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Cases expand countywide including more East County communities

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) – The number of COVID-19 cases in our region continues to grow at a steep pace.  San Diego County now has 242 confirmed cases, of whom 226 are county residents. Two of the new cases are in infants. Heath experts warn the actual number of cases could be ten times higher, since not enough tests are available and thus testing is being done primarily on those hospitalized with respiratory distress.

Cases have been diagnosed among individuals with potential for substantial community spread, including personnel at several military bases and a Navy ship, a San Diego firefigher, an Escondido paramedic, students at UCSD and SDSU, and nurses at UCSD Medical Center, among others.

A second death of a county resident, a man in his 80s with underlying health conditions, occurred today.  The earlier death was a San Diego man in his 70s who was treated in another city.

While the largest number of cases, 141, are in the city of San Diego,many other communities also have confirmed cases including the following communities in East County and the County’s inland region: El Cajon, Escondido, La Mesa, Lakeside, Poway, Santee, Ramona and Spring Valley.

Of 45 people hospitalized, 44 are county residents.  The majority, around 64%, are not elderly, but rather between age 20 and 60.  So far, none of the hospitalizations are children or teens, however young people can be carriers of COVID-19 even without symptoms.

Health officials emphasize the importance of everyone continuing to shelter in place and avoid any unnecessary outings in order to help flatten the steep growth curve in San Diego County and assure that hospitals won’t run out of respirators for those most in need of care.

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