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Chula Vista Councilman Stricken With COVID-19 Placed On Respirator At Hospital

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is seen in yellow, emerging from cells (...

Credit: National Institutes of Health

Above: The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is seen in yellow, emerging from cells (in blue and pink) cultured in the lab. This image is from a scanning electron microscope.

UPDATE: March 21, 2020, 10:30 AM

A Chula Vista councilman who tested positive for coronavirus remained hospitalized Saturday after experiencing difficulty breathing, while the number of cases reported across San Diego continued to increase.

Councilman Steve Padilla was admitted to UCSD Thornton Hospital Thursday night and placed on a respirator in its intensive care unit after experiencing worsening symptoms, his daughter, Ashleigh, said in a statement.

"I know his amazing doctors and nurses are doing everything they can to send him home healthy when this is all over," she said. "My father asked me to pass a message: `Everyone needs to take COVID-19 seriously. Please follow the advice of our public health professionals to reduce spread of the virus and take precautions to keep your families and our community safe."'

Padilla had announced on Twitter that he has tested positive for the virus and went into isolation at home.

Padilla, who also chairs the state Coastal Commission, told the Voice of San Diego that he began feeling sick while in Santa Cruz on Coastal Commission business and flew home early.

Padilla told the Voice of San Diego that he had recently traveled through the San Jose Airport, where multiple Transportation Security Administration agents had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in San Diego County rose to 131 Friday, with 27 people hospitalized.

The 26 newly recorded cases was the highest day-to-day increase yet — with seven of the cases involving people aged 80 or older. There have been no deaths due to the illness in the county.

Of the 131 positive cases, 110 are residents of the county — 18 of them hospitalized; 11 are under federal quarantine, with six of those patients hospitalized; and 10 are non-residents, three of whom are hospitalized. The vast majority — 99 cases — of those who have tested positive have been under the age of 60. One individual's age is unknown.

Photo by Courtesy photo

Steve Padilla, Chula Vista City Councilman for District 3 is shown in this undated photo.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide "stay-at-home" order Thursday night, advising residents to not leave their homes except for essential needs.

Essential services will remain open, including: gas stations, pharmacies, banks, laundromats, and places to obtain food, including grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants.

Any other public event or gathering is considered non-essential and is banned under the order until further notice.

Health officials have asked local hospitals and laboratories to comply with county orders to report all testing results, positive or negative. A lack of reagent fluids is limiting the number of tests many facilities can complete a day, throwing off regional estimates of testing capabilities.

Under the stay-at-home mandate, all gyms and fitness centers are closed and gatherings of 10 or more are barred. The mandate also restricts childcare to "stable" groups of 10 children with one childcare provider.

The "stable" vocabulary refers to the same group of 10 children each day and the same provider each day. 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 health orders banning gatherings do not apply to public transit, airports or any other mass transportation. The Metropolitan Transit System said it would continue running buses and trolleys at least until March 31 with ramped-up sanitization procedures on vehicles and at stations.

All five tribal casinos in the county will remain closed through the end of the month.

On Thursday, San Diego County's family resource centers, as well as the housing and community development services office, three of the five locations of the county clerk's office and all treasurer-tax collector offices temporarily suspended in-person services. The closures are intended to help county residents practice social-distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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 under quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The hotel has 151 rooms and will be closed to the public.

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

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

The Disney cruise ship Wonder docked Thursday in San Diego, and none of the 1,980 passengers aboard show any respiratory problems consistent with COVID-19, though one crew member has tested positive for influenza. The passengers continued to disembark Friday.

San Diego 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 1,300. Fletcher said Thursday that he and Supervisor Kristin Gaspar were writing a board letter seeking to place a moratorium on evictions in the county, including in unincorporated areas.

Fletcher, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other local elected officials spoke with the government of Baja California on Thursday to work on cross-border solutions to the global problem of COVID-19.

Simon Property Group temporarily closed all its malls and outlets and the closure will last until at least March 29. The group owns several properties in San Diego County, including the Fashion Valley mall and Carlsbad and Las Americas Premium outlets.

Students at San Diego State University and University of San Diego were instructed to move out of their dorms amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Exceptions included students who can't go home, those without a home to return to and those with known health and safety risks.

San Diego Community College District colleges, including City, Mesa and Miramar colleges, have officially closed their campuses. Remote operations for the schools will begin Monday.

San Diego County libraries have shifted to curbside pickup and drop- off to encourage residents to practice social distancing while still getting books, music and movies from the library. Residents can use the library's online catalog or call their branch libraries and pick them up between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

County Supervisor Greg Cox said the county had placed more than 200 hand-washing stations around the county.

The Navy announced Tuesday it closed its Training Support Command center in San Diego Saturday after a third sailor with ties to the school tested presumptive positive for the novel coronavirus. Two students and an instructor at the school have tested presumptive positive for the illness in the past several days, according to the Navy.

The latest sailor with ties to the school to test positive is stationed aboard the USS Essex and had been attending a course at Naval Base San Diego since Feb. 6.

Two more sailors, one stationed on the USS Boxer, which is homeported in San Diego, and the other aboard the littoral combat ship Coronado based at Naval Base San Diego, also tested positive for COVID-19.

The schoolhouse where the training occurred will remain closed until further notice. Military health professionals are conducting a contact investigation to see if any additional precautionary measures need to be taken.

Three Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar have also tested positive for the virus, leading to new health protections on the base.

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 →

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