As Beaches Remain Closed, Four San Diego Lifeguards Test Positive For Coronavirus
While San Diego beaches and parks remain closed in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, four city lifeguards have now tested positive for the virus.
"This is new, unchartered territory," said San Diego Lifeguard Chief James Gartland.
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In a Zoom interview Sunday, Gartland said he has never seen beaches closed like this in his two decades on the job. But, he said, "This is what has to happen in order to slow or stop the spread of this virus."
While some were not heeding warnings before, he said now nearly everyone is complying.
"They’re abiding by the closure," Gartland said. "They understand. They’re taking this major emergency very serious."
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Gartland said the four lifeguards who tested positive for coronavirus are under a doctor's care.
"They’re being looked at and we’ll help out the families if we need to as well," he said.
Plans are underway in the city of San Diego to make sure lifeguards, police and fire fighters are ready for an expected surge in cases.
City officials are "making plans so if 30%, 50% of our workforce gets it, we’re still able to operate," Gartland said.
All full-time lifeguards are EMTs, and with cases expected to continue rising they could be needed for surge medical capacity.
Gartland added that all lifeguards have the proper personal protective equipment and will help out where they can.
It is unclear when the beaches and parks could reopen.