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County Shuts Down Gyms, Limits Child Care to 'Stable' Groups of 10

San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten gives an update on coronavirus, March 18, 2020.
Roland Lizarondo
San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten gives an update on coronavirus, March 18, 2020.

San Diego County public health officials expanded public health orders in response to the coronavirus Wednesday, closing all gyms and fitness centers and restricting child care to "stable" groups of 10 children with one child care provider, effective at midnight.

The "stable" vocabulary refers to the same group of 10 children each day and the same provider each day, County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said. If a daycare or related business has more than 10 children, each group needs to be in separate rooms and cannot intermingle. Social distancing is encouraged even among the subgroups.

The previous health orders banning groups of 50 or more do not apply to public transit, airports or any other mass transportation, Wooten said.


Meanwhile, the Ramada hotel in Kearny Mesa announced it will be used as a quarantine site for people potentially exposed to coronavirus.

The Ramada by Wyndham San Diego North Hotel & Conference Center located near Kearny Mesa Road, north of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard near state Route 163, will be used by the federal government to house patients currently under quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The hotel has 151 rooms.

The patients being transferred from the base to the hotel are experiencing mild or no symptoms, the hotel said.

The hotel will be closed to the public during the quarantine. Fox5 reported the hotel is being monitored by the California Highway Patrol and the U.S. Marshals Service. Conditions within the hotel are being controlled to prevent exposure to the public, authorities said.

Dr. Eric McDonald, head of the county's epidemiology division, said there were 238 people in quarantine at MCAS Miramar, including two San Diegans. Of those, 38 were scheduled to leave the base Wednesday.


Holland America cruise ship Eurodam docked Wednesday in San Diego, and all 1,839 passengers and 61 of the more than 800 crew members disembarked. McDonald said none of the passengers were showing any symptoms of novel coronavirus, but three went to the hospital for unrelated medical issues.

"Self-quarantine is recommended after a cruise according to CDC guidelines," McDonald said.

The Eurodam is scheduled to leave San Diego and head for Ensenada on Thursday.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the county had increased the number of available hotel rooms for unsheltered individuals or for those who cannot shelter in place to more than 2,000.

At 7 p.m., Simon Property Group will temporarily close all its malls and outlets until at least March 29. The group owns several properties in the county, including the Fashion Valley mall and Carlsbad and Las Americas Premium outlets.