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County Lays Out Backup Plan If Second Wave Of COVID-19 Arrives

06/03/20

Read the full article by City News Service on KPBS here.

San Diego County public health officials gave residents a glimpse of actions the county could take if COVID-19 cases begin to spike as a result of public demonstrations and newly opened industries, up to and including dialing back reopenings.

The county's rolling average of positive tests has hit a plateau over the last several weeks, and other numbers are "trending in the right direction," according to Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County's public health officer.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher identified 13 "triggers" that could cause the county to take industry-specific actions, pause all reopening efforts or even dial back reopenings. These triggers are divided into three categories: epidemiology and public health, with four triggers each — and healthcare, with five.

According to Fletcher, the county is currently in "green" in all 13 measurements.

However, if the county records seven or more community-based outbreaks in seven days, sees the intensive care bed availability come close to 20% of the total or if personal protective equipment at half the county's hospitals drop below a 15-day supply for three consecutive days, the county will take immediate action.

"Any one of these criteria could force us to take action," Fletcher said, adding that if the county triggers one of the guidelines in two of the three categories, it would also be forced to act.

"It's complicated, but it gives us our best and clearest sense of where we are," he said.

Also Wednesday, Fletcher said the county planned to move forward once it got directions from the state. Once the county gets the "how" of reopening further, local county health officials will decide the "when," he said.

The Board of Supervisors also voted Tuesday to extend a moratorium on evictions for both residents and small businesses for another month, through June 30th.

Fletcher, along with board Chairman Greg Cox, made the request, which was unanimously approved. The board first approved an eviction moratorium in late March.

"By extending the moratorium, we are giving families and business owners another tool to assist in their recovery from the pandemic," Fletcher said.