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Pacific Beach tops 400 coronavirus cases; county cites ‘a younger population’ not following best practices

El Prez in Pacific Beach was temporarily shut down by the county in May.
El Prez in Pacific Beach was temporarily shut down by the county in May after images circulated on social media showing a lack of masks and social distancing at the restaurant and bar.
(Sam Hodgson / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The role of young people is being looked at in sharply rising coronavirus numbers in Pacific Beach. With reports of a surge in cases during the summer, some blame continued patronizing of bars and younger people not adhering to social distancing guidelines.

KPBS reported there were 70 cases in Pacific Beach on June 15 and that the number jumped to 181 by June 30.

As of July 27, the 92109 ZIP code had 425 cases, according to PB Monthly research.

The ZIP code represents the residence of those infected, not necessarily the location of their exposure to the virus.

During a news conference July 27, San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said: “The increase in PB … [is] attributed to a younger population, particularly between 20 and 30 and even 30 to 49 years of age, going to bars and not adhering to our social distancing best practices and use of facial coverings where recommended. It’s related to behavior. We can talk about best practices all day every day, but until individuals adhere to and exhibit the behaviors that support those best practices, we will continue to see our numbers increase.”

The county further reports that a growing number of cases are being identified in young people, especially those ages 20 to 29. At the end of April, 15 percent of all cases reported were in people in that age range. That has increased to 22 percent.

For people in their 30s, the percentage has remained steady, and in older demographics, it has been steadily decreasing.

The median age of a Pacific Beach resident is 32, according to Point2Homes.com.

There are approximately 20 bars in Pacific Beach, predominantly around Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue. Many of them are temporarily or permanently closed, but others that serve food can continue to operate in an outdoor setting.

In May, Pacific Beach’s El Prez bar and restaurant made headlines when patrons posted videos of crowds not wearing masks and not adhering to social distancing, which led to it being temporarily shut down.

Recent coronavirus cases are being identified in a variety of settings, but several outbreaks have been linked to bars, restaurants and private residences.

“Businesses were initially reopened hours before the start of Memorial Day weekend [and] most of our businesses have worked very hard to invest in changing business practices for social distancing and to increase outdoor options to meet the demands,” Sara Berns, executive director of Discover Pacific Beach, the local business improvement district, told the PB Monthly. “Pacific Beach has and will continue to be a summer destination for not just tourists but those in surrounding San Diego neighborhoods. As with most things when it comes to PB, we can’t look at just the number of residents to compare with other neighborhoods when we take the majority of weekend foot traffic due to beach access and having the largest business district in the city.”


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