A Pacific Beach lifeguard attaches police tape to block people using the boardwalk. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego County health officials cautioned residents Wednesday that the current lockdown will continue at least through April despite encouraging signs locally and across California.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said San Diego acted quickly and decisively to slow the spread of coronavirus, and there are encouraging signs at this point, but it’s too soon to let up.

“While there are some encouraging signs of how California is doing as whole, and there are some encouraging signs of how San Diego is doing compared to other urban areas in the state of California, the reality is we have to stay the course,” said Fletcher at the county’s afternoon briefing on the pandemic.

“We know for a fact that our current restrictions and guidance will remain in place for at least the entirety of April,” he said.

Fletcher said returning to normal life would not occur until there is rapid testing and case tracking to prevent a new outbreak. He said this would occur gradually in a “thoughtful way, based on data.”

“Our ability to get out of the current posture is based on our ability to commit to that posture right now,” he said, warning that “everything can be undone in an instant.”

He also announced there were 76 new confirmed cases over the past day for a total of 1,530. There were five new deaths reported, with the total climbing to 36.

The latest figures show that for the first week since the outbreak began, the time taken for the number of cases to double has trended longer. Officials said that indicates the current public health orders are working to slow the spread.

“We believe everything we have done has had a direct effect on flattening that curve,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s chief medical officer. “But people should not think that, ‘Oh, things are better.’”

The county also reported deaths by racial breakdown for the first time on Wednesday: 15 white, 10 Hispanic, two Asian and the remaining nine fatalities unidentified by race or ethnicity

Dr. Nick Yphantides, the county’s chief medical officer, said the county is seeking people who have had coronavirus to donate blood for a “convalescent plasma” treatment of patients with severe cases. The idea is to transfer antibodies in an effort to defeat the disease.

Updated at 5:45 p.m., Wednesday, April 8, 2020

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.