"Coronavirus is not going away." Doctor urges caution as businesses begin to reopen

Posted at 9:06 PM, Jun 18, 2020

Downtown San Luis Obispo is beginning to flourish with people, as businesses, retail stores and bars begin to reopen, but doctors say that does not mean the pandemic is over.

“Coronavirus is not going away," said Dr. Kathryn Haran, Emergency Room Physician at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. "It's here and it's going to continue to be here."

While there is a surge in cases, there is also an increase in testing, which Haran says is a contributing factor to the spike.

"We're testing a lot more, not only through the ER, but a lot of outpatient testing. So we're going to see increased cases if we're testing our people," Dr. Haran said. "I think the biggest thing for us as medical professionals is we have to be ready."

Haran warns, the pandemic is not over.

"The unfortunate thing is that this is a very fatigue-able thing. People don't want to continue washing their hands and continue to wear masks. It's something where if you feel like you're not seeing it in the setting that you're in, then it's easy to think, 'Oh, well, it's gone, I'm not going to wash my hands anymore. I'm not going to wear a mask,' but it's still here."

The California Department of Public Health reported a total of 161,099 cases on Thursday, a more than 4,000 case increase from Wednesday. Locally, San Luis Obispo County reported 13 new cases on Thursday.

Some California residents feel it might be too soon for the economy to bounce back.

"Hair salons and things along those lines...I'm not comfortable eating in a restaurant. I'm fine taking out and all that sort of thing. We might be moving a little fast," said Carlsbad resident Matthew Escobar.

So as the phased reopening continues, Haran stresses the importance of following county guidelines.

"That's the problem is that we don't have a solution for this yet. There's still a lot about the virus that we're learning and that we don't know, and it's a shame that a lot of this has turned political," Haran said. "Hopefully with the increased numbers, people will start to realize that and continue their social distancing practices.”