This could lead to rolling back some sectors of business community

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Three more California counties were added to the state’s COVID-19 “watch list” on Wednesday, bringing the total to 26.

San Luis Obispo County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said it was likely that SLO would be added to the list this week. She explained the watch list process during the opening portion of the County’s weekly COVID-19 update Wednesday afternoon.

SLO County is not meeting the transmission rate metric. The state’s threshold is no more than 100 cases per 100,000 population over a 14-day period. Failing to meet just one of the six parameters lands a county on the monitoring list.

“The reason we are not on that list yet is because the state’s data trails behind our real-time data,” Borenstein said. “They are looking at data that is a week old. We have been watching and we know we meet that metric and we fully anticipate that the state will find us to be in that status, maybe as soon as tomorrow (Thursday).”

If SLO County exceeds 283 total cases over a 14-day period it fails to meet the metric.

Over just the past week, SLO County has reported 202 new COVID-19 cases. Nearly 25 percent of the County’s total cases since it began tracking COVID-19 cases have come in the past week.

San Luis Obispo also reported its third death — the second since July 1 — due to COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Counties on the state’s monitoring list for three consecutive days are required to rollback the reopening of specific sectors.

“Twenty-two of them have been on that list for at least three days,” Borenstein said. “And when you are in that status for at least three days, the state has mandated that certain sectors of the business community need to either shut their doors or change the way they are doing business.”

Either by state or local order, there will be a mandate that bars, brewpubs and breweries will need to shutter completely, and restaurants can only do outdoor dining.

Also, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, card rooms, wineries and tasting rooms are part of the sectors that by state mandate will need to shut.

The mandate remains in place for at least three weeks.

Borenstein said the County could turn things around, but it wasn’t likely.

“There is the possibility that we could turn a corner in the next few days and remain not on the list,” she said, “but I bring this to everyone’s attention because the direction of our case numbers and the consistency of those numbers over the past week or two are such that I have every anticipation that we will be added to the list of counties monitoring list.”

Hospitalization in SLO County was at 14 with six in the ICU. The County has been in double-digits in hospitalization for all but two days in July.

Borenstein attributed the spike to several factors, including people going to bars and traveling both within and outside of SLO County. She once again asked people to follow proven mitigation measures such as social distancing, wearing face coverings and avoiding leisure travel.

“This is not the time to do leisure travel,” Borenstein said.

California saw 11,694 new COVID-19 cases on July 7, one of the largest daily totals for the state.

The state now has more than 277,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and has seen nearly 6,500 people die of the virus.

Publisher’s Note: The Paso Robles Press and The Atascadero News will continue to provide updates and publish releases from the County Public Health Department regarding COVID-19 as it relates to the county residents for informational purposes. No information presented should be construed as medical advice or a suggestion as to how to respond in the protection of either your personal health or your personal freedoms. Each of our readers are expected to research as needed to inform themselves about their individual health needs and responsibilities. Our County Health Officer, Dr. Penny Borenstein, is an MD with a Masters in Public Health.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles