San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore will assign eight full-time officers to help investigate health warrant complaints and quickly issue subpoenas in cases where residents refuse to comply, officers announced at an unscheduled news conference on Thursday afternoon.
The announcement came as the region’s coronavirus test positivity rate continued to rise. The latest COVID-19 report from San Diego County includes an additional 899 local positive tests, the sixth day in a row with a number greater than 700.
Hospitalizations also continue to increase faster than they have recently. Local hospitals on Wednesday reported a total of 425 COVID-positive patients in beds across the county. That’s about 100 more patients than a week ago.
On Thursday afternoon, the California Department of Health announced a “limited stay at home order” designed to limit the spread of infection in the community.
The curfew requires that any county in the most restrictive, “purple” level of the state’s reopening system – which includes San Diego – limit “all meetings with members of other households and all activities conducted outside of the state. residence, accommodation or temporary accommodation with members of other households ”.
Starting on Saturday, all such activities must “cease” between 10 pm and 5 am the next day. The state curfew lasts until December 21, although it can be extended.
San Diego County already mandates that all restaurants, bars, wineries and breweries close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
“The virus is spreading at a rate that we have not seen since the beginning of this pandemic and the next few days and weeks will be critical in stopping the increase. We are sounding the alarm, ”Newsom said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. “It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and reduce hospitalizations before the number of deaths increases.” We have done it before and we must do it again ”.
About 94 percent of Californians – 37 million people – live in counties that are on the purple level, forcing many businesses in those communities to suspend or severely restrict the number of customers allowed inland.
The state has reported more than 10,000 new cases a day four times since last Thursday.
“We are asking Californians to change their personal behavior to stop the increase. We must be strong together and make tough decisions to stay socially connected but physically distanced during this critical time. Lowering our guard could endanger thousands of lives and paralyze our healthcare system, ”said Dr. Erica Pan, the state’s public health official.
The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.