SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CA — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved a formal request Tuesday to Gov. Gavin Newsom to accelerate the reopening of certain facilities and activities in the county — including modified youth/sports clubs, personal services such as salons and fitness clubs, and outdoor religious services — shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The vote was 4-1, with Supervisor Nathan Fletcher opposed. The county will send a formal letter to Newsom in support of a pilot program to further open facilities.
As the board voted, the county health department reported 80 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 11 additional deaths, raising the county's totals to 6,026 cases and 222 fatalities.
The 11 deaths reported include three women and eight men ranging in age from their late 40s to their 80s. All but one had underlying health issues, with that one undergoing testing to determine if any issues were present.
In a written statement, Fletcher said he believes the county is ready to responsibly reopen businesses in "Stage 2" consistent with the guidelines Newsom outlined Monday. However, "given we have not even opened 'Stage 2' businesses, I do not believe it is time to call on the state to allow the immediate opening of 'Stage 3' entities including higher-risk activities like gathering and businesses with high exposure, intensity and duration of risk," Fletcher said.
Newsom has said he believes the county will be ready to move into "Stage 3" at the beginning of June, Fletcher added.
Although the county must wait for Newsom's approval, Supervisor Jim Desmond called the pilot plan "a step in the right direction."
Desmond said if the county doesn't allow for more facilities to reopen, the health crisis will only expand based on how the stay-at-home mandate is affecting people, and unemployment will increase.
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The move won support from numerous business owners who called in during the teleconference meeting.
Other residents who called in urged the board to take any reopening slowly to avoid another major outbreak in cases.
County CEO Helen Robbins-Meyer said Newsom has made it clear that no county can move to Stage 3 of reopening — unless its government can ensure they've had no infection.
"We remain committed to abiding by the state's order," she said, but believes San Diego County is uniquely qualified to meet some Stage 3 criteria because of its practices.
"I cannot say the governor will approve this pilot," Robbins-Meyer said, but if he does even approve part of it, the county can move forward.
The supervisors voted after hearing an update on the county's efforts to contain further spread of the coronavirus. Health officials said the county is ready to move further into Stage 2 of the California resiliency roadmap.
Robbins-Meyer said the county meets Stage 2 acceleration criteria. According to the county, that criteria includes:
- Less than 5% of daily COVID-19 hospitalizations over a 7-day period or no more than 20 COVID hospitalizations on any single day in the past 14 days;
- Fewer than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days or less than 8% testing positive in the past 7 days.
- A capacity to be able to test 1.5 per every 1,000 residents and at least 15 staff per 100,000 county population trained and available for contact tracing, and;
- Hospital capacity for a possible surge of 35% of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 cases in addition to providing usual care for other patients.
Today's #COVID19 update:➡San Diego County resident total cases are now at 6,026, 80 more than yesterday.➡There are 11 new deaths reported among county residents, bringing the total to 222.➡1,136 (18.9%) have required hospitalization and 346 (5.7%) were placed in ICU. pic.twitter.com/pCMbctOorD
— Supervisor Nathan Fletcher (@SupFletcher) May 19, 2020
Good news for San Diegans and our economy: The Board of Supervisors today voted unanimously to approve an accelerated business re-opening plan. While I will continue to push for total local control over decisions related to COVID and re-openings, we are quickly...
— Dianne Jacob (@dianne_jacob) May 19, 2020
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