San Diego County public health officials reported 833 new COVID-19 cases Monday and warned that local hospitalizations are rising rapidly and threatening to outstrip capacity.
“California is now a sea of purple,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “We are in an emergency situation. COVID-19 is not going away, and we must act.”
Wooten spoke at an emergency press conference following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order moving 28 California counties to the purple tier indicating widespread infection.
She said daily cases have skyrocketed over the past month from 200 to 300 to around 1,000, and urged residents to follow public health orders. She noted that two vaccines have been announced in recent days, so relief from restrictions is potentially just a few months away.
“If we can just hold on for two months, light is at the end of the tunnel,” Wooten said.
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher noted that that hospitalizations lag new cases by several weeks, so officials are worried about a coming surge. As of late last week, 73% of all ICU beds across the county were in use.
Fletcher said county law enforcement has been directed to issue citations to those individuals and businesses violating public health orders, though he acknowledged that the county has limited control over individual cities.
Officials said businesses that have been issued cease-and-desist orders will be listed online beginning on Tuesday morning.
The latest cases bring the county’s total to 65,501 since the pandemic began in March. There were no additional deaths reported, leaving the toll at 926.
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