County prepares for potential 2nd wave of virus cases

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County public health officials gave residents a glimpse of actions the county could take if COVID-19 cases begin to spike as a result of public demonstrations and newly opened industries, up to and including dialing back reopenings.

The county reported 124 additional cases and seven deaths Wednesday, raising its totals to 7,798 cases and 283 deaths. The deaths included four men and three women ranging in age from 62 to 91.

The county also recorded a new daily-high for COVID-19 tests, with 4,940, just 3% of which returned positive.

Nurses Albert Legayada (L) and Fred Bueno care for a COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit at Sharp Grossmont Hospital amidst the coronavirus pandemic on May 6, 2020 in La Mesa, California. The patient is being treated in a RotoProne bed which rotates the patient to improve ventilation. Sharp HealthCare is the largest health system in San Diego County. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The county’s rolling average of positive tests has hit a plateau over the last several weeks, and other numbers are “trending in the right direction,” according to Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s public health officer.

But with thousands taking to the streets protesting the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week, and with restaurants and other industries continuing to open locally, health officials revealed a backup plan Wednesday.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher identified 13 “triggers” that could cause the county to take industry-specific actions, pause all reopening efforts or even dial back reopenings. These triggers are divided into three categories: epidemiology and public health, with four triggers each — and healthcare, with five.

According to Fletcher, the county is currently in “green” in all 13 measurements.

However, if the county records seven or more community-based outbreaks in seven days, sees the intensive care bed availability come close to 20% of the total or if personal protective equipment at half the county’s hospitals drop below a 15-day supply for three consecutive days, the county will take immediate action.

“Any one of these criteria could force us to take action,” Fletcher said, adding that if the county triggers one of the guidelines in two of the three categories, it would also be forced to act.

“It’s complicated, but it gives us our best and clearest sense of where we are,” he said.

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