San Diego County was in the midst of a public health crisis when the month of April began but leaders were convinced that the county could "change the trajectory" of the new coronavirus' spread if certain measures were taken.
Over the next month, the public health order was amended several times -- to require essential businesses to utilize face coverings, to eliminate gatherings of any size and, likely the most contentious, to close beaches -- all in the name of protecting the health of its citizens.
The question is, did it help to flatten the curve? Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said on May 1, the answer is "definitely" yes.
Take a look back at what happened in April 2020 when it comes to fighting COVID-19, in San Diego County in reverse chronological order:
This data is not a full representation of cases. There has been very limited testing so far. Therefore, the actual number of cases per zip code could vary greatly. Officials with the County Health and Human Services Agency say the number of people infected with COVID-19 in San Diego is around 10 times the reported total.
Other Data: Is San Diego County "flattening the curve?"; COVID-19 case totals by age and gender; Map of case totals by city of residence; Case totals by race/ethnicity; Tests reported by day; Statistics regarding hospitalized patients; Statistics regarding deceased patients.
San Diego County officials confirmed 132 new COVID-19 cases out of 2,303 tests reported Thursday, bringing the total to 3,564 cases in the region.
There were also four new deaths reported, which brought the county's total to 124. The dead included four men; one in his 50s, two in their 70s, and
one in his late 80s. All but one had existing health issues.
The county announced it was easing some restrictions at parks and open spaces, and also allowed golf courses to reopen with operational adjustments. Those changes go into effect Friday, May 1.
At parks, single households can participate in group sports and activities, and even lounge and picnic. The county also allowed recreational boating to commence in the oceans, bays and lakes, but boating is also limited to members of the same household.
County residents were also reminded that the facial covering mandate goes into effect at 12 a.m. Friday.
San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said there would be increased police presence at Sunset Cliffs throughout the week to stop people from gathering.
San Diego County officials confirmed 118 additional COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the total to 3,432 cases in the region.
There were also two new deaths due to complications of coronavirus, which brought the county's death toll to 120, officials said. A woman in her mid-80s and a man in his late-70s died, both with underlying medical conditions.
The county acknowledged that the Public Health Order, set to expire on April 30, will be extended indefinitely on Thursday. County officials must wait until the state lifts its restrictions before the county can lift their own.
County Supervisors Greg Cox and Nathan Fletcher announced a new proposal to establish a "series of protocols that will apply consistently across all businesses when they open." The two will bring forward the proposal at the next county board meeting on May 5.
Dr. Wilma Wooten again outlined the five metrics being investigated before the region can reopen. Among the progress being made, the county said there has been a downward trajectory of influenza-like and COVID-19-like cases.
A report released by SANDAG said that San Diego's employment rate is expected to drop below the national rate experienced during the Great Depression. The county also unveiled a zip code map that showed which zones within the county were hit hardest by job loss.
Days after county health officials allowed for the reopening of beaches, a memo sent to state police departments said Governor Gavin Newsom was expected to close them back down on Thursday in response to unsafe crowds seen at the coast.
As the county continues to increase testing capacity, the number of positive cases also rises. There were 3,314 total positive cases in San Diego County as of Tuesday, a 173 case jump since the total reported the day before.
As the county looks at possibly reopening the economy, it is closely observing the overall trend of positive cases versus reported tests. Today, the 173 positive cases came from 2,545 reported tests for a roughly 6.8 percent rate.
There were also five additional deaths, bringing the county total to 118. Two women in their mid 50s and mid 80s, and three men from their early 70s to late 80s died, all with underlying medical conditions, according to the county.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said three additional SDPD officers have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total to 10. The seven officers who tested positive previously have recovered and returned to duty.
The Metropolitan Transit System said it would require all passengers to wear facial coverings while in vehicles or at transit centers or bus stops beginning May 1, a policy in line with the upcoming county requirement for face coverings in public.
County officials reported 98 new positive cases out of 823 reported tests, bringing the total to 3,141 positive cases.
The county also reported two additional deaths -- a woman in her early 60s died April 23 and a man in his mid 50s died April 25, both with underlying health conditions -- for a total of 113 deaths.
A 31-year-old Indian man suspected of illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border near Calexico tested positive for COVID-19 after displaying flu-like symptoms, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said. The CBP said it is conducting contact tracing and closely monitoring his symptoms.
A Sprouts Farmers Market employee at the Point Loma store, located at 3315 Rosecrans St., has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual was last in the store on April 19, according to Sprouts.
During the county's daily press briefing, officials detailed what a slow reopening may look like if criteria outlined by the state and federal government is met.
Under the Phase 1 reopening plan, the county would still require social distancing and covering your face. Vulnerable populations would still be urged to stay home. Visits to long term facilities would also be prohibited.
Total positive COVID-19 cases have reached 3,043, San Diego County officials announced. Sunday saw 100 new cases out of 1,297 reported tests. No additional deaths were reported.
Two homeless people at the emergency shelter in the San Diego Convention Center have tested positive for COVID-19 and were moved to isolated hotel rooms, the city of San Diego said.
County officials reported 117 new positive cases, bringing the total to 2,943 from 43,638 total reported tests. The county also reported nine additional deaths that occurred from April 17 to 24, bringing the region's total to 111. The county noted six of the nine died on April 23.
The five men and four women who died all had underlying medical conditions, according to the county.
Three people were arrested and cited during a rally at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, organized to protest beach closures and stay-at-home orders.
San Diego County saw 183 positive new COVID-19 cases out of 3,122 reported tests bringing the total of positive cases to 2,826. Two additional deaths were reported-- two women ages in late 40s and mid-60s, both had underlying medical conditions.
San Diego County public health leaders modified the Public Health Order to include limited access to the ocean and mandating facial coverings throughout San Diego County. Limited access to the ocean will go in effect sunrise on Monday, April 27.
"To be clear our public health order removes restrictions on people entering the water for purposes of swimming, surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Local cities are responsible for opening up the beach access and it will be upon each and every one of them to determine if they want to open up the beaches on Monday morning," Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.
Piers, boardwalks and beach parking lots will remain closed.
Starting on May 1 everyone in San Diego County will be required to wear a face covering. Face coverings should be used if you are within 6 feet of a non-household member.
San Diego County saw Thursday the largest single-day jump in positive cases since tracking began, although it coincides with the county's largest number of single-day reported tests, 2,255, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.
There were 152 new positive cases on Thursday bringing the total to 2,643. Four additional deaths were also reported -- two women in their mid- to late-70s and two males in their late 60s and 70s, all with underlying health conditions. There have been 100 deaths in San Diego County related to coronavirus complications.
The city of Chula Vista has now mandated face coverings for its citizens. Face coverings are required in or outside essential businesses and "highly recommended" whenever someone leaves their home, the city said. That makes Chula Vista the second city in the county to go beyond a public health order to require masks.
San Diego County took a step Thursday to lower the Public Health Order to allow for hospitals to conduct some elective surgeries when necessary. The change follows California Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement on Wednesday to lessen a statewide order that restricted elective surgeries. It was the first step state leaders took towards reopening California. Hospitals had stopped performing elective surgeries to make beds available for an expected surge of coronavirus patients. But an expected surge hasn’t happened.
The county also announced two new drive-thru testing sites would open Monday to help with testing priority populations. The sites, run by public health care nurses, will be open in Escondido from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Chula Vista from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. for people with an appointment only. For more information, call 2-1-1 and check the county website for the latest.
Health officials reported nine additional people have died due to the COVID-19 disease, bringing the county's total to 96.
All victims had underlying medical conditions. Among them were three women, ranging in age from late 60s to late 90s, and six men, ranging in age from late 30s to late 80s. All deaths occurred between April 17 to 20.
The city of Imperial Beach reopened neighborhood parks for local residents only. This comes a day after Mayor Kevin Faulconer reopened some neighborhood parks in the city of San Diego.
The parks reopened include Dunes Park, Portwood Pier Plaza, Reama Park, Rose Teeple Park, Sports Park, and Veteran's Park. Visitors are still required to maintain social distancing, all individuals should wear a facial covering, and all should keep moving, no sitting or standing.
San Diego County saw the largest one-day jump in reported deaths on Tuesday; Fifteen additional people have died due to the COVID-19 disease, bringing the total since the outbreak began to 87.
Health officials said not all the deaths occurred on the same day and noted the spike may be due to a backlog of deaths that were not yet reported from the weekend.
All but one of the victims had underlying health conditions. Among them were six females, ranging in age from late-60s to early 90s, and nine males, ranging in age from early-40s to late 80s.
There were also 109 new positive cases reported, bringing the total to 2,434.
County Supervisor Fletcher said it was a stark reminder that, although numbers have been trending downward, the fight against the novel coronavirus was not over.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced three additional SDPD officers tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total within the department to seven.
A proposal to develop a plan to reopen San Diego County businesses as soon as the public health order expires on May 1 was denied in a 2-3 vote by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. All three dissenting votes said they could not pass a motion that set a permanent reopening date, stating that criteria should be based instead on testing, hospital capacity, and other data-driven metrics.
The federal "Reopening of America" plan that is being followed by San Diego County public health officials will determine when businesses can reopen, Health Officer Wilma Wooten said.
She outlined the five metrics that they are looking at for downward trends. While some showed progress, there were others that remained stagnant at best or in some cases were trending upward.
The board did approve $5 million in loans for small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic in San Diego County's unincorporated areas.
There have been 2,325 total positive cases in the county, a one-day increase of 57 cases, from 33,905 reported tests.
The county reported one additional death, bringing the total to 72 deaths. The individual was a woman in her mid-80s with underlying medical conditions, county public health officials said.
The city of San Diego was the first to announce an easing of some restrictions. Mayor Kevin Faulconer said neighborhood parks would be reopened starting Tuesday with some restrictions.
County leaders encouraged people to stay the course until the end of April while they develop a plan for easing restrictions and opening up the economy in phases. They stressed people should expect a new normal regarding mass gatherings and social distancing.
County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the county hopes to pull back some restrictions on public recreation areas in the coming weeks with coordination from city mayors.
The San Diego Sheriff's and San Diego Police departments released a joint statement about the stay-at-home order protests over the weekend saying they "recognize this fundamental right while balancing it with the need to enforce the public health orders. Both on Saturday and Sunday, the protests remained peaceful and once people’s voices were heard, the protests ended."
"While no citations were issued at the protests, that does not mean prosecution will not be sought, especially to the organizers of these events," they added.
There were no new deaths reported among county residents, holding the total at 71. The county reported 55 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 2,268 positive cases from 32,594 reported tests.
Protests against the stay-at-home order continued in Encinitas while two popular walking paths remained closed by the city of Encinitas.
There have been 2,213 total positive cases in the county, a one-day increase of 55 cases. The county reported one additional death, bringing the total to 71 deaths.
California Department of Health officials released the names of 261 nursing homes across the state with COVID-19 outbreaks, including 11 located in San Diego County. An El Cajon home reported the county's highest number of patients, 19, who have tested positive for COVID-19.
As protests against the stay-at-home order erupted all over the country, a rally in downtown San Diego also drew a sizeable crowd.
Seven additional reported deaths brought the county's total to 70 on Friday. This includes three females and four males. Ages ranged between 58 and 95, and all had existing medical conditions, according to the county.
There were 2,158 total positive cases in San Diego.
County Supervisor and Board Chairman Greg Cox announced the launch of the San Diego Economic Recovery Group that is charged with preparing the region for economic reactivation and recovery.
The county of San Diego has started testing the homeless population gathered at the San Diego Convention Center with 53 tests conducted. Thirty-four came back negative and 19 are awaiting results.
San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry called for the reopening of area parks and beaches "as soon as the first week of May" -- depending on input from health experts. She said any decision would need to include guidelines on continued social distancing and face coverings. The recreational sites were ordered to close on March 23, and some violators have been cited by San Diego County Sheriff's Department. At this time, no plans to reopen San Diego's parks and beaches have been decided.
San Diego County reported three additional deaths, bringing the county's total to 63. The ages range between late 30s to late 70s. There were 2,087 total positive cases in San Diego.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer confirmed that two additional San Diego police officers had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total within the department to four.
The county of San Diego also said that they would increase testing of the homeless population gathered at the San Diego Convention Center. The tests were donated by the Lucky Duck Foundation and the aim is to quickly identify and isolate possible contamination among the vulnerable group.
The U.S. Attorney's Office charged a Carmel Valley-based physician with mail fraud in connection with the attempted sale of a "COVID-19 miracle cure" he claimed was 100% effective. The doctor told an undercover FBI agent his treatment was "a remarkable clinical phenomenon."
Seven additional reported deaths brought the county's total to 60 on Wednesday. All had underlying medical conditions and their ages ranged from the mid-60s to 100 years old. There were 2,012 positive cases.
A COVID-19 testing site in North County was given an order to shut down because they had not provided San Diego County public health officials with the proper documentation to prove that proper regulations were being followed to conduct one of its two tests, an antibody test.
The testing site had not yet stopped operating Wednesday afternoon to which County Epidemiologist Dr. Eric McDonald said, "I can tell you what my reaction is that if I was waiting in line to get a test I would get out of line."
San Diego County reported six additional deaths on Tuesday, all among people over 60 years of age. All but one were between 79 and 100 years old.
That brings the total number of people who have died from COVID-19 to 53. There was also a significant jump in cases on Tuesday, bringing the total to 1,930 confirmed positives.
The county reiterated that day-by-day numbers are less telling than weeks-long looks at trends.
“In San Diego, we have been generally successful in flattening the curve because we took early action... actions we took were based on data, on science, on the advice of public health officials,” said County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
San Diego County health officials and civic leaders addressed California Gov. Gavin Newsom's six-step guide to returning to normal life saying that, while a plan is in the works, action shouldn't be expected in the immediate future. The county will follow California's lead but April still needs to be a month of action, Fletcher said.
Also, The U.S. Marshals said that seven inmates at the Otay Mesa Detention Center have tested positive for COVID-19. They were being kept away from other detainees, according to a statement.
Two women, one in her late 90s and a 100-year-old, died of COVID-19, bringing the San Diego County's total to 47 deaths due to the diseased caused by the novel coronavirus.
Of the nearly 50 deaths reported by the county, all but two had underlying medical conditions, County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said. Nearly half of the deaths reported were part of outbreaks at congregant facilities, Wooten said.
There have been 1,847 positive COVID-19 cases in San Diego County.
The U.S. Navy also reported two more sailors aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy have contracted COVID-19. Both were taken off the hospital ship --which is San Diego-based but currently assisting overfilled hospitals in Los Angeles -- and placed into isolation.
In all, seven USNS Mercy crew members have contracted the disease in less than a week. The first case was reported on Wednesday.
A Navy sailor aboard the San Diego-based USS Theodore Roosevelt has died of coronavirus-related complications after he spent days in intensive care, according to the Navy. It also reported 585 positive and 3,921 negative results among the ship's crewmembers.
County health officials reported no additional deaths due to COVID-19 in the county, keeping the total at 45. There have been 1,804 total positive cases from 25,234 reported tests, according to the county.
County health officials reported 1,761 total COVID-19 cases and 45 deaths in San Diego County from 24,430 reported tests.
The individual who died was a man in his early 80s with underlying health conditions, health officials said.
In Otay Mesa, protestors clashed with law enforcement as they claimed CoreCivic, the company that manages the site, is not doing enough to protect migrant detainees from COVID-19.
In Guam, 550 crewmembers of the San Diego-based USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19, the Navy said.
Four more people have died due to COVID-19 in San Diego County, bringing the total number of deaths to 44. County health officials said all but two had underlying medical conditions.
There were 65 new cases reported Friday for a total of 1,693.
County health officials reported Friday 19 outbreaks in congregant facilities which include skilled nursing facilities and assisted living centers. This includes 180 positive COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths. They explained that half of the total deaths reported in San Diego County have been in congregant facilities.
Four more people have died due to COVID-19 in San Diego County, bringing the total number of deaths in our region relating to the disease to 40. The youngest person to die from the new coronavirus was three months old; the oldest was 100.
There were nearly 100 new positive cases reported Thursday for a total of 1,628.
Of the testing that has been reported, 93% has been negative, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said. Nearly 22,100 tests have been reported to the county since data collecting began.
The county also amended its public health order again to require employees in the bank and transportation industries to wear face coverings. This includes ride-share drivers. Employees of these segments have until Monday at midnight to comply.
Officials also highlighted a “drive-thru” emergency food and toilet paper distribution event for low-income families and seniors in Chula Vista, which will take place on Friday.
County health officials said there have been 1,530 total cases and 36 deaths in San Diego County from 21,178 reported tests.
New demographic data about the COVID-19 deaths was also released. Of the 36 reported deaths, two were ages 20-29, four were ages 50-59, three were ages 60-69, nine were ages 70-79, and 18 were age 80 or older. Also of the 36 deaths, 14 were women and 22 were men.
County health officials also amended the Public Health Order to prohibit non-essential gatherings of any size. Previously, gatherings of 10 or more people were not allowed.
A Port of San Diego Harbor Police officer has tested positive for COVID-19, the port said. The individual has not worked since March 20 and began feeling sick after that day. The port said it determined the officer has not been in contact with any other Port employees or Port facilities since that time.
A medical treatment facility crewmember on the San Diego-based USNS Mercy has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is isolated on board and will soon be transferred off the ship, the Navy said.
County health officials said there have been 1,454 total cases and 31 deaths in San Diego County. Dr. Wilma Wooten said the increased number of deaths should not be cause for alarm because reported deaths typically lag behind reported cases.
San Diego County public health officials will begin reporting the breakdown of COVID-19 cases among races, officials said, noting that among the now-1,404 confirmed cases, the racial breakdown tracked closely with county demographics.
No new deaths were reported Monday but County Epidemiologist Dr. Eric McDonald noted that death reports often lag because of a variety of reporting factors.
An employee who works at the county's Emergency Operations Center has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a letter sent to employees.
The Metropolitan Transit System said that due to a decrease in ridership, bus routes and a limited amount of trolley service would need to reduce frequency. The changes will go into effect on April 13. The transit agency also confirmed their first COVID-19 case among their bus operators.
County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher clarified an amendment to the public health order regarding facial coverings. Any business has the right to refuse service to a patron who is not utilizing a face covering, although the county has not deemed face coverings mandatory for citizens.
Fletcher also said at least 10,000 San Diegans have already taken on a new "Stay at Home" pledge that encourages staying inside and wearing masks if leaving the house for essential duties, like grocery shopping or doctor visits. To take the pledge, click here.
On the national level, Transportation Security Administration announced airline passengers will be allowed to wear cloth face coverings during the screening process. Passengers will have to adjust their masks so an officer can confirm their identity, however.
County health officials said there have been 1,326 total cases and 19 deaths in San Diego County from 17,663 reported COVID-19 tests. The 19th individual who died was a woman in her late 90s.
A pregnant woman tested positive for the coronavirus and was admitted to a Kaiser Permanente hospital to fight for her life and the life of her unborn child.
In the North County, the county announced an upcoming 250-bed federal medical station at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido. The facility will operate as a "hospital within a hospital" to increase the bed capacity in the region as it fights against the coronavirus pandemic.
Also, County Supervisor Greg Cox said sheriff's deputies will begin cracking down on people who violate the "shelter in place" order by congregating in large groups. Over the weekend, he said deputies issued 25 citations to violators.
There have been 1,209 total COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths in San Diego County, county leaders said. The 18th individual who died was a man in his early 70s, Wooten said.
As families stay at home together during the coronavirus pandemic, the San Diego District Attorney said "home is not safe for everyone" because of domestic violence.
The County of San Diego reached a grim milestone on Friday as positive cases surpassed the 1,000 mark, and the number of deaths from the disease reached 17.
"While expected, this moment should serve to reinforce to us all the difficult road ahead, the seriousness of the challenge we face but -- most importantly -- should serve as a call to action," Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.
A man in his late 70s died from complications of COVID-19, becoming the 17th person to die in the county from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. There were 1,112 positive cases county-wide from 966 the day before, marking the largest 1-day jump in cases.
The county also had a positive milestone to note: About 1.4 million pieces of personal protective equipment have been secured and distributed to local hospitals for medical staff.
Meanwhile, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department reported its first COVID-19 cases among its department; four SDSO employees and an inmate were infected, though the department does not believe the employees were infected by the inmate.
Customs and Border Patrol said cross-border foot traffic will be redirected through the PedEast facility so the PedWest facility can be closed down. The move was made, according to CBP, due to a 70 percent reduction in traffic through the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the busiest land border crossing in the United States.
County health officials amended a public health order to include guidelines for facial mask usage as cases in the county rose to 966. There has been one additional death, a 98-year-old woman, bringing the county's total to 16.
Effective April 4, employees of essential businesses who come in regular contact with the public (retail stores, pharmacies, gas stations, etc.) are required to wear facial coverings. Additionally, open businesses must post sanitation/social distance protocols publicly by April 7.
Details of the Public Health Order can be found here.
A TSA agent who does not screen passengers at San Diego International Airport tested positive for COVID-19, officials confirmed. It was the 2nd case reported among TSA agents at the airport this week.
There have been 849 total cases and five more deaths related to COVID-19 in San Diego County, leaders said as they urged the public to stage "aggressive action" during what will be a critical month for the region.
The additional deaths brought the county's total to 15. Leaders expected the number to rise but said San Diegans' "actions will save lives."
County health officials said a 90-year-old female, an 83-year-old male, a 74-year-old male, a 73-year-old male, and a 71-year-old male died of COVID-19.
"We absolutely and unequivocally believe that the month of April is the month that will determine our trajectory as a region," Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said. "We believe this is the month where we find out if we end up like Italy or New York or if we find ourselves through a better pathway and a better direction."
Dr. Yphantides confirmed an additional outbreak at a skilled nursing facility in El Cajon -- one person tested positive for COVID-19 and three people are being investigated.
Text "COSD COVID19" to 468311 to receive updates and alerts from the county. Click here to find different ways to help your community during the pandemic.
San Diego County would like to remind everyone if you or someone you care about is experiencing a suicidal or mental health crisis, please call the Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240.
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