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Governor Won't Exclude SDSU COVID-19 Cases From County Figures

 September 17, 2020 at 10:16 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 Our top story today, a classic good news, bad news situation with the latest COVID-19 numbers and their impact on everyday life. Coronavirus cases are down significantly in California, but they are up in San Diego County, largely due to a spike among students back on campus at San Diego state and governor Gavin Newsome is not keen on the idea of discounting, the number of student infections here to discuss what it all means as reporter Paul Sisson of the San Diego union Tribune. Paul, welcome back to the program. Thanks for having me. Now, let's start with these COVID-19 numbers in San Diego. Things were bright enough a couple of weeks ago for state restrictions on certain indoor businesses to be eased explain what's happened since that jeopardizes, that tear status, Speaker 2: 00:43 Right? This is the new tier system. The governor came out with a few weeks ago and every Tuesday now we get a new report from the California department of public health that notifies each County, which tier they are in this Tuesday's report showed San Diego dropping a two year, uh, from red to purple, which would mean that, uh, they would see the, uh, the rights to reopen that are currently enjoyed by many businesses, uh, business types in San Diego County reduced. If we are in that category for another second straight week, next Tuesday, uh, these tears are governed by your number of cases per a hundred thousand residents. And also the percentage of COVID tests that are coming back positive. Speaker 1: 01:32 Now, Connie Fisher's argue that cases among SDSU students should be isolated and that they were about to send a letter to the state to that effect. What's the reasoning among County supervisors. Speaker 2: 01:43 Uh, the County, uh, you know, relying on their epidemiology department is indicating that they feel like these SDSU students largely associate with other students and the outbreaks in cases that they have confirmed so far have largely been really focused in on people who are either living on campus or adjacent to campus within walking distance. And that they haven't really had a lot of spillover, uh, in terms of transmission of the virus, to people who aren't students. So they're saying, you know, this is relatively contained in a bubble, uh, with students generally talking to students, we haven't, for example, uh, seen businesses, uh, and, and other, uh, organizations used by students in the college area actually see outbreaks the outbreaks. We have seen have been generally associated with parties or, or places where many students live together. Speaker 1: 02:36 So there were hoping for a waiver, but governor Gavin Newsome shot that argument down yesterday, what did he say? Speaker 2: 02:42 Right? He, uh, he came out in his press conference yesterday at noon. And during the question and answer, period of it, uh, was asked very pointedly, uh, whether or not he supported such a carve out where the next round of calculations for the tiers would basically just pull out or subtract out the SDSU cases. And he said, no, there's really no way to separate a university from its community. Uh, the students live in the, in the community, obviously many of them. Uh, and, and so, no, I don't support that. He was a rather firm and direct in answering that question. Speaker 1: 03:16 So where does that leave? The County of San Diego County defies the state guidelines? There's gotta be consequences, Speaker 2: 03:21 Right? That was the other thing, uh, that came out in yesterday's a state press conference, dr. Mark Gailey, that secretary of the health and human services agency made it very clear that, uh, they expect, uh, these guidelines to be followed and counties to drop a tear. If their numbers are indeed a bad two weeks in a row. So it leaves the County, you know, on the side, still trying to make some arguments with the state to try to get them to change their minds. Uh, they have this, uh, this meeting with, uh, with one of their executives, uh, with some other, uh, state level, um, executives later this week that might, I guess, uh, still change their mind based on a lot of the data that they have and the arguments that they're making. Uh, and then they're having a closed session meeting tonight at five o'clock to discuss with their lawyers, what their other options are. Speaker 2: 04:15 Um, there, there was some talk at the board meeting on Tuesday that, that some supervisors are very, um, emphatic that they are not dropping debt back down to purple, and they are not going to go along with the notion of restricting businesses again, uh, in a situation where it's pretty clear that the additional cases from SDSU, which the state allowed to reopen our, our, what is pushing us from the red tier down to the purple tube. So will they Sue them, will they just refuse to enforce, uh, these, uh, reductions and openings? Uh, it's kind of unclear at the moment. Speaker 1: 04:51 Yeah. So a lot of followup on the story to be sure. Now it's easy to imagine an uproar here among business owners and customers, if restaurants, hair, salons, gyms, et cetera, have to close down again, right? Speaker 2: 05:02 Yeah. I mean, if you listen to the County meeting on Tuesday, there were over 60 folks who called in many of them business owners who are just, you know, one after another, they just called us a government overreach. And, and, and they say they're fed up and are just not going to tolerate this anymore. So, so the notion that you could just get businesses that are now allowed to have some level of indoor operation to, to move back outdoors again, is a really untested idea. And one that I'm just not quite sure short of sending law enforcement now and, and, uh, you know, forcibly be closing these businesses. And I don't know that anybody's going to go along with this voluntarily at this point, right? Speaker 1: 05:45 Let's turn back to SDSU for a moment more testing plan. There means probably more cases, but the numbers so far are looking a little better. Our students finally getting the message on campus. I think so I, it seems like the Speaker 2: 05:58 University has really, you've been using all of its channels to try to pound this message home, uh, to the students in terms of, you know, gosh, guys, you really need to take this seriously. You really need to wear your mask. You really need to stay in your dorms. Um, you know, so it seems like they have seen, uh, some reduction in the case rate. That's what dr. Eric McDonald, the county's epidemiology director said yesterday was when he was looking on a week by week basis. There have been fewer cases detected this week than there were last. So there, there are some signs that it's dropping, but not, not yet gone. And finally, the good news here, what a California statewide numbers show regarding COVID-19. And, but what the what's the caution that we should be aware of there, right? Uh, you know, at the moment overall, the state numbers are dropping and really there there's more, the most encouraging thing that we've seen is, uh, overall hospitalizations dropping. Speaker 2: 06:49 It seems like hospitals are learning better how to treat, uh, folks who have a severe version of this disease, uh, where it attacks our cardiovascular system and their lungs. Uh, you know, they're treating earlier with steroids and they're doing other things to ramp down that immune response and that's to be trickling out to the overall hospitalization rate. Uh, you know, the, the big caveat there is we, you know, we just finished a big labor day weekend, and the incubation period is disease, uh, can be as long as two weeks. Uh, and, uh, supervisor Fletcher has warned in a couple of meetings now, uh, the, you know, guys, don't just get too focused on what's going on at SDSU. Uh, you know, even if we be exempt the SDSU numbers, we may still be likely to see a big surge based on whatever people got up to over at labor day weekend. Right. And the annual flu season is looming too as well. I've been speaking with reporter Paul Sisson of the San Diego union Tribune. Thanks, Paul. Thank you. Speaker 3: 07:53 [inaudible].

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California officials say the state won't consider removing college students’ virus cases from a county’s data because they are part of a community and can contribute to the spread of the illness.
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