coronavirus pandemic

What Would Trigger San Diego's Public Health Officer to Reinstate Restrictions?

San Diego County leaders have said that if we reverse the progress we've made with COVID-19 we could see restrictions tighten up again, so why hasn't that happened yet?

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This week, almost every day, San Diego County has seen a record-high number of positive cases for COVID-19. Yet, county leaders don't seem to be in a rush to reinstate any restrictions on businesses or modify the public health order. That's because they are assessing a list of 13 triggers they made to determine if the public health order should be modified.

So far, community outbreaks have been the biggest concern for county leaders. Out of the 13 triggers, San Diego has repeatedly had more than seven new community outbreaks within a 7-day period, which means three or more people have tested positive for the coronavirus at the same location. But county leaders say that you should take the increase of positive cases and the number of community outbreaks with a grain of salt.

"You can’t just focus on one set of numbers. There are a myriad of different numbers and factors and everything else. What you also have to look at is a month ago, we were doing about half the number of testing that we’re doing now," Supervisor Jim Desmond said.

Supervisor Greg Cox agreed and said that the greater number of positive cases makes sense since testing and contact tracing have increased dramatically in recent weeks. So far, San Diego County has not hit any of the other 12 triggers that could warrant a modification to the public health order.

"If we get too many hospital beds being utilized that are particularly in the ICU area where there's a need for ventilators, that’s a real cause for concern, so far we’re at a very safe level," Supervisor Cox said.

Other triggers include reaching 80% of the hospital bed capacity or if more than 10% of people with COVID-19 are hospitalized. Ultimately, though, the county supervisors say the call to modify the public health order is up to the county's public health officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten.

Dr. Wilma Wooten has said that they are not going to reinstate any restrictions at this point. They are working with businesses and restaurants where the community outbreaks have been identified. While they might recommend that those specific locations might have to shut down to get things under control temporarily, they aren't going to recommend countywide closures at this time.

Dr. Wooten has said that, for now, she will not recommend any wedding receptions, concerts, or youth sports leagues to start.

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