San Diego County officials announced Monday that indoor restaurant dining and similar activities must close for three weeks after the recent spike in coronavirus cases exceeded state guidelines.
The action came after cases continued to surge over the holiday weekend, but there was a glimmer of hope in the significantly lower number of new cases reported on Monday.
“Over the weekend, our numbers continued to grow in the wrong direction,” said Supervisor Greg Cox. “The intent here is to slow the spread and reduce the numbers of cases,” he said at a media briefing, calling it “a temporary setback.”
The new public health order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and affects indoor activities at restaurants, museums, theaters and various other indoor recreational activities. Outdoor dining will still be permitted at restaurants, as will delivery and takeout.
“We are officially in the period of corrective action as outlined by the state of California,” said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. “We’re certainly not the only place. The majority of the state of California is in this situation.”
San Diego County was the final county in Southern California to be placed on the state’s monitoring list, which now numbers 23 counties.
Despite the rollback, the numbers on Monday offered hope. Of 7,667 test results received in the past day, 274 were positive, for a rate of 3.6% That’s the lowest number of new cases reported since June 22, and the percentage is well under the 14-day rolling average of 5.3%.
In addition, there were no new deaths reported over the long weekend.
Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officers, said three of the county’s epidemic “triggers” are currently exceeded. These include the overall number of positive cases in the past two weeks, the number of recent community outbreaks, and the backlog in tracing new cases.
She said one of the reasons for closing indoor dining is that 76% of the community outbreaks have occurred at restaurants and bars.
Since the first local case in March, there have been 389,357 tests administered in San Diego County, resulting in 17,000 cases and 387 deaths.
Updated at 9:10 p.m., Monday, July 6, 2020
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