The Coast News Group
All parks in Vista will closed starting March 30 to encourage social distancing. City parks and beaches across North County have closed in response to coronavirus. Courtesy photo
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Parks in Vista close to encourage social distancing amid COVID-19 pandemic

REGION — Parks in Vista will be closed starting today in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus by encouraging social distancing.

The North County city announced the decision on Sunday and had 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday.

The closures include all parks, trails, public restrooms, the South Buena Vista off-leash dog area, athletic fields, basketball courts, pickleball courts, playgrounds, skate parks and tennis courts.

Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Diego, Solana Beach, Imperial Beach and the Port of San Diego closed all beaches, trails and parks in their respective cities early last week.

San Diego County health officials reported Sunday that five food handlers have tested positive for COVID-19 — four restaurant employees and a grocery store employee.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced during Sunday’s briefing on the coronavirus pandemic that no patients had died in the last 24 hours, leaving the death toll in San Diego County at seven.

The county also announced 31 positive COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the total number of cases to 519.

The highest group of cases, 130, ranged in age from 30-39 and the second-highest, 107, in the 20-29 age range.

Of the 519 total cases, 219 were female and 298 were male, with 106 people hospitalized and 47 in intensive care, officials said.

The grocery store employee who tested positive is from an Albertson’s store in Escondido, Fletcher said, adding that the store did the right thing by closing, alerting county environmental health officials, following sanitation protocols, then re-opening to customers.

“If you have a sick worker, they must stay home,” Fletcher said, urging employers to call 858-505-6814 to report any sick workers.

Dr. Eric McDonald, the county’s medical director of epidemiology, said co-workers of the Albertson’s employee who display any symptoms of the coronavirus infection will be sent home, but there are no tests pending in this case.

Health officials also stressed that there is no evidence of COVID-19 association with food. They cited the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Fletcher said that the county is increasing inspections of the many food facilities in the region.

Ralphs grocery stores in the county will expand services hours starting today. It will be open from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. for senior shoppers age 60 and above, and from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. for the general public.

Meanwhile, a Celebrity cruise ship will dock in San Diego today.

“The health of the ship is excellent right now,” McDonald said Sunday. County health officials are in continuous contact with the ship’s crew for any sign of symptoms, he said.

McDonald said 17 cruise passengers are from San Diego County and they will go straight home after disembarking from the ship and will self-quarantine for 14 days. About 1,500 other passengers are from outside the county and they will travel home and self-quarantine after disembarking.

Fletcher said a positive meeting was held recently with all hospital CEOs in San Diego where they discussed obtaining more personal protective equipment, the sharing of testing equipment among hospitals and increasing hospital bed capacity.

McDonald explained that the number of test results reported may decrease because the labs send those reports to the county electronically and the system is down on the weekends.

“So, we expect the test result numbers to go down,” McDonald said.

The doctor also said the risk of contracting the coronavirus disease can increase from vaping and smoking.

“Any lung disease or condition would put you at risk,” McDonald said. “We don’t have specific cases so far, but our strong recommendation is to use this opportunity to quit.”

Fletcher also said the county is issuing a new public health order, extending indefinitely all closure orders that were set to expire March 31.

The closure order applies to schools, nonessential businesses, restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, he said, and anyone 65 or older should continue to quarantine themselves at home.

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