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County indefinitely extends public health order closing bars, schools, restaurants


Read the full article, along with COVID-19 updates, in the San Diego Union-Tribune here.

The county has “indefinitely” extended its public health order that closes bars, schools and restaurants to address a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, officials announced Saturday.

The order, issued March 17, was supposed to end March 31, but officials said they expect a peak of illness and death still to come.

“None of us know exactly how long it will last, we don’t exactly how many cases we will have or what day that we might hit the apex or flatten that curve,” said county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, “but we know the early days — and we are still in the early days — are the most critical and the most important.”

The death toll rose to a total of seven county residents, officials said Saturday. The latest is an 80-year-old man who had health complications.

County officials expect to update the number of confirmed illnesses by 5 p.m. Saturday. As of Friday the number stood at 417.

“I’m sure that they’re going to jump again when we report out at the end of the day,” said Supervisor Greg Cox.

Health officials have also asked people to avoid beaches and public parks.

“I know it’s frustrating when you have a beautiful day like today and you want to get out and enjoy it,” said Cox. “We need you to be strong.”

The nonprofit hotline 211 San Diego will begin connecting callers with one of 60 public health nurses to answer clinical questions about COVID-19, including symptoms and best courses of action. The nurses will be staffing lines from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. To access, call 2-1-1.