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Health officials warn SLO Co. could end up on state's COVID-19 watch list

43 new cases of coronavirus reported Tuesday
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Posted at 2:33 PM, Jul 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 17:28:31-04

San Luis Obispo County Public Health Officials announced Tuesday that they expect San Luis Obispo County will end up on the state's COVID-19 "watch list" soon.

Over the weekend, the county reportedly exceeded the state's COVID-19 case rate criteria.

Health officials say the county has seen a rate of about 114 cases per 100,000 population over the last 14-day period and the state's threshold is no more than 100 cases per 100,000 population.

"Our transmission rate doesn't tell the whole story, but it is potentially a leading indicator," said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. "These numbers are a strong reminder that we are bringing COVID-19 home-from travel, from work, from outings-and we need take all the necessary precautions to ensure that SLO County can remain open and our health care system can continue to care for the sick."

The county is still meeting other metrics, however, including testing and hospitalization rates and the availability of hospital beds.

Twenty-three counties are currently on the state's monitoring list. That includes Monterey, Santa Barbara, Kern, and Kings counties, which all border San Luis Obispo County.

Those counties have been ordered by the state to close certain business sectors, such as bars, movie theaters, and indoor restaurant dining.

"The people of SLO County can turn this around if we each do our part," Dr. Borenstein said. "Wear face coverings in public, stay home when you're sick, maintain a safe distance from others you don't live with, practice good hygiene, and stay close to home. These simple things can help SLO County stay healthy and open."

San Luis Obispo County reported 43 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 808 cases as of July 7.

Thirteen people are hospitalized, including five patients who are in the ICU.

Another 207 people are recovering at home and 586 have recovered.

San Luis Obispo County has had two deaths attributed to COVID-19.

County health officials say they are working with two local residential care facilities that recently had outbreaks. Two residents* at the Village at Sydney Creek in San Luis Obispo and one staff member at Vineyard Hills in Templeton have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the health department.

One round of testing has reportedly been conducted at Sydney Creek with no new cases and health officials say another round of tests will occur next week. They say Vineyard Hills has been cleared through testing.

Officials at Sydney Creek say both of the affected residents are now asymptomatic and doing well.

Free COVID-19 tests are currently available to the public in Grover Beach, San Luis Obispo, and Atascadero.

The pop-up testing clinic in Atascadero will only be open through Thursday, July 9. It will move to Nipomo next week and will be open from Monday, July 13, to Thursday, July 16.

Appointments are required at all locations. Click here to schedule an appointment.

Health officials say 330, or about 41%, of the county's total cases are the result of the patient having direct contact with a person who tested positive for the virus; 270 cases are attributed to community spread; and, 91 cases are the result of travel outside the county. Another 117 cases are still under investigation.

Breakdown of cases by location:

  • Paso Robles - 195
  • San Luis Obispo - 130
  • Nipomo - 122
  • Atascadero - 82
  • Arroyo Grande - 65
  • San Miguel - 34
  • Grover Beach - 32
  • Templeton - 27
  • Pismo Beach - 22
  • Los Osos - 16
  • Oceano - 17
  • California Men's Colony inmates - 11
  • Morro Bay - 11
  • Cambria - 7
  • Shandon - 6
  • Cayucos - 6
  • Santa Margarita - 6
  • Avila Beach - 5

An additional 13 cases are in communities with fewer than five cases, and the Public Health Department is not identifying those locations. The location of one case is listed as "unknown."

For more information on the county's COVID-19 response, visit readyslo.org.

*Correction: This article originally stated that three residents at Sydney Creek had tested positive for coronavirus due to an accounting error by the Public Health Department.