By Anita Lightfoot, County of San Diego Communications Office
March 24, 2021 (San Diego) - On March 19, 2020, California became the first state in the country to issue a stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The months since have been filled with challenges, fear and grief, innovation and historic breakthroughs. Here is a look back at a year that San Diego was seized by a deadly threat and how the County fought back.
- County issues first COVID-19 public health order
- County Board Ratifies COVID-19 Emergency Declaration
- San Diego County’s First Positive COVID-19 Case Reported
- County Officials Give COVID-19 Update in Wake of Governor’s “Stay Home” Order
- First San Diego County Resident Dies from COVID-19
Photo, right: People washing their hands at station in Balboa Park.
- County COVID-19 Deaths Reach 45; #StayHomeSD Campaign Kicks Off
- Two Alternate Care Facilities (Palomar Medical) Ready for Patients
- County Rolls Out Testing, Tracing, Treatment Strategy
May 2020 – On May 1, cloth face coverings are mandated in public places when people are within 6 feet of anyone who is not from their same household. The County’s COVID-19 response continues to expand with meals to homebound seniors and COVID-19 testing in rural areas.
- Protect Yourself and Others – Face Coverings Required in Public
- “Great Plates Delivered” to Send Free Meals to Seniors
- COVID-19 Testing Ramps Up in Region
- County to Offer COVID-19 Testing in Rural Communities, Other Areas
- County, Rady Children’s to Test 2,000 Daily for COVID-19
Photo, right: County employee Esma Al Sabag is doing contact tracing in English and Arabic.
- New County Website Helps Residents Locate, Schedule COVID-19 Testing
- San Diego Restaurants to Close Nightly at 10 p.m.
July 2020 – California reverses course and begins to shut back down. Local death numbers climb past 500 as the County steps up outreach to the hard-hit Latino population. The County is placed on the state Watchlist and all indoor business operations are shut down.
- Dine-In Restaurants, Other Indoor Activities to Close in County
- County to Close Indoor Operations at Gyms, Nail Salons and Other Sectors
- County Intensifying COVID-19 Outreach to Latino Communities
- County COVID-19 Deaths Surpass 500, Cases Over 25K
August 2020 – California releases a color-coded, tiered “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” and San Diego is placed in the Red Tier, indicating “substantial” spread of the virus. The County allocates $48.8 million in CARES Act Funds and continues to focus on the Latino community and their access to critical COVID-19 information and resources.
- Board Creates Compliance Hotline, Allocates CARES Act Funds
- ‘Promotoras’ Working in Latino Communities to Prevent Spread of COVID-19
- County to Open New COVID-19 Testing Site at Border
September 2020 – COVID-19 numbers continue to climb at local universities. College students are encouraged to follow safety protocols and wash their hands, wear a mask and watch their distance. New testing sites open and the County offers up to $3,000 in emergency rental assistance per eligible household.
- County Works with SDSU to Address Rising Cases on Campus
- SDSU Cases Jump, Students Need to Stay Home
- County to Offer Rotating, COVID-19 Testing at Mexican Consulate, Other Locations
- County Emergency Rental Assistance Available to 8,000 Households
October 2020 – Health officials encourage vigilance heading into the holiday season to avoid a new wave of COVID-19 cases. The state introduces a Health Equity Metric to ensure the most vulnerable populations receive the resources they need to slow the spread. San Diego hangs on to the Red tier.
- New, No-Appointment COVID-19 Test Site Opens in Chula Vista
- New State Metric Focuses on Health Equity
- COVID-19 Update to Board Highlights Health Equity Strategy
- Increased COVID-19 Testing Helps to Keep County in Red Tier
November 2020 – After weeks on the brink, San Diego falls into the most restrictive Purple Tier. The rental assistance program is expanded and more funds are available to suffering businesses. COVID-19 fatigue causes a spike in positive cases leading into Thanksgiving with the looming threat of even higher numbers after holiday gatherings.
- County Moves to Purple Tier; Restrictions to Start Nov. 14
- County Launches COVID-19 Case Rate Map as Cases Set Record
- County Rental Assistance Available to Additional 10,000 Households
- Board Approves More Funds for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
Photo, right: the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine arrives at the County.
- Stay Home Order Issued as Region’s ICU Capacity Drops Below 15%
- 28K COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Arriving in San Diego
- San Diego Man Tests Positive for UK Variant of COVID-19
- 32 COVID-19 Variant Cases Identified in San Diego County
- County Opens Two COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics in South Bay
- County Opens New Vaccine Site at Tubman Chavez Community Center
- First North County Vaccination Super Station Opens
- COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics Coming to La Mesa, San Ysidro
- COVID-19 Vaccination Sites Open in Del Mar, San Marcos
- Delivery Shortfall Slows COVID-19 Vaccination Availability
- COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics Coming to Lemon Grove, Otay Mesa
- County Ready to Distribute Over $100 Million in Rental Assistance
- 80K COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Arriving in Region
Photo, left: County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten receives Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.