COVID-19 numbers still rising in SLO County, but not enough to be on state’s ‘watch list’

A two-week plus spike in COVID-19 cases in California led Gov. Gavin Newsom to direct rollbacks in 19 “watch list” counties on Wednesday.

The order covers the following counties: Los Angeles, Sacramento, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Merced, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare, Imperial, Santa Clara and Ventura.

Newsom’s rollback in the 19 counties includes closing bars and indoor businesses for at least three weeks.

San Luis Obispo County has seen a surge in cases over the span, but not enough to warrant being on the watch list.

COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County increased by 169 in the past seven days, including 31 on Wednesday and a single-day high of 44 on Tuesday. Nine people are hospitalized with five in intensive care.

The County on Wednesday recorded its second death due to COVID-19.

SLO County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said during Wednesday’s update, the state monitors six to eight metrics daily and uses these to determine its watch list.

“In all cases, we have a ways to go before we hit even one of those,” Borenstein said. “That said, we are moving closer to some of those caps, but we still have a ways to go.”

San Luis Obispo’s rise is being seen in the 18-29 age group, which stands at 163, and the 30-49 age group, which is at 175, the two highest in the county.

“We are seeing many more cases in that group because I think they are out and about more and they are taking more risks in terms of where they are out and about,” Borenstein said.

Newsom’s announcement comes during a two-plus-week spike in COVID-19 activity that has pushed California’s hospitalization and ICU totals to all-time highs.

The 19 counties are all on the state’s “watch list” of counties that have been struggling to contain the coronavirus. They represent an estimated 70 percent of the state’s population. Newsom’s Office of Emergency Services on Wednesday launched strike teams to help enforce the order.

Newsom called on the 19 counties to shut down indoor family entertainment venues, including movie theaters, bowling alleys and arcades. Card rooms, indoor wineries and bars also have to shut down in those counties.

Restaurants will still be allowed to offer food for pick-up or delivery as well as outdoor dining.

Newsom also ordered parking facilities at state beaches in Southern California and the Bay Area closed during the Independence Day weekend.

Borenstein said they were not shutting anything down this weekend but did have some recommendations for people.

“Social gatherings and bars are places that should be avoided,” she said. “Other guidance is if you are going to get together, please do so in very small numbers, do so outdoors rather than inside, keep distance from other people, wear a face covering.”