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San Diego County Board of Supervisors to review plan for accelerated Phase 2 reopening

County of San Diego cases of COVID-19 are at 5,946 with 211 reported deaths.
Credit: KFMB

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — County of San Diego officials announced an additional 110 cases of COVID-19 and two additional reported deaths Monday bringing the local totals to 5,946 and 211 respectively.

San Diego Board of Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox said the board will discuss plans to reopen additional businesses in the region at Tuesday's meeting following Governor Gavin Newsom's announcement Monday that many California counties have the health data and plans necessary to further reopen their economies. Cox said the board will get a report from county staff on where the region is in its fight against the novel coronavirus along with information on the governor's latest updates. 

"I don't want to jump ahead of our staff report, but I have to tell you, I'm very optimistic," Cox said. 

According to Dr. Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer, San Diego is among those who can consider an "accelerated phase 2 reopening" and said a plan for that would be submitted to the board of supervisors Monday night. 

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said that in looking at the lessons of history and looking at other places worldwide, it is important that reopening is done in a thoughtful way so as not to trigger a second wave of infections. 

"We strive to strike the very difficult balance of the dangers of coronavirus and the negative and very real impacts on our economy and our way of life," said Fletcher. 

The supervisor said that if San Diego County is allowed to move forward it could be "very rapidly." The major entities under consideration for reopening as part of an accelerated phase 2 are in-person dining and in-person retail. 

Fletcher said these entities should be prepared in the event the county is given the OK for them to open. He advised businesses to review safe reopening plans from the county and guidance from the state and to have a safe reopening plan prepared - for which there is a template online.

Fletcher said that in addition to those reopenings being a possibility in the coming days, the governor eluded to stage 3 of reopening coming in early June. Hair salons, counseling, sporting activities, and church services are among the businesses and services Governor Newsom mentioned Monday that could be reopened in the coming weeks, Fletcher said. 

Fletcher noted that over the weekend the state of California surpassed 100,000 COVID-19 tests administered. 

The supervisor also talked about two new test sites opening Tuesday; one will be at the Tubman-Chavez Center in Southeastern San Diego (415 Euclid Avenue)  and the other will be at the former county assessor's office in El Cajon (200 S. Magnolia Avenue.) The free walk-up sites do not require a doctor referral but do require an appointment. Appointments can be made online here

The state-run sites are in addition to those operating in Escondido and Chula Vista.

When asked about casinos that reopened to long lines Monday, Dr. Wooten said the county health department disagreed with the casinos' timing but lacks jurisdiction to block the action.

Wooten said she reviewed the reopening plans for Sycuan, Vallew View and Jamul, but had not seen any such plan from Viejas. The three opening later this week had some limitations, such as bingo and poker remaining closed, restaurants operating for limited hours and gaming areas requiring appropriate spacing between players and staff. Patrons and staff also were to undergo temperature checks, wear masks at all times and practice physical distancing.

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RELATED: California releases health guidelines for most counties to reopen economies sooner

RELATED: 4 San Diego casinos set to reopen to the public this week

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View all News 8 coverage of coronavirus / COVID-19  
 
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We also have a Frequently Asked Questions page we will continue updating with the latest information and reports.  

Click here to watch "Facts Not Fear," a News 8 Special on coronavirus from March 26, 2020. 

BACKGROUND  

According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.  

Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, as with any other respiratory illness:  

Know how it spreads 

  • There is no vaccine  

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus 

  • It is thought to spread mainly from person-person between people in close contact 

  • And believed to be spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes 

Protect yourself 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds 

  • If soap and water aren't available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick 

  • Put distance between yourselves and others 

Protect others 

  • Stay home when you are sick 

  • Wear a facemask if you are sick 

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash 

  • If you don't have tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow 

  • Immediately wash your hands after coughing and sneezing  

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe 

You can find information on disinfecting and cleaning on the CDC's How to Protect Yourself page. 

The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance on the use of cloth face coverings to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.  

The County of San Diego has made face coverings mandatory for those working with the public including grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and similar businesses. 

While officials say these face coverings are not a substitute for practices like social distancing and handwashing, there is evidence to suggest that the use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission. Officials do not recommend the public use N-95 or surgical masks which are needed by health care workers and first responders.