COVID-19: Cases rise to 42 in SLO County, six recovered, courts closed, CalPoly student positive
–On Tuesday, March 24, at 1 p.m., the County of San Luis Obispo updated the community regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, 42 local residents have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Six local patients have recovered from the virus, one is in an intensive care unit, another hospitalized, but most are recovering at home. North County cases have risen to 18.
Distribution of COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County
- North County cases – 18
- Coastal County cases – 8
- San Luis Obispo central cases – 3
- South County cases – 13
Ages of COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County
- Age 0-18 years old – 3
- Age 19-64 years old – 27
- Age 65 years or older – 11
- Age 85+ – 1
Cases of COVID-19 by status in San Luis Obispo County
- At home – 34
- Hospitalized – 1
- Hospitalized in intensive care – 1
- Recovered – 6
- Deaths – 0
Source of transmission of COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County
- Travel related transmission – 21
- Known person-to-person transmission – 10 (most in households)
- Unknown community-acquired transmission – 3
- Unknown – 8
Cases of COVID-19 by testing laboratory
- SLO County Public Health Lab – 21
- WestPac – 16
- Lab Corp – 2
- Quest – 2
- VRDL – 1
As of Tuesday afternoon, the county reports conducting 300 COVID-19 tests. An unknown number of residents have been tested by private labs, the county reports.
After releasing the latest statistics, the county held a press conference Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. at the county’s Joint Information Center at 1133 Kansas Avenue, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said a CalPoly student has tested positive. The student was on campus for a period of time after the onset of symptoms, but is now back home, outside of the county, she said. Those who came in contact with the student have been notified and issued quarantine orders, she said.
She said the county still only has two COVID-19 patients who are in the hospital and that they are stabilizing. The county is not reporting what cities the cases are from, but Borenstein said she may change that in the near future.
Borenstein addressed the issue of potential reinfection of patients following recovery. She said because COVID-19 appears to be a stable virus, she expects immunity following infection to last for some time.
County announces courts closed, enforcement of order starts
Five days into the county’s Shelter at Home Order, San Luis Obispo County Emergency Services Director Wade Horton said the county is beginning to step up enforcement of the order. “Our goal is to partner with the local businesses to slow the spread of COVID-19,” he said, but businesses in violation could suffer civil or criminal penalties. The public may report complaints to (805) 788-2222.
The San Luis Obispo County Superior Courts have suspended operations, except for the most critical matters, Horton announced. The courts are rescheduling all non-urgent matters to a future date, he said. No jurors will be called for the next 60 days.
San Luis Obispo County Superintendent of Schools James Brescia gave an update, saying, all schools have established food distribution networks throughout the county; all educational agencies in the county are in the process of establishing distance learning platforms to meet the needs of students; administrators and maintenance crews continue their work at school sites. He said he anticipates opening a child care program for first responders next week.
The county acknowledged some problems with its phone lines today. “We are experiencing some technical difficulties with our phone assistance center,” the county said on Twitter at 9:49 a.m. “You may reach an operator but we appreciate your patience as we get up and running. We are working on resolving the issue with our phone lines.” The county said the technical difficulties were resolved shortly afterward.
The county also took to Twitter to thank the community. “During this challenging time, we want to stop and take a moment to thank everyone for abiding by the Shelter at Home Order and staying home. You are helping prevent the spread of #COVID-19 in our community. Thank you, #SLOCounty!”
Regional COVID-19 coronavirus cases
Information provided by county health departments, as of 1 p.m., March 24
- Monterey County – 20 confirmed
- San Benito County cases – 6 confirmed, 2 recovered, 1 death
- Fresno County cases – 13 confirmed
- Kings County cases – None confirmed
- Kern County cases – 13 confirmed
- Santa Barbara County cases – 18 confirmed
Additional information from the State of California and County of San Luis Obispo:
COVID-19 in California by the numbers
The following numbers reflect information received by local health jurisdictions as of 2 p.m., March 23.
- 2,102 – Positive cases
- 40 – Deaths (including one non-California resident)
- 1,571 – Cases acquired through person-to-person transmission, travel, repatriation, or under investigation. Includes
- 31 health care workers infected
- 531 – Community-acquired cases
- 22 – State and county health labs currently testing
Ages of all confirmed positive cases
- Age 0-17: 28 cases
- Age 18-49: 970 cases
- Age 50-64: 493 cases
- Age 65+: 449 cases
- Unknown: 162 cases
Gender of all confirmed positive cases:
- Female: 843 cases
- Male: 1,081 cases
- Unknown: 178 cases
Testing in California
As of 2 p.m. on March 22, approximately 26,400 tests had been conducted in California. This includes the latest numbers California has received from commercial and private labs. At least 14,317 results have been received and another 12,100 are pending.
Governor issues order on state prisons in response to outbreak
–To reduce the risks of COVID-19 in correctional settings, California Governor Gavin Newsom today issued an executive order directing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary to temporarily halt the intake and/or transfer of inmates and youth into the state’s 35 prisons and four youth correctional facilities. Those inmates and youth will remain in county custody for the next 30 days. This period can be extended if needed. This action builds on the state and local correctional and public safety leaders’ longstanding partnership, to protect public health and safety in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. The emergency authority is granted to the Governor under the Emergency Services Act and to the CDCR Secretary under Cal Penal Code section 2900(b).
“The State of California is responding in real-time and fighting hard to deploy every resource to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we are working with our public health experts, corrections system and our local sheriff’s departments to ensure proper protocols and procedures are in place to effectively limit risks in correctional facilities,” said Governor Newsom.
Additionally, the executive order directs the Board of Parole Hearings to develop a process to conduct all scheduled parole suitability hearings through videoconferencing starting no later than April 13, 2020, and for the next 60 days. That process would facilitate remote participation of those typically in attendance, including staff, parole board members, victims, families, and their representatives, inmates, attorneys, and others.
The order was issued to protect the health, safety, and welfare of state inmates, youth, and staff following the recent confirmed COVID-19 cases in four separate state prisons affecting five correctional officers and one inmate.
A copy of the Governor’s executive order can be found here.
What is the cause of COVID-19 transmission?
–Transmission of the COVID-19 virus appears to be caused by close and prolonged contact, Borenstein said. The greater the illness has affected someone, the more likely they are to transmit it to other people, she said. Asymptomatic transmission, if occurring at all, is a minor proportion of infections, she said. Airborne infection appears to be limited to someone infected who coughs or sneezes and vapor droplets may linger for a short period of time. But neither asymptomatic transmission nor airborne transmission appear to be a dominant means of transmission, she said. The virus does tend to transfer well with human contacts, like shaking hands, and linger on hard surfaces, studies have shown.
How people can protect themselves
Every person has a role to play. Protecting yourself and your family comes down to common sense:
- Staying home except for essential activities – “Shelter at home“
- Washing hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover a cough or sneeze with your sleeve, or disposable tissue. Wash your hands afterward.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
- Practicing social distancing.
- Following guidance from public health officials.
What to do if you think you’re sick
Call ahead: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or shortness of breath) and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19, or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your health care provider before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
San Luis Obispo County’s urgent communicable disease line is (805) 781-4553.
- Follow all local COVID-19 coronavirus news updates
- San Luis Obispo County COVID-19 website – readyslo.org