Dr. Wilma Wooten
Dr. Wilma Wooten speaks at Thursday’s media briefing. Image from video

Community outbreaks of coronavirus in San Diego County have exceeded a “trigger” level, which may force the county to slow further reopening, public health officials announced Thursday.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said there have been eight outbreaks in the past week — one above the trigger level. He said there were two outbreaks at restaurants, three at businesses, one in a campground, one in a social club and the one in a private residence.

“Today we have for the first time crossed one of the triggers,” said Fletcher at a special media briefing. “We could be heading in a direction that is not positive.”

Fletcher said the county will not immediately reimpose restrictions because three of the outbreaks occurred seven days ago and will drop off of the rolling tally on Friday. But he said the county will pause additional reopenings beyond those already announced and scheduled.

“We may be back under the trigger tomorrow; we just don’t know,” he said.

A community outbreak is defined as three or more confirmed cases in a specific location involving people who are not related. This does not include outbreaks at nursing homes, which come under a separate category.

“Please do not have gatherings at your house,” Fletcher said. “Please utilize face coverings. Please utilize physical distancing among non-household members.”

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said none of the 12 other pandemic indicators, such as the number of cases and ICU utilization, are currently of concern.

She stressed the effectiveness of wearing face masks in public, something that California mandated on Thursday.

“Another important action that individuals can take is to not have friends, co-workers or other individuals not from your household gathering at your home for dinner parties, cocktail parties, barbecues or other events,” she said.

Fletcher declined to reveal the locations of the eight outbreaks, saying that doing so could jeopardize the public’s cooperation with the county’s contact tracing efforts.

“If there’s a danger to the public, that information will be shared appropriately,” he said.

Nail salons, waxing, electrolysis, tattoo parlors, non-medical massage therapy and other personal-care businesses will still be allowed to reopen on Friday, but Fletcher said “we hope that they do it with great caution.”

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Chris Jennewein

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