County reports 140 new virus cases, 6 additional deaths

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SAN DIEGO — County officials announced six additional deaths due to COVID-19 Friday and 140 new virus infections.

The new deaths bring the toll since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to 266 in San Diego County, with a total of 7,240 confirmed positive virus cases.

Of the people who have tested positive for coronavirus, 1,286 or about 18% have been admitted to hospitals and 378 of those cases required intensive care, the county reported.

County health officials recorded 4,624 tests Friday, raising the cumulative total number of tests to 151,910.

Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors Greg Cox and County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher released a joint statement Friday announcing they planned to ask the Board of Supervisors to extend its moratorium on evictions for both residents and small businesses for another month.

“We are proposing extending San Diego County’s eviction moratorium for residents and small businesses through June 30th,” the supervisors said in the release.

“Our region is slowly recovering from the severe economic damage caused by the pandemic. Although more businesses are reopening, it is going to take time for merchants and their employees who have been out of work to rebuild their bank accounts enough to pay their rent. This will give residential and commercial renters more time to get back on their feet. But we are encouraging renters to pay as much rent as they can and set-up a payment program with their landlords.”

The current moratorium expires May 31 and the extension will apply only to unincorporated areas of the county. The board will vote on the issue during its Tuesday meeting.

The county announced plans to allow passive activities at beaches starting Tuesday, continuing the county’s gradual reopening.

As a result of numbers trending in the right direction, Cox said Thursday the county would allow beaches across the county to open for passive recreation, such as sitting in beach chairs or sunbathing, and would allow individual jurisdictions to decide if they wanted to open the beaches for those purposes as well.

A few restrictions remain, however, as the county still has a ban on team sports like football and volleyball. Additionally, beach parking lots and piers remain closed. Reopening of boardwalks is up to each coastal city, and as always, social distancing and facial coverings are the rule when near people who aren’t a member of the household.

Fletcher thanked San Diegans for sacrificing so much already, but made a plea to give a little more. He said the San Diego Blood Bank is down to just a two-day supply of blood and is seeking convalescent plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19.

A single dose of the plasma could provide some therapeutic relief to three or four people currently suffering from the illness, Fletcher said.

David Wellis, CEO of the San Diego Blood Bank, said the convalescent plasma has proven so popular as a treatment that even though the blood bank has delivered 377 doses, “We are not meeting the demand.”

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