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42% average jump in SJ County cases
make a mask
The City of Turlock is hosting a mask making contest on social media. The winners get dinner for six delivered to their home (Photo contributed).

New cases of confirmed COVID-19 reported in San Joaquin are now running 42 percent higher in the last three days than they were from March 20 through April 10.

As of Monday at 5 p.m. there were 307 confirmed cases in San Joaquin County and 17 deaths.

That reflects 47 new cases and three deaths during the previous 72 hours. That is an average of 15.6 new cases daily since Friday compared to the average of 11 new cases daily from March 20 to April 10.

San Joaquin County Health Officer Maggie Park has stressed wearing face masks is a voluntary decision. As such, the county’s top health official sees there is no pressing need to make wearing face masks mandatory for the general public.

County health officials stress N-95 and surgical masks should be reserved for health care workers and first responders “who will be there when our lives are at risk.”

“The (Centers for Disease Control) and the (California Department for Public Health) have made it very clear that the general public should not be buying masks,” Park said in a statement. “If you already have a mask, you can use it, but otherwise, stick to a reusable face covering.”

Park continues to recommend that you stay home as much as possible, avoid unnecessary interactions with people who do not live in your household, practice social distancing (6 feet apart), wash your hands frequently, and disinfect frequently used items and surfaces.

 “These are the most important steps to stop the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” Park advised.

The wearing of masks by the general public, according to county health officers, is intended as a precaution for wearers to avoid spreading COVID-19 in case they have already contracted the coronavirus and are not showing symptoms. The CDC has repeatedly emphasized that many carriers of COVID-19 may never get sick bit could still infect others.

County officials are worried that people may think that wearing masks would mean it was OK to venture out for non-essential needs instead of for work or the purchase of groceries.

The county is advising cloth face coverings designed to serve as masks can be made at home using any fabric such as an old T-shirt, towel, scarf, or bandana as long as it securely covers the chin, nose, and mouth.

On Saturday more than 80 people were waiting at one point to enter Jo-Ann Fabrics at Manteca’s Stadium Retail Center to obtain material needed to make face personal face masks or to do so as a donation to essential workers in health care and other fields. In keeping with social distancing, only 15 people were allowed into the store at a time while those waiting in a line that stretched to nearly the former Dress Barn location past stores closed due to the pandemic such as Ross tried to maintain six feet between others.

Park noted if people already possess surgical masks they can use them. If not— or if you run out of surgical masks — use reusable face masks such as ones that are homemade that can be cleaned in a washing machine.

A video message on the proper wearing of masks can be found on the Public Health System YouTube channel at:

The Centers for Disease Control video on how to make your own face covering can be found at


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email