San Diego city leaders urged locals Friday to heed Gov. Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 outbreak while acknowledging that residents have been observing directives from city and county leaders to self-isolate this past week to keep from overburdening hospitals and emergency services.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the city has seen "unprecedented cooperation'' from residents to various orders to stay at home and practice social distancing.
San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit and San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Colin Stowell echoed those sentiments, saying that so far, residents have heeded calls to stay inside, which they said helps first responders and keeps them safe from potential exposure to COVID-19.
Nisleit said the police department has seen an 11% decrease in calls for service this past week, a sign that San Diegans were complying with local orders regarding COVID-19.
Faulconer asked residents to stay on course following the governor's executive order Thursday.
California's stay-at-home directive will remain in place "until further notice,'' according to the governor's order, which limits Californians to only leave home for "essential'' purposes such as food, medical care and work if it is deemed "essential critical infrastructure."
"This is how we slow [the virus] down. This is how we stop the spread,'' Faulconer said during an afternoon news conference at City Hall.
Faulconer also called on residents to adhere to the recently announced restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border, per the countries' mutual agreement to restrict nonessential travel at the southern border crossing.
The restrictions go into effect starting Saturday.
"San Diego residents and businesses depend on a fully functioning border. No one believes that more than me,'' Faulconer said. "I also believe people come first. So right now, we must put the health and safety of all people at the forefront of our decision making.''
City Councilmember Mark Kersey shared a tragic, personal story to emphasize that younger residents should not fall into a false sense of security under the belief that only older people are at risk.
Kersey said his brother died of the H1N1 virus six years ago at the age of 37. While being otherwise healthy, he was overworked, did not get a flu shot and "didn't heed the first signs'' of his illness, Kersey said.
On Friday, county officials announced during their daily update that a 19-year-old had tested positive for the virus, marking the county's youngest COVID-19 patient so far.
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