A medical technician tests for coronavirus
A medical technician at the San Diego County laboratory tests for coronavirus. Courtesy HHSA

San Diego County continues to “flatten the curve,” with just 43 new coronavirus cases reported Monday, but officials again urged residents to “stay the course.”

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher reported a total of 1,847 cases and two more deaths for a total of 47 at the county’s daily briefing.

“We have had success as a region in flattening the curve. We have had success as a region in slowing the transmission of coronavirus,” he said.

The briefing came after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced an agreement with the governors of Oregon and Washington to create a joint plan for reopening economies on the West Coast and for controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the future.

Fletcher acknowledged discussions underway at the national and state levels to plan for reopening the economy, but stressed that it is “very important to stay the course and continue to see progress” before that can happen in San Diego.

He noted that the longer social distancing and other restrictions are in place, the greater the sacrifices being made by residents and businesses.

“We know that it has saved lives, and we know that it has protected the public health of San Diego, but we also know that this has had a very devastating impact,” he said. “Small businesses have borne a significant brunt of the burden.”

Fletcher and other officials said key to reopening the economy would be the availability of rapid testing, especially at commercial laboratories and clinics.

“We’re not there yet,” said Dr. Eric McDonald, the county’s medical director of epidemiology. But he added that testing capacity is “improving day by day.”

The latest victims of coronavirus disease in the San Diego area were both women, one in her late 90s and the other 100 years old.

“COVID-19 significantly impacts our older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease, chronic lung disease, asthma and diabetes,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer.

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