Friday, August 28, 2020

COVID-19 Diary | California Releases New 4-Tier Framework For "Moving Forward" | 730 Wildfires Still Burning | County Outlines Reopenings Under New Tiers |


Didn't have a tripod on hand, so a little family portrait with the help of a cement planter. (Taken 8.29.2020)

I woke up super early this morning after sleeping normal human hours for the first time in a long time, so I thought it would be nice to motivate for early morning zoo time. But my whims don't translate to everyone else's, so almost an hour later when we were all finally ready to go, we did a drive-by and saw the line to get in and changed course.
I've definitely been in that line before and I know that it moves fast, but I also know there are other times to go with no line at all and that we're still seeing massive tourists and locals alike who barely feign wearing their masks when someone is looking and otherwise wear it under their chin, or use their Starbuck's venti fraps as an excuse not to wear them. I'm just tired of the knots it gives me in my stomach. 
Instead, we drove through Balboa Park and Inspiration Point, admiring the gardens and blooming flowers, then circled back to check out this old somewhat hidden fountain we used to really like until the City emptied it. We were glad to see it's been restored and is full and clean and pretty and therapeutic. 
Darren has been wanting to take me to San Diego Habitat for Humanity ReStore. We're on the hunt for a gently used or new couch that we can comfortably sit in and also that won't immediately be destroyed by our pets. Our current one is down feather and has had enough of us and the pets and lets us know so by poking us with feathers whenever we sit on it. On the way, we detoured at Los Quatro Milpas, but after waiting in line and it filling up with non-mask compliant people, we decided it wasn't worth it. So we proceeded to National City. 
We didn't find a couch, but found a cheap desk chair ($5!!) for Nova so she doesn't have to use her piano bench for distance learning.
After that, we came back north and went to Consignment Classics and wow! I don't know how I've never been there before but it is amazing and huge and I bought some plants and a Talavera planting pot and will definitely be back. 
Today's State media briefing covered the new tiered framework for reopening various sectors, and it's a lot of information. So much so that Dr. Wooten had to do an unplanned County update, too. I guess the funniest (not funny ha-ha, but funny as in mind-boggling) is that if we just had mandated masks when we shutdown in March and had universal compliance, we wouldn't really be talking about tiers and sectors and framework and shit. But that's not what happened and people are less and less compliant and here we are. As Dr. Wooten repeated today, "Hope is not a strategy." And as Dr. McDonald said on Wednesday, until we're under 25 cases/100k people (using the old formula of the past 14-days before a 3-day lag) and we're not even close. 
Anyway, we did La Jolla Cove while Nova was at (distance) soccer and watched a pup nearly get washed away and then struggle to get up on the rocks and triumph in the end, in spite of the humans who were blocking his only path to safety from the high tide rolling in. 
We stopped by PB Costco, which has the Alpine Brewing cases again, so we loaded up and will probably be locked in for the weekend barring any Zoological afternoon impulses. So much news, all after the jump. Also note, I have at least 200 emails I still haven't gotten to today as of 9:30pm, so I will just do a new post either tonight or tomorrow to get any relevant info out. I've got a new bottle of rye with my name on it. 

  • State Of California Governor Newsom Media Briefing
    • Wildfire Update
      • 14,600 Firefighters 
      • 2,400 engines
      • 730 fires burning across the state
      • 1.4 million acres burned
      • Past 24 hours: 93 new lightning strikes/30 new fires 
      • 7 fatalities identified
      • 2100+ structures identified
      • Currently 2nd & 3rd largest fires in recorded history are burning
    • COVID-19 
      • The Governor had a lot to say, but I decided my notes would start with his closing line: "People will have opinions...we value those opinions and we are not...idealogues. Open argument, interested in evidence, led by data, led by science, but more important than anything else, led by a core fundamental principle, and that is to keep you healthy and keep you safe. And to do everything in our power to reopen this economy and that foundationally will not be advanced until we mitigate the spread of this disease."
      • COVID-19 will be with us for a long time; we need to adapt
      • Since March, we've learned a lot about COVID-19 and how it spreads
      • Adjusting sector framework to keep California healthy and safe
      • Blueprint For a Safer Economy will be:
        • Statewide
        • Simple
        • Slow
        • Stringent
      • Uniform statewide, framework will be 4 tiers, not 58 separate county variations
      • Process for loosening and tightening restrictions will be based on uniform metrics
        • Case Rate
        • Test Positivity
        • Additional requirement on commitment to health equity
      • Updated Website: Blueprint for a Safer Economy 
      • "Widespread" (Purple) is replacing what was called "County Monitoring List"
      • Counties that start in higher tiers have met that criteria for two weeks
      • First weekly assessment will be September 8th
      • Counties may be MORE stringent but not less than State guidelines
      • State Has Made New Partnerships with Digital Platforms:
        • Customers can review safety measures 
        • Businesses can display protective measures
        • Yelp: Customer-validated health and safety measures
        • Facebook: Businesses can describe safety precautions and label update posts with "COVID-19 Update"
        • OpenTable: Business can now list safety precautions
        • Google: Upcoming features in Search and Maps to communicate safety measures like curbside pickup, delivery, temperature checks, etc
      • State created new PSA ads with web addresses that redirect to, like
      • Current Tier Status:
        • Purple 38 counties/87% of population
        • Red 9 counties/12% of population (San Diego Is Red)
        • Orange 8 counties/1% of population
        • Yellow 3 counties/.1% of population
      • Requirements to Advance
        • 21-day mandatory wait time between moves
        • Meet metrics for next tier for 2 straight weeks
        • Counties only move 1 tier at a time
        • Assessed weekly
      • Requirements to move back
        • Fail to meet current tier's metrics for 2 straight weeks
        • Emergency brake for concerning factors like hospitalizations and ICU usage
    • California COVID-19 Stats:
      • 5,329 New Cases/5,503 7-Day Average/688,858 Total Cases (.8% increase)
      • 140 New Deaths/12,690 Total Deaths (1.1% increase)
      • 6% 14-day test positivity rate/5.7% 7-day test positivity
      • 18% 14-day decrease in hospitalizations
      • 19% 14-day decrease in ICU admissions
      • Note: hospitalizations are 4,205 as of 8/27, down from peak of 7,170 on 7/21, but this is still higher than 6/1 number of 3,142.
    • Media Questions/Comments
      • Large events/Sporting events/Amusement Parks guidelines are not yet included. Discussions continue in this space, but no counties are close to being low enough transmission for amusement parks 
      • My notes: 
        • New website doesn't have specific guidance for youth sports, though they may be covered by day camp guidances
        • New website changed county data to reflect case rate per 100k by day using a 7-day average before a 7-day lag (not 14-days or 7-days)
      • School guidelines relate to ALL schools (Governor will not discuss litigation/lawsuit by parochial schools) 
      • Waivers for k-6 are still available for all tiers, provided case rate is under 14 daily cases per/100k of population (using new formula of daily average of the seven days prior to a 7 day lag)
      • Governor supports ban of flavored tobacco. Will sign bill that passed Senate.
      • San Diego and other red counties will be able to open more sectors starting Monday with specific capacities/modifications by sector (See County notes)
      • EDD $300 FEMA supplement will be put into system within the next few weeks (Should be implemented somehow between September 6-10)
  • San Diego County Briefing 
    • Reviewing Governor's announcement:
      • Case rate is being calculated differently. Used to be 3-day lag, then the 14 days prior of the episode date. Now case rate is 7-day lag and daily average of prior 7-days. 
      • When assessed, daily new cases was 5.8 (red tier) and 3.8% positive (orange tier), but County/State goes with the worse metric.
      • Red Tier: New sectors for San Diego may reopen on Monday, August 31.
        • Sectors that may open indoors with modifications. Max 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less.
          • Restaurants, dine-in
          • Places of worship
          • Movie theaters
          • Museums
        • Sectors that may open indoors with modifications. Max 10% capacity
          • Gyms and Fitness Centers
        • Sectors that may open indoors with modifications
          • Hair salons and barbershops
          • Nail salons
        • Current retail will likely have to reduce capacity based on new guidelines. From 100% to 50%. (ed note: expect lines outside at Costco again)
      • San Diego County K-12 reopenings are not affected by new tier system
      • Whether we get higher or lower tier depends on actions of us.
      • Data from State will be weekly, not daily. Out every Tuesday.
      • Media asked if the county is concerned about tourists from purple tier counties coming to San Diego: County is concerned across the board. Concerned about opening up. Concerned about influx of out-of-county visitors. 
      • County will continue to monitor daily stats and triggers. 
      • Compliance: 
        • Businesses will have to modify 'safe reopening plan' to adhere to new state requirements
        • Compliance team, officers will be at "Saturate" church gathering in Oceanside tonight
        • Counting on compliance from individuals, businesses, entire sectors 
        • Relying on people's behavior
        • We will shut down entities if they are not following the guidelines, especially those that result in outbreaks. "Hope is not a strategy."
      • Nathan Fletcher Statement via Facebook on new openings:
        I believe we should take a more cautious and safe approach to re-opening than what was outlined today. My concerns are with the size, scope and speed of what is being reopened on Monday. While there are some lower risk entities that could safely reopen at this point, what we are doing is very similar to what we did in June with a large segment of indoor operations all opening at the same time. This led to a large increase in cases and required new restrictions. 
        At the same time we are moving forward on these reopening we are trying to give schools a chance to start again and have college students returning to campus.  I believe our focus now should be on a narrow section of low risk entities and doing everything we can to support our schools. 
        Additionally, we are struggling as a region in having  successful enforcement and compliance and continue to see elected leaders, including the El Cajon Mayor, advocate against following  public health orders. My fear is that the breadth and speed of what we are doing could cause a spike in cases that would trigger us moving back to a higher state tier and requiring additional closures. I would prefer a more cautious approach that gives us a higher probability of a smooth and steady recovery. 
        But even though I prefer a different path, the decision has been made and I will continue to work tirelessly to help us find a way to slow the spread, support our schools, and continue to help our community through this difficult time.
    • San Diego County Stats
      • State Data:
        • 277 New Cases (Last 14 Days)/37,501 Total Cases
        • 5 Deaths (Last 14 Days)/673 Total Deaths
        • 5.8 new cases/100k population 
        • 3.7% Test Positivity (Last 14 Days)
      • County Data:
        • 285 New Cases/37,784 Total Cases 
        • 3 New Daily Deaths/676 Total Deaths
        • 80.0 cases (79.7 State Reporting)/100k population (14-day average)
        • 3.6% Daily Test Positivity/3.8% Test Positivity (14-day average)
        • Case Investigation is 96%
        • 1 New/14 Community Outbreaks (7-day)
  • COVID-19 Other Reading:

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