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By Miriam Raftery

April 28, 2020 (San Diego) – Over the weekend, 98 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by the San Diego County Health and Human Services department. The jump follows the trend in several cities where rallies were held to end shutdowns. The Sheriff arrested several local protesters over the weekend for violating stay-home orders.

The disease has spread rapidly in East County, where El Cajon now has 181 cases, La Mesa 71, Santee 29, Lemon Grove 28, Lakeside 22, Ramona 14, Jamul 6, and Alpine 4.  The communities of Ranchita, Boulevard, Potrero, Julian and Pala each have 2 cases; Borrego Springs, Descanso, and Tecate each have at least 1 case. View an interactive map with the latest updates on local cases by community.

Testing for COVID-19 has ramped up locally. Drive-through testing sites are available in San Diego and North County, but so far, not in East County.  Since April 13, 19,628 tests have been administered across San Diego County and 6.6% were positive, bringing total cases locally to 3,141.  To date, 113 San Diegans have died—3.6% of those who contracted the disease. The latest deaths are a man in his mid-50s and a woman in her early 60s, reported Sunday.

Health officials warn that defying public health orders will only prolong quarantine requirements to slow spread of the disease now known to cause blood clots and strokes even in younger people.

Masks required in public within six feet of others

Starting May 1,everyonone countywide is required to cover their face when in public and within six feet of anyone who is not a household member

Some restrictions eased, others may be lifted May 1

However, some easing of other restrictions have begun.  Beginning Monday, the County opened the ocean and bays for swimming, surfing, kayaking and paddleboarding. Walking and running on the sand are also allowed at county beaches, but putting beach towels or other items on the sand is still prohibited and parking lots remain closed. All group activities such as volleyball are not allowed, nor is boating.

Some coastal communities including the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Imperial Beach and Encinitas have opened their beaches. State beaches remain closed.  Oceanside, Del Mar, and Carlsbad beaches are also still closed.

The city of San Diego has also reopened neighborhood parks, though larger ones such s Balboa Park remain closed.

County officials indicate they are considering rolling back some other restrictions starting May 1, such as relaxing restrictions at county parks and beaches to allow picnicking and towels on the sand, reopening beach parking lots with some limitations, and opening golf courses – but only if the public shows that they can practice social distancing and obey rules meant to protect the public health. 

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