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County Releases Home ZIP Codes Of COVID-19 Cases, But Does That Tell Us Anything?

Coronavirus testing at the San Diego county lab, Feb. 28, 2020.

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: Coronavirus testing at the San Diego county lab, Feb. 28, 2020.

This week San Diego County health officials started releasing home ZIP codes for coronavirus cases. But doctors don't want the public to read into those numbers too much.

"I’m going to be honest, to me personally, that information doesn’t mean very much," San Diego County chief medical officer Dr. Nick Yphantides said Wednesday.

MAP: COVID-19 In San Diego: Mapping Cases By ZIP Code

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

When data was first released, the Hillcrest area (92103) had the most cases with 57, followed by the La Jolla area (92037) with 26 and the Normal Heights area (92116) with 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19. That data was for the information reported through March 30.

While the ZIP codes represent the residences of those who tested positive, they don't necessarily indicate where they were exposed to the virus.

"This virus knows no ZIP code limitations and so I do think there is a potential prioritization by some communities and so forth in terms of having that data," Yphantides said. "Clinically, and I will say logistically, at least from my perspective as a clinician, it doesn’t really make that big of a difference."

Reported by Matt Hoffman , Video by Andi Dukleth

Yphantides said the data was only released in an effort to be transparent after the public asked for it. Health officials have also said there is likely 10 times the number of confirmed cases in our county.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher added that people in some areas might have more access to testing.

"We believe there are positive cases in every single ZIP code in San Diego County," Fletcher said. "Some areas may have greater access to healthcare and a doctor who can order that test."

Officials said regardless of how many cases there are in your ZIP code, everyone should be practicing social distancing, following the stay at home orders and washing hands regularly.


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Photo of Matt Hoffman

Matt Hoffman
Health Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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