By Miriam Raftery
March 29, 2020 (San Diego) – As local COVID-19 cases climb to 488, including seven deaths, the County has extended its existing public health order indefinitely. The order was originally issued only until March 31.
The newest deaths include a man in his 20s who died in Riverside County and a man in his 80s with underlying medical conditions.
“Just these two deaths reflect the sober reality that we are facing, that COVID-19 can affect individuals of all ages,” said Nick Yphantides, County chief medical officer. Locally, the death rate is 1.4%, or 14 times higher than the death rate from flu.
In just the past 24 hours before yesterday’s press conference, 71 new cases were diagnosed locally. Most, 57.4%, are in men and nearly 20% required hospitalization, with 8.6% in intensive are.
The public health order will require that non-essential business stay closed including bars, restaurants for dining in services, gyms, fitness centers and more. Schools must also stay homes.
“Please don’t head out if you don’t have to,” county Supervisor Greg Cox said during a press conference yesterday. “Lives truly depend on it.”
San Diego County residents are only allowed to leave home for essential reasons including buying food, picking up medications, caring for a family member or friend in need, and exercising.
Social distancing of six feet from non-household members is required, but because many were not following that order, the county, state and many cities have shut down many public recreational sites. Closures locally include city and state beaches, county recreation centers, playgrounds and some parks, city reservoirs/lakes, Lake Jennings, Santee Lakes, trails to Three Sisters and Cedar Creek falls, and more. Mountain communities that don’t have COVID-19 cases diagnosed have asked visitors to stay away and the Sheriff is turning back vehicles trying to drive to the snow in our local mountains. Exercising in your own community is advised.
Social distancing has been proven to slow the spread of pandemics so that numbers of sick people don’t overwhelm the local health care system and emergency care remains available for non-COVID patients.
The goal is to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and lessen the number of people who contract the virus and need hospitalization. Doing so will give the local health care system time to increase its capacity to care for the expected influx of people who become ill.
The County’s COVID-19 webpage contains a graph showing new positive cases and total cases reported by date. For more information, visit www.coronavirus-sd.com.
Live Well San Diego has launched Live Well at Home, a collection of free resources aimed at helping San Diegans in maintaining a healthy mind and body while staying indoors. These resources are categorized by age group and topic to match the needs of the community.