Dr. Nick Yphantides speaks at press conference
Dr. Nick Yphantides speaks at Saturday’s press conference. Photo from live stream

County health officials said Saturday not everyone needs a coronavirus test, but San Diegans with symptoms should not ignore them.

“Not everyone needs to be tested,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s chief health officer. “Individuals with fever and cough can stay at home until their symptoms are resolved.”

She cited guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that a mild case of coronavirus disease can last five to seven days. Patients are considered recovered after three days without fever and seven days since the symptoms first appeared.

Dr. Nick Yphantides, the county’s chief medical officer, said that while not everyone needs to be tested, residents should still call their primary care physician if they have symptoms of COVID-19. He said concern about tying up critical medical services should not deter people from seeking help.

“Folks, you should not hesitate to get needed medical care if there are symptoms,” he said.

Wooten and Yphantides spoke at what has become a daily afternoon press conference at the county operations center amid pandemic.

The press conference occurred before the county released the latest data on coronavirus cases. There were 159 cases as of late Saturday afternoon, an increase of 28. Of those cases, 135 were San Diego County residents, 11 involved people quarantined at Miramar and 10 cases involved non-residents, primarily military personnel. So far, there have been no deaths.

Asked how long the pandemic could last, Wooten said the goal of stay-at-home orders is to “flatten the curve” of infections so as not to overwhelm the healthcare system before a vaccine is available. She said efforts could last several months, but cautioned that no one really knows.

The best defense, she said, is to stay home, maintain social distance and keep surfaces like door handles and worktops disinfected with alcohol or bleach.

“We are really in the eye of a storm right now,” said Yphantides. “The anticipation is for that category 5 storm to be lessened and become more manageable.”

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher urged residents to ignore rumors and listen to county health officials and other trusted sources of information.

“It is really easy to go down a very dark path with social media and the Internet,” he said. “And that does nothing to help keep us safe.”

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