Mental health resources available for county residents during stay-at-home order

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — The number of coronavirus cases in San Diego County increased by 117 Sunday to 1,326, and the death of a woman in her late 90s brought the county’s death toll from the virus to 19, according to health officials.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer, also said during Sunday’s briefing that there was one new outbreak, bringing the total number of outbreaks in the county to 17. The total number of tests in the county is 17,663, Wooten said.

A total of 249 people who tested positive for COVID-19 have been hospitalized and 94 people have been admitted to ICU, Wooten said.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Greg Cox said law enforcement is now cracking down on people who violate the statewide “shelter in place” order by congregating in large groups and not staying six feet away from each other.

Cox noted that the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department issued 25 citations this weekend to people violating the state order.

Essential businesses that remain open, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and restaurants must now require their employees to wear facial coverings, Cox said. And citizens can report offenders to the 211 online system.

“The warnings are over,” Cox said. “We’re now down to serious business.”

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said San Diegans who are struggling with things like economic despair and depression can reach out to available services, such as the Access and Crisis Line at 888-724-7240. And the county’s website has a list of behavioral health resources, he said.

Fletcher said the county has not seen an increase in the number of domestic violence cases, “and that is encouraging.”

“But we should note that we are still in the early days,” Fletcher said. “The longer this goes, it increases the risk.”

A 250-bed federal medical center will open sometime in the next two weeks at Palomar Hospital in Escondido, Fletcher said.

The facility will operate as a “hospital within a hospital” and add to the capacity of beds needed in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Fletcher said.

Cox announced a new online resource, livewell@home, that asks San Diegans to join a 30-day challenge, via video chat, to start a book club or play games together with friends and neighbors.

Fletcher announced a new program Saturday that allows San Diegans to pledge support in the fight against the coronavirus. The website, coronavirus- sd.com/pledge, allows people to sign a pledge to stay home and save lives, then share their pledge on social media.

Fletcher said Sunday that the pledge has received a “wonderful response, with thousands and thousands who have taken part.”

Cox announced Saturday that the county is working with Yancheng, a city in China, that will supply San Diego hospitals with 20,000 new surgical masks over the next few days.

County officials said businesses remaining open are being required to post social-distancing and sanitization guidelines near the entrance of their business by Tuesday.

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