As SLO County makes its way through a phased reopening process, it’s seeing a significant jump in cases of COVID-19. But Public Health Officer Penny Borenstein says she doesn’t plan to reverse course any time soon.
“As I have continuously said, we need to support the reopening of our community,” Borenstein said at a county press briefing on June 17. “We need to do it safely. We need to do it smartly. But we need to support the economic engine and the financial well being of our community.”
- FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
- MOVING FORWARD Despite recent increases in SLO County’s cases of COVID-19, Public Health Officer Penny Borenstein says hospitalizations remain low.
New cases of COVID-19 have been steadily stacking up in SLO County since late May, when the county increased its testing capacity and received state approval to reopen faster than some other counties
But the recent case increases are larger than the single digits SLO County has seen throughout the pandemic. On Monday, June 16, the county Public Health Department announced that roughly 23 new cases of coronavirus had been confirmed over the weekend, bringing the county’s total case count to 347. Then at a press briefing on June 17, Borenstein said another 20 cases had been confirmed, the largest single-day spike since the pandemic started.
As of June 19, SLO County had 404 confirmed cases of coronavirus
and seven individuals in the hospital, four of which were in intensive care. Still, Borenstein said at the June 17 press briefing that while the recent uptick in cases is troubling, it’s the severity of those cases that will play a role in whether the county pulls back on its easing of public safety restrictions.
Despite the uptick in cases, a vast majority of SLO County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 have fully recovered, few are in the hospital, and even fewer in intensive care, Borenstein said.
“We continue to watch our metrics,” she said. “We will pull back if and when we need to. We will never do that lightly or at the drop of a hat. We will look for trends and those trends absolutely have to be related to the severity of the disease in our community.” ∆