SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego County Board of Supervisors held an emergency meeting behind closed doors Thursday evening to discuss how to potentially keep businesses open after Gov. Gavin Newsom denied removing San Diego State’s COVID-19 cases from the county’s total case rate.
The meeting, though, yielding no new actions by the county.
In a statement, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said since the board took no action, "it would be inappropriate to comment on the deliberation."
"In general, I believe we should be fighting COVID-19 and not the state of California. We do not yet know what our case rate will be next Tuesday and will have to evaluate that number in order to understand any possible impact," Fletcher said.
The county is now at risk of moving back to the most restrictive purple tier if the case rate is higher than 7.0 by next week. Currently, the county has had a case rate higher than that threshold for one week.
“We were all really stunned and caught off guard yesterday during the governor’s press conference when he made a final decision on the SDSU cases,” said County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar.
The county had requested that the state remove SDSU’s more than 700 COVID-19 cases from the overall case rate to keep San Diego in the red tier. When asked about the situation during a press conference, Newsom said, “You can’t isolate, as if it’s on an island, the campus community that is part of a larger community. So the answer is no.”
The county's public health officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten, said if the school's cases were removed, the county's overall case rate would drop.
“Businesses in Carlsbad are going to have to shut down because of an outbreak at San Diego State,” said Supervisor Jim Desmond. “Places throughout the county are going to be very negatively affected by this.”
The supervisors will meet to discuss options that could possibly keep San Diego County businesses operating in the red tier.
“One option that we will be exploring is a legal action against the state of California, the governor specifically,” said Gaspar.
Gaspar explained that option would allow the courts to hear the county’s case about why they believe SDSU’s situation is a special circumstance and not worth shutting down indoor operations again.
“They would have the ability to evaluate whether or not SDSU cases should be excluded,” she said. “And in the interim period would allow us to stay in the stage red with the businesses open.”
In a statement to ABC 10News, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said,
We are in a battle against the coronavirus, not the State of California. Their public health experts looked at the situation in San Diego closely and made a decision that I understand and respect.
If the board does decide to move forward with legal action, the public will be notified.