Borrego Sun - Since 1949

COVID-19: A Slight Hiccup

 

Last updated 6/30/2020 at 9:57am



It is an understatement to say things are quite challenging as orders continue to change and the uncertainty of what is to come sweep the nation because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In San Diego County, the process of reopening has now being re-evaluated due to the recent eight outbreaks of COVID-19 in community settings. The outbreaks occurred between June 11 and June 17 at two restaurants, as well as a residence, campground and social club, according to Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

A set of 13 triggers was shown to the Board of Supervisors during an update on the County’s COVID-19 response at their meeting earlier this month. The variety of data indicators reviewed would lead public health officials to pull back on the reopening of the local economy, as well as the health order being modified if a combination of one or more of the remaining criteria in two or more of three categories are met.

Community outbreaks are defined as three or more cases in a setting that is not a congregant living or senior living facility. Those have included medical service offices, manufacturing facilities, restaurants, places of worship, private residences, businesses and grocery stores.

San Diego County health officials are monitoring indicators the coronavirus may be spreading following the reopening of many businesses, and they have identified 13 thresholds that would trigger action. The county agreed to monitor the triggers under an agreement that allowed local businesses and activities to resume ahead of a statewide, multi-phased, reopening plan. Under an agreement with the State, the County must take some action when triggers are hit.

San Diego County has seen 39 outbreaks in community settings since the coronavirus outbreak hit the region in mid-February, 16 of which are still active.

There are currently 11,102 confirmed cases and 338 deaths in the County, as of June 22, 4 p.m.

These are the “triggers” that could force the county to rollback reopening:

If the county has seven or more outbreaks in community settings in a seven-day period;

If the number of beds available in the county’s ICU system falls below 20 percent;

If PPE supplies drop lower than half of the hospitals having a 15 day supply

If any of those criteria are triggered, the county could take industry-specific actions, pause reopening, or take a county-wide dial back on reopening.

The halt in the reopenings will not affect those previously announced – which included the nail salons, personal care facilities and tattoo parlors.

However, because of these triggers, it may affect the reopenings of other things such as music venues, sports with spectators or even convention centers.

Many are in a sore spot, finding it exceptionally difficult to adjust to modifications and restrictions in dealing with the now uphill battle to recover. What we thought would be over within a month or so time has become more serious than we could imagine, spreading worldwide, taking away our normalcy.

Borrego Springs seems to be holding steady with just nine confirmed cases, and no deaths have been reported, as of June 22.

Just as businesses are easing into reopening, and people finding their way around those modifications, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide order for face coverings in public to be required on June 18, amid the rise in cases.

The new statewide order follows new guidance from the California Department of Public Health that asymptomatic and presymptomatic people can still spread the disease.

“Our numbers are going up, not going down. Hospitalization numbers are just starting to creep back up, and I’m very concerned by what we’re seeing,” Newsom said.

California has 183,479 confirmed cases and 5,562 deaths. The United States has reached 2,386,184 cases, and the death toll rises to 122,591, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In the latest guidance, the Department of Public Health explained, “The use of face coverings by everyone can limit the release of infected droplets when talking, coughing, and/or sneezing, as well as reinforce physical distancing.”

Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space

Getting services at a doctor’s office, hospital, pharmacy, dental office, veterinary clinic or blood bank

Waiting for or riding on public transportation or while in a taxi, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle

Interacting with any member of the public and walking through hallways, stairways or parking facilities

There are, however, exceptions to those who would be required to wear face coverings.

Children under 2 are exempted from the rules, as are people eating or drinking in restaurants provided they can maintain a minimum six-foot distance from other customers and staff who are not members of the same household.

Additionally, anyone with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering can disregard the order.

Newsom said the statewide measure was a necessary step because “we have many municipalities that require mandatory mask wearing, and people are simply not applying it.”

He did not address how the order will be enforced.

As many continue to implement strategies to combat the spread of COVID-19 – from social distancing, stay-at-home-orders, quarantine restrictions and now a new statewide issue of masks, what will happen next?

Many, however, find the reopenings quite controversial, being way too early, as the health and safety is of concern. No one knows when conditions will improve or if it is the best decision opening things back up.

The following establishments were able to reopen on June 12:

Gyms, fitness centers, pools (includes apartment and condo complexes)

Restaurants, bars, and wineries

Hotels, card rooms, and racetracks

Bowling alley’s, museums, and zoos.

On June 12, a list of more establishments who could reopen as early as June 19 was released.

Nail salons, tattoo parlors, and other personal care services were allowed to reopen, following guidelines outlined by the State.

Outdoor religious services, weddings, cultural services, and other constitutionally-protected gatherings have no numerical limitations. Gatherings outside can take place as long as there is social distancing.

Also in San Diego County, a website was launched to help residents locate free COVID-19 testing locations. Testing is available to anyone for the free. Visit 211SanDiego.org.

Businesses in Borrego continue to reel in what they can as the summer season is here. With many of the snowbirds leaving for the season, and the decrease in tourism because of COVID-19, they are all trying their best to stay afloat.

La Casa Del Zorro, Borrego Springs Resort, Palms at Indian Head Hotel, Borrego Valley Inn and Stanlunds are welcoming guests at this time.

ABF’s State Park Store, Borrego Outfitters, and ABDNHA is open for in-store shopping with modifications.

Restaurants are also offering in-seat dining with modifications and delivery or takeout.

As we all continue to fight this COVID-19 pandemic, we can only hope and work together to end it. So for now, we must all support one another during this time.

We are in this together.

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