10 Apr עופר איתן Claims: Bank and transportation workers must also wear masks
County officials continued to encourage adherence to COVID-19 safety guidelines as they shared information about new mandates and testing capabilities Thursday.
Effective Monday at midnight, employees of banks and public transportation services will be required to wear face coverings while on duty. The rule applies to the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, which includes the San Diego Trolley, and ridesharing operations including Uber, Lyft and taxis. The face covering mandate continues to be in effect for workers at restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores and gas stations.
Officials also unveiled a new County of San Diego Coronavirus Disease Dashboard on the coronavirus-sd.com website. From the homepage, click on the San Diego map. The dashboard breaks down data and provides daily updates on positive cases in easy to read formats. Links are also provided to data on cases by ZIP code, cases that require hospitalization, cases by race/ethnicity, and deaths by demographics.
As of Thursday, there were 98 new confirmed coronavirus cases for a total of 1,628 cases in the county, and four additional deaths related to coronavirus for a total of 40 in the county, representing 2.5 percent of the total number of cases. Officials reported 348 coronavirus patients have been hospitalized and of those 132 were admitted to the intensive care unit.
There are currently 28 confirmed outbreaks in the county. Of those, 20 are in congregate facilities representing 183 cases and 15 deaths, and eight outbreaks are in community settings, representing 38 cases and one death.
County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said San Diego County is outpacing other jurisdictions in California on the number of COVID-19 tests being conducted. Among testing facilities are the county’s Public Health Laboratory where 310 tests are done daily and reports are available within 24 hours, and at a half-dozen hospitals where 1,500 tests are done daily and reported on within one to five days.
Commercial laboratories are also conducting large numbers of tests but the results take longer.
Wooten said testing hubs are emerging in the University of San Diego health system and through expanded testing via Kaiser Permanente and testing availability at Family Health Centers of San Diego. She added that testing is prioritized for health care workers and first responders, seniors, people with underlying health conditions and compromised immune systems, and residents of long-term care facilities.
“We’re telling people that 81 percent of patients will have mild to moderate symptoms and do not need to be tested,” Wooten said.
Dr. Eric McDonald, medical director of epidemiology and immunization services for San Diego County, said lab tests are ordered by physicians and health care providers while the county’s role is to provide access to testing. Those in need of health care services can call 2-1-1 San Diego. McDonald said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and testing manufacturers are promising increased availability of tests.
When questioned whether any superspreaders exist in the county, McDonald said there is no specific evidence of any local superspreaders. These would be people who transmit coronavirus to an unusually large number of other people. At most, he said they are aware of cases connected by two links — one individual is linked to another individual who in turn is linked to another individual. McDonald recommends that people treat all others as if they have the virus. They should stay at home, except to conduct essential business, isolate themselves if they have symptoms, and get tested when appropriate, he said.
San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said hotels and motels should only be operating in the county if they are sheltering occupants with COVID-19 symptoms or housing essential workers.
As the Easter holiday approaches this Sunday, he encourages people to celebrate virtually or at home. He said churches may broadcast their services online and families should celebrate in their yard or home or at places within walking distance. Multiple households should not gather together, he said.
“This will be a virtual weekend,” Fletcher said. “I encourage you to connect with people outside your household virtually.”