Doctors, San Diego County Public Health Officials Urge Caution Ahead Labor Day Weekend

San Diego County health leaders and doctors are urging caution ahead of a historic heat wave during Labor Day weekend

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San Diego County doctors say evidence shows a significant rise in coronavirus cases following holiday weekends. While some reopening restrictions have loosened because of San Diego's downward trend, doctors explain there is a risk of a surge.

"We cannot have selective memory about this," said Dr. Abisola Olulade of Sharp Rees-Stealy. "During the holidays are a time of great risk."

Concerns are particularly heightened ahead of this Labor Day weekend as reopening restrictions have loosened across San Diego County.

"What you do during the holidays or a few days of not following the guidelines can really roll back and really destroy a lot of efforts and sacrifices that have been made," Olulade said.

The first week of September, tattoo parlors were among several businesses that reopened their doors under these new guidelines.

"I hope everybody in the city of Chula Vista and San Diego does the right thing: wears masks, social distances so we can stay open longer than three weeks," Sergio Perez said.

Perez is the owner of the Standard Tattoo parlor shop, and he's mindful of following safety rules in order to keep businesses up and running.

"It's unfortunate that this virus hit us as hard as it did and it's scary," Perez said. "It's scary that so many people have passed away before their time."

While business owners don't want to roll back on re-openings, neither does Olulade, who said that reducing the number of cases is a community effort.

"The evidence is there -- you have to believe it -- and this is still a virus that we don't have a lot of treatment options for," Olulade said.

Olulade encourages people to continue to maintain their hygiene with hand washing, and to wear a face mask and practice physical distancing measures.

It is no surprise that health experts are worried about the number of Covid-19 cases increasing over the long Labor Day weekend. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Dr. David Rubin suggests spending time with loved ones in smaller groups and engaging in outdoor activities to help limit the transmission of the virus.

'COVID-19 Will Not Be Taking the Day Off'

Meanwhile, county public health officials reminded the public Friday to stay vigilant.

“COVID-19 will not be taking the day off,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the San Diego County public health officer. “The more people go out and the more they interact with people outside their household, the more likely they are to contract the virus.”

Public health officials said Memorial Day was a prime example of how San Diegans let their COVID guard down and, as a result, cases surged in the weeks that followed.

The public should follow all precautions over this holiday weekend to prevent another surge in cases, including not hosting or attending private holiday parties and avoiding crowded places to decrease the risk of exposure.

Face masks and social distance are also important, health officials said. And, if you’re sick, stay home and isolate yourself from others.

Some attractions have reopened in time for Labor Day weekend in San Diego but with those reopenings, comes great responsibility. NBC 7's Audra Stafford reports.
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