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COVID-19: GO AWAY

Borrego Springs Starts To Open

 

Last updated 5/22/2020 at 11:34am



This lengthy lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic is a never ending thought process of when things will end or even get better. As we all struggle to grasp some sort of normalcy in reality, we can’t help but think if we will ever be safe. We continue o work to control and eradicate this virus, taking the necessary steps as we ease into reopening.

The number of cases in Borrego Springs was holding steadily at just one, but on April 30, another case was reported, according to the San Diego County’s latest report (sandiegocounty.gov). There are no further details if the case was community spread or if the person infected traveled, in which the location has not been disclosed. As of print time, there have only been two confirmed cases in Borrego.

It was announced that Borrego Springs will have its first drive-by testing, held at The Mall on May 14 to May 16 from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Only 50 tests will be conducted per day, for a total of 150.

The drive-by testing will be open to the public without reservations, however, those who do have appointments will get first priority.

People who are not registered patients of Borrego Medical Clinic can be tested, but will need to provide more information.

Many businesses are eager to welcome customers back into their establishments, but are being held back due to Governor’s orders. However, things continue to change by the hour, so all are preparing to open as soon as they receive the green light to do so.

On May 12, Newsom laid out guidelines to allow some dine-in restaurants, malls and outdoor museums, along with other businesses to reopen. However, specific details to these guidelines were announced after press time.

As of May 1, Rams Hill Golf Club has resumed business operations with strict protocols and procedures for staff and visitors to follow.

Rams Hill will be open for the remainder of the season, with no word on its expected closure.

La Casa Del Zorro, who has also been closed since March, will be reopening its doors on May 15. Their bistro will be open for to-go only for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and alcohol is available. But due to Governor’s orders, the gym is still not open at this time.

There will be no housekeeping service; menu and restaurant hours have changed; no room service at this time.

“We strive to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene. And in response to the coronavirus, we have taken additional measures to make our cleaning and hygiene protocols even more rigorous,” LCDZ said in a statement.

On April 30, the County announced easing some restrictions at parks and open space, as well as allowing golf courses to reopen with modifications.

In the San Diego County, there are 5,065 cases with 175 deaths, as of May 11.

After the extra effort to slow the spread, County officials modified the Public Health Order requiring residents to wear face coverings amid the coronavirus pandemic, which went into effect May 1. It is unclear of how long this order will last at this time. The health order requires residents to wear a face covering when they leave their homes and are within six-feet of non-household members, according to County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

San Diego County Board of Supervisors also voted on a proposal plan to reopen the County businesses on May 1, but was denied in a 2 – 3 vote. However, later, the Board unanimously approved the guidelines to begin reopening the local economy.

These are the five criteria for businesses to follow as they reopen:

Employee Health:

- Requires Personal Protection Equipment for employees and commit to voluntary compliance with public health officials on contact tracing and testing.

Safe Worksite Entry:

- Establish controlled entrance and exit practices to avoid queuing issues and work with the Public Health Department to create processes for employee symptom checks.

Workplace Distancing and Conditions:

- Evaluate occupancy and capacity to ensure proper physical distancing and keep shifts consistent with the same employees in each rotation or shift.

Employee Training and Compliance:

- Ensure signage on safety requirements, such as hand washing, physical distancing and reporting procedures for employees who become ill.

Enhanced Cleaning and Sanitation:

- Develop a sanitation plan that includes frequent cleaning of restrooms, workstations, and public spaces.

This framework is a “starting point,” as businesses continue to prepare for the coming weeks or months of change/modifications of reopening. It is likely these outlined criteria could be changed with more additions.

San Diego County District 5 Supervisor Jim Desmond is calling for all restaurants to open safely on May 21, as well as other businesses who are willing to follow the safety protocols to do the same.

“The citizens of San Diego are hardworking, taxpaying residents, who must be treated like adults,” he said. “Let’s move forward to get our County open.”

Desmond also added that those who feel uncomfortable to go outside, or go back to work, that they should not.

“We should support those who believe they must stay quarantined for the time being and protect those most vulnerable, such as group homes. But we should also recognize that many San Diegans know they must be able to re-open their businesses or else they will never financially recover,” Desmond said.

“The goal at the beginning of this crisis was to reduce our hospital surge, protect our most vulnerable and flatten the curve. Thanks to our county health officials, and the prudent citizens of San Diego County, we’ve done that.”

The number of people actually infected with the disease is likely much higher because not everyone needs to be tested, including the close contacts of positive patients that are often presumed to have the disease. Eric McDonald, Medical Director with the County Epidemiology Immunization Branch, estimated the actual number of people with COVID-19 is around 10 times the reported total.

California seems to be taking the right steps in flattening the curve, as restricts are slowly being eased.

The state has moved into Phase 2 of Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan, but in light of this phase, there are some limitations.

However, in Phase 2 of Newsom’s reopening plan, and many businesses were not listed, which included, hair and nail salons, as well as dining in at restaurants.

During a press conference, Newsom revealed that community spread of the virus in the state started in a nail salon. Some businesses have begun installing plexiglass dividers and requirements of masks hoping to get the green light soon to reopen.

Newsom said, “It’s just a factual statement and it was not a statement to be extrapolated as an indictment, quite the contrary of an industry I deeply respect.”

However, there is no further proof of how the virus was contracted in the nail salon.

Part of Phase 2, this includes reopening lower-risk businesses and public spaces with modifications to allow for social distancing. Businesses like retail, florists, sporting good shops, book and toy stores can reopen with curbside pick up only, as well as manufacturing and offices when telework is not possible. Schools and childcare establishments can be reopened, as well. However, many schools will not reopen, and will resume distance learning.

Desmond said the Governor’s “no deaths for 14 days” requirement for the next phase of reopening is impossible for San Diego County.

“Since the Governor has made it unattainable to get to the next step, I’m in favor of starting to open some of those businesses now I guess defying the Governor’s order,” he said.

San Diegans have shown their willingness to follow rules and are eager to get back to work.

“I will be fighting to get San Diegans back to work, with a careful adherence to the public health rules that prevent the spread of this virus. We’ve continued to abide by all rules, but enough is enough. We must begin to look at the steps many other Counties in this state have done defying the Governor’s orders.”

In a further announcement by Newsom in regards to schools, he said that they may begin as early as July or early August in hopes of filling in the learning gap because of COVID-19.

There has yet to be some sort of cure or vaccine, but the state and the country is making its way with Food and Drug Administration approved drugs to speed up the recovery process.

The FDA approved the emergency use of remdesivir, which appeared to help patients recover faster. They later approved Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine candidate to start human trials for Phase II.

On May 9, the FDA also announced the emergency authorization for antigen tests developed by Quidel Corp. of San Diego. Officials said it could be a key to opening up the country. The test can rapidly detect fragment of virus proteins in samples collected from swabs swiped inside the nasal cavity, FDA said in a statement.

The atigen test is the third type of test to be authorized by the FDA.

The only way to diagnose active COVID-19 is to test a patient’s nasal swab for genetic material of the virus. These tests, however, take hours and require expensive and specialized equipment.

A second type looks in the blood for antibodies, the proteins produced by the body days or weeks after fighting an inspection.

The antigen tests can diagnose active infections by detecting the earliest toxic traces of the virus.

The FDA expects to authorize more antigen tests in the future.

However, a full-blown cure of the virus is a long ways ahead.

The road ahead is a long one, but we must be patient and work together to continue to flatten the curve. There’s no guarantee all will be back to normal, as all the guidelines and protocols may eventually be a part of our everyday lives.

For now, we must give each other a virtual hug or high-five in the time being. Remember, we are in this together.

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