SAN DIEGO — San Diego County health officials on Thursday reported an additional 75 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths. There are now 2,087 cases of the novel coronavirus in the county and we have suffered 63 deaths, according to San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten. The latest deaths break down by gender and age as follows:
- A female in her early 30s
- A female in her late 70s
- A male in his early 50s
Dr. Wooten reported that all three victims had underlying health conditions.
The county has now tested more than 29,000 individuals for COVID-19, and around 96% of those tested negative for the virus.
The number of hospitalizations increased to 507, with 181 of those patients being treated in intensive care units. Those numbers represent increases of 19 and eight, respectively, from Wednesday.
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the county's "doubling rate" for hospitalizations was 12.6 days; ICU admittance was 15.3 days; and the days it would take to double the number of deaths was 7.6. He said future data would include a five-day model with outlier "smoothing" to give a better picture of San Diego County's situation.
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher also reminded San Diegans to stay the course if we hope to continue to flatten the curve and prevent the further spread of coronavirus. Fletcher also noted the importance of maintaining focus and continuing to follow stay at home orders even as conversations about re-opening businesses and other entities have begun at the state and federal levels.
"It is really important to note that you cannot rebuild an economy if you are in the midst of a pandemic outbreak that is overwhelming your healthcare system capacity," Fletcher said. "So what is most important for San Diegans, for all of us to keep in mind is that we have to stay the course."
Dr. Wooten also confirmed one new community outbreak Thursday -- defined as three or more cases that can be traced back to one location and/or incident -- raising the county outbreak total to 34, tied to 37 deaths.
Meanwhile, Fletcher on Thursday reported another confirmed case in a homeless individual, raising positive tests in that population to 15, on the same day that city and county health officials began COVID-19 testing for homeless individuals being temporarily housed in the San Diego Convention Center.
Family Health Centers of San Diego, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency and the city of San Diego will offer the free and voluntary tests to 150 people each day until everyone housed in the convention center has been tested for the respiratory illness.
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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
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
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.