

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.