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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

San Diego County Officials Give Update On COVID-19, Urge Residents To ‘Stay At Home’

A screenshot of a live San Diego county presser is pictured here, March 21, 2...

Credit: San Diego County

Above: A screenshot of a live San Diego county presser is pictured here, March 21, 2020.

In a press release Saturday, the state announced Governor Gavin Newsom directed more than $42 million in emergency funding to California’s healthcare infrastructure. The money aims to strengthen the state’s response to COVID-19.

“California is mobilizing every part of government to support our health care delivery system, its workers, and those among us who are most vulnerable to COVID-19,” said Governor Newsom.

In San Diego, county officials gave an update Saturday afternoon.

County public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten opened up the conversation. She says in San Diego there are 131 positive cases and zero deaths. Wooten emphasized that "90% of people do not need to be tested," and that residents with mild symptoms can self-isolate at home. Though, she said anyone needing a respirator should get in touch with medical professionals.

She reminded listeners that a cough can produce thousands of droplets that can travel six feet and survive on certain surfaces for days. In addition to disinfecting surfaces, Wooten said residents also need to follow social distancing orders.

"I have faith in our San Diego county residents, our businesses, and organizations throughout the county that you all will comply with the governor's executive order to stay at home," said Wooten.

The County's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Nicholas Yphantides, said the healthcare system could become overwhelmed, but he urged residents to seek out professional medical help if they need to.

"I completely affirm and agree with what Wooten said, but when we talk about appropriate delivery of healthcare, we want to make sure that folks - either out of hesitation or fear of being infected in a hospital - that they’re getting the care they need," Yphantides.

"[There’s this] duality between 'this is over hyped' or 'we’re not doing enough,” Yphantides said. “The analogy that I use is 'folks, we’re in the eye of the storm.'”

He hopes that with social distancing the ‘category 5 storm’ will be “lessened and become more manageable. It’s coming and the healthcare systems are activated. It shows lots of capacity, but it could change," he said.

County supervisor Nathan Fletcher said that as more testing happens, the county expects the number of positive cases to rise. And, he said the demand for hospital rooms will grow exponentially.

In the meantime, he urged residents to try to avoid misinformation on the coronavirus and practice proper social distancing to slow down the spread of the virus.

Listen to this story by Shalina Chatlani.

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