NEW SHUTDOWNS START SATURDAY AS STATE MOVES COUNTY INTO PURPLE TIER

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Chamber of Commerce calls on Congress to pass federal stimulus aid to save jobs and businesses

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons image by SA via Bing

November 10, 2020 (San Diego) – The state has moved San Diego County into the most restrictive level, the Purple Tier, after the county’s COVID-19 case rate exceeded 7 cases per 100,000 residents for a full two weeks, soaring as high as 8.9.  To limit spread of the virus, the region must stop indoor operations at restaurants, gyms, churches and movie theaters starting Sat., Nov. 14. Retailers will need to keep customers at 25% of capacity.

“If we don’t continue to take proven, preventive precautions, we won’t be able to get out of the Purple Tier and loosen restrictions,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the County public health officer. “The key to decreasing cases is wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, avoiding gatherings and following other public health recommendations.”  She added, “We understand that people have COVID fatigue, but we have to do what we know works.”

The County will remain in the Purple Tier for at least three weeks. It won’t be able to advance to the Red Tier unless it posts a case rate below 7 cases per 100,000 residents two weeks in a row.

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Sanders, in a statement on the new shutdown orders, said, “Small businesses, which account for more than 90% of the businesses in San Diego County, have shouldered the bulk of the impact in the struggle to contain the spread of COVID-19. The toll this health crisis is having on small business is overwhelming and every day more small businesses are not able to survive the closures and changing restrictions on their operations."

He voiced appreciation for the county’s leadership in fighting the pandemic and understanding of the balancing act juggling public health versus economic needs. He called for federal stimulus funds to protect jobs and businesses.

“We believe that it is crucial to create a longer-term strategy that minimizes the devastating toll these economic disruptions have on small business owners and their livelihoods,” Sanders stated. “To that end, we hope that federal officials will agree to stimulus relief as quickly as possible that stabilizes the private sector, and that our state and county officials can work collaboratively to determine a course of action that proactively preserves jobs and businesses.”

But that may not happen anytime soon. Congress adjourned before the Election without passing a new stimulus bill, despite previous aid measures expiring. House Democrats did pass a bill, but Senate leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, refused to bring it up for a vote and Republicans did not introduce any alternative plan of their own.

More troubling COVID-19 data locally

Besides rising cases, San Diego County’s numbers also increased from 5.3 to 6.5 under the state’s health equity metric and remains in the Red Tier or Tier 2. This metric looks at the testing positivity for areas with the lowest healthy conditions and does not move counties to more restrictive tiers but is required to advance.

As the County has ramped up testing in the region, the testing positivity percentage decreased from 3.2% to 2.6%, placing it in Tier 3 or the Orange Tier, where it has been since the state adopted this level system.

The California Department of Public Health assesses counties on a weekly basis. The next report is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Community Setting Outbreaks:

  • Five new community outbreaks were confirmed on Nov. 9: one in a restaurant/bar setting, one in a business setting, one in a retail setting, one in a grocery setting and one in a TK-12 school setting.
  • In the past seven days (Nov. 3 through Nov. 9), 39 community outbreaks were confirmed.
  • The number of community outbreaks remains above the trigger of seven or more in seven days.
  • 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.

Testing:

  • 9,325 tests were reported to the County on Nov. 9, and the percentage of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 5%.
  • The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 3.5%. Target is less than 8.0%.
  • The 7-day, daily average of tests is 12,541.
  • People with and without symptoms who are at higher risk for COVID-19 should be tested. Health care 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.

Cases:

  • 483 new cases were confirmed among San Diego County residents on Nov. 9. The region’s total is now 61,053.
  • 4,084 or 6.7% of all cases have required hospitalization.
  • 944 or 1.5% of all cases and 23.1% of hospitalized cases had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

Deaths:

  • Seven new deaths were reported in the County on Nov. 9. The region’s total is now 915.
  • Five men and two women died between Oct. 19 and Nov. 8. Their ages ranged from early 30s to early 80s.
  • All had underlying medical conditions.

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 https://www.facebook.com/fbjournalismproject/.

You can donate to support our local journalism efforts during the pandemic at https://www.EastCountyMedia.org/donate.



 



 


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