San Diego County Public Health Officials announced several new directives at a press conference last week. Beginning Friday, May 1, everyone must wear face coverings anywhere in public that they come within 6 feet of another person. The face coverings can be as simple as a scarf, a bandana, or a homemade mask. Health experts emphasized that covering your face is not a substitute for social distancing and continued hand-washing. Instead, face coverings will provide added protection for yourself and others. Learn how to make and wear a face covering.
CRITERIA FOR LIFTING REGULATIONS – TWO-WEEK TESTING TRENDS
One of the federal and state criteria to “reopen” that San Diego County is monitoring is the number of positive cases of COVID-19, in comparison to the number of tests administered over a 14-day period. In the past two weeks, a total of 21,254 tests have been administered and 6.5% of those were positive for COVID-19. They are watching for that percentage to trend downward over time before they lift additional regulations.
The County announced a new strategy to help, which will address three crucial areas: testing, tracing and treatment. County Public Health & Human Services has begun focusing on isolating people with confirmed COVID-19 infections, and quarantining their close contacts. They’re also ramping up the region’s testing and contact tracing capabilities, while treatment options are being developed. Right now, testing laboratories in the county can process more than 3,400 tests a day. Two new appointment-only COVID-19 testing sites opened in Escondido and Chula Vista at the Live Well Centers. People with symptoms should contact their doctor to get tested. People with symptoms without a provider or health care coverage can call 211 and ask to speak to the nurse triage line to request a referral. The nurses can give a referral and make an appointment to get tested.
Overall, testing is increasing, and the numbers of infected cases are trending downward, due to the hard work by every resident following the Stay at Home Orders.
STATE’S FOUR PHASE PLAN
Yesterday, Governor Newsom outlined the state’s four-phase plan to roll out openings. The state is currently in the first phase to provide ‘safety nets’ for those impacted. The Governor relayed, “We are weeks, not months, away from making meaningful modifications” in restrictions in phase two, as hospitalizations rates for the coronavirus stabilize.
The second phase would entail reopening “lower risk” businesses such as manufacturing sites and small business retail. Phase two also may allow schools to begin in late summer to make up for lost education time. During phase two, residents would be urged to cut down on non-essential travel, and employees would continue working from home when possible. The state will enter this phase once a widespread tracing system is in place, allowing public health officials to identify and test people who came in contact with infected people.
Phase three would be reopening personal care businesses like hair salons and fitness clubs.
Phase four would relax restrictions on large gatherings such as sports events and concerts, when there is a vaccine or widespread immunity to the virus.
WHAT’S CURRENTLY OPEN / CLOSED IN OCEANSIDE
Last week, the County Public Health Officer lifted the prohibitions on some ocean activities to begin this week. Oceanside beaches re-opened on Monday for active individual physical exercise only. Residents can enjoy a walk, swim, or surf, but must be actively moving. REGULATIONS The County Health Order requires that beach parking lots remain closed to minimize crowds and gatherings. If you walk to and from Oceanside beaches, please be courteous of neighborhood residents, maintain at least 6’ physical distance from others and face coverings are recommended.
As Oceansiders, we highly value our beach and the beauty and wellness we feel when we’re there, which is especially important during this time. The decision to remain open is being reviewed daily; please model the best distancing behavior –even in the water-- so that open beaches can succeed.
Recreational boating is still prohibited for now, due to lack of ability to enforce groups and social distancing, but the County announced that this may be unrolled in the next phase of re-openings soon and allow groups from the same household travel by boat.
The County reported that some restrictions on golf courses will be relaxed next. Oceanside Municipal Golf Course will resume operations when that time is announced, and courses are preparing for a change in operations that will include extra sanitation and distancing measures.
Oceanside Parks and trails have remained open for active individual exercise, with closed parking lots. The County may soon allow park parking lots to open, with limitations, to minimize crowds. Park visitors should then be able to picnic if they practice social distancing, the County said. Members of a family / household will be able to play active sports. County Public Health Officials are expected to announce a date later this week.
COPING WITH THE PANDEMIC
It’s been almost six weeks since the state Stay at Home Orders took effect, and people are seeking ways to ease the pressure we all feel. The loss of the ability to physically gather isn’t easy. Many are experiencing a loss of livelihood in a challenging new environment. It’s more important than ever to stay connected to our friends, family and loved ones. If you or someone you know is struggling to cope, please use these local resources. The pandemic will end, and we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS & MORE
The City of Oceanside COVID-19 webpages include a page of daily case report updates on numbers in Oceanside, the county, the state and the country. Confirmed cases in Oceanside continue to be relatively low, compared to other regional cities, per capita. Everything you’re doing is making a difference.
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