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To report violations of county health rules call (858) 694-2900 or email

By Miriam Raftery

File photo from 2019: A shutdown could hit hardest in mountain towns such as Julian, where winter weather makes it difficult for businesses to operate outdoors.

November 9, 2020 (San Diego) – Churches, restaurants, gyms, theaters and some other locations will have to end indoor operations in San Diego County if the number of cases doesn’t drop out of the state’s purple tier soon. Retailers would have to reduce capacity.The state could order shutdowns as early as tomorrow.

Winter weather will make it harder for businesses and worship services to be conducted outdoors, particularly in East County’s mountain areas, which had their first snowfall of the season last night.

If the case rate stays above 7 cases per 100,000 residents for two weeks, new restrictions are triggered, with closures mandatory until a county posts at least three consecutive weeks of case rates that are compliant.  Today, the case rate is 7.4 per 100,000 residents, remaining in the purple tier.

Although the testing positivity rate is 3.2%, the Orange Tier, two levels below the purple tier, a state cannot move into a less restrictive tier until both case rates and positivity rates qualify.

The County also reports a whopping 39 community outbreaks in the past week including a faith-based setting, a resort hotel/spa, several restaurants/bars, multiple businesses of undefined types, one retail establishment, a grocery store, and a barbershop, hair or nail salon setting. That’s far above the county’s own trigger threshold of 7 outbreaks in  a week.

A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households over the past 14 days.

ECM has received reports of some venues in East County violating county health rules, including a church where a parishioner has indicated the congregation was told to remove masks indoors, even with singing which is a known higher transmission rate of COVID than other activities. 

The county has fared better on testing, with 10,608 tests reported today and new lab confirmed cases at 4%.  The 14 day average, 3.3%, is well below the 8% target.

The county urges people with and without symptoms who are at higher risk for COVID-19 to be tested. Healthcare and essential workers should also get a test, as well as people who had close contact to a positive case or live in communities that are being highly impacted.

To date, San Diego County has had 60,570 cases, with 401 new cases reported as of yesterday. Of those, 6.7% required hospitalization and 1.5% were admitted to an intensive care unit.  Regionwide, 908 people have died.


Miriam Raftery, editor and founder of East County Magazine, has over 35 years of journalism experience. She has won more than 350 journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, San Diego Press Club, and the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Her honors include the Sol Price Award for responsible journalism and three James Julian awards for public interest reporting from SPJ’s San Diego chapter. She has received top honors for investigative journalism, multicultural reporting, coverage of immigrant and refugee issues, politics, breaking news and more. Thousands of her articles have appeared in national and regional publications.

East County Magazine gratefully acknowledges the Facebook Journalism Project for its COVID-19 Relief Fund grant to support our local news reporting including impacts on vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more: #FacebookJournalismProject and

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Playing the odds

I could go through life and never wear a seat belt. I could use power tools and never wear safety glasses. I could ride a bike and never wear a helmet. I could forget about having insurance and just chance it. I could choose not to do any of these things and just hope and gamble that I will be the lucky one. Lots of folks do. But I do wear seat belts in an automobile. Saved my life more than once. I have had drill bits break and go flying and wood splinters crack a pair of safety glasses. My eyes survived though. Crashed on a bike back when and I wasn’t wearing a helmet. Aren’t stitches fun? And insurance has saved my financial butt several times. I play the odds in life. Not at a card table or with a roulette wheel, but in everyday life. I could choose not to wear a mask. Lots of folks do and will probably continue to not wear masks. I will continue to wear a mask. One, because I wouldn’t be able to shop when I need to or get a haircut. Two, it might save me some pain. I know folks who have come down with the COVID-19 bug and it isn’t fun. In fact, it’s darned unpleasant and expensive to treat. I have a sister who is a nurse and teaches nursing. It is a very real thing and I want her to live through this. Three, I might just be one of the lucky ones to carry this bug and have no symptoms at all. I might never feel ill from at all. But, in that case I might pass it on to someone I love and care about. Four, it’s just the smart thing to do and it really isn’t that hard for almost everyone. Honest, it really isn’t hard