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County To Reopen Beaches For 'Passive Use' On Tuesday As Cases Cross 7,000

People sunbathing and lounging on the beach at La Jolla Children's Pool beach on May 23, 2020.
Alexander Nguyen
People sunbathing and lounging on the beach at La Jolla Children's Pool beach on May 23, 2020.

San Diego County's beaches can reopen Tuesday for passive uses like sitting in a beach chair and sunbathing, it was announced Thursday, continuing the county's gradual reopening even as public health officials reported 117 new COVID-19 cases and five additional deaths.

The newest data increases the county cumulative totals to 7,100 and 260 deaths. County health officials recorded 3,699 tests Thursday, raising the cumulative total number of tests to 147,286.

The five deceased ranged in age from 64 to 97 and all had underlying medical issues.


The 117 tests Thursday comprise 3% of the total number of tests, and the 14-day rolling average testing positive is just 3.1%, giving officials like Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer, reason to believe the region's cases have "peaked."

VIDEO: County Relaxes Restrictions On Beaches But Make Plea For Blood Bank Donations

As a result of numbers trending in the right direction, Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors Greg Cox said Thursday the county would allow beaches across the county to open for passive recreation and would allow individual jurisdictions to decide if they wanted to open the beaches for those purposes as well.

A few restrictions remain, however, as the county still has a ban on team sports like football and volleyball. Additionally, beach parking lots and piers remain closed. Reopening of boardwalks is up to each coastal city, and as always, social distancing and facial coverings are the rule when near people who aren't a member of the household.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher thanked San Diegans for sacrificing so much already, but made a plea to give a little more. He said the San Diego Blood Bank is down to just a two-day supply of blood and is seeking convalescent plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19.


A single dose of the plasma could provide some therapeutic relief to three or four people currently suffering from the illness, said Fletcher.

David Wellis, CEO of the San Diego Blood Bank, said the convalescent plasma has proven so popular as a treatment that even though the blood bank has delivered 377 doses, "We are not meeting the demand."

Also Thursday, Wooten reminded San Diego County residents that wearing a mask was an effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19, as they "disrupted the trajectory" of a cough or sneeze and significantly reduce the spread of respiratory droplets.