San Diego County Case Rate Falls Below Threshold To Get Off State's Monitoring List
San Diego County public health officials have reported 236 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths, raising the county's totals to 33,393 cases and 608 deaths.
Five women and one man died between July 28 and Aug. 11. Their ages ranged from 66 to 96 and all had underlying medical conditions. Of the deaths reported thus far during the pandemic, 96% had some underlying medical condition.
Of the 7,339 tests reported Wednesday, 3% returned positive, lowering the 14-day positive testing rate to 4.7%, well below the state's target of 8% or fewer. The 7-day rolling average of tests is 8,413 daily.
The county's case rate per 100,000 residents as of Wednesday is 94.2. For the first time since July 3, the county's rate is below the metric of 100 cases per 100,000 people set by the state.
San Diego County would need to report a case rate of 100 or below for three days to get off the state's county monitoring list and a case rate of 100 or below for an additional 14 days before schools grades 7-12 can reopen. No other businesses can reopen after the 17 days unless the state provides further guidance.
A new COVID-19 testing site began operating Wednesday at the San Ysidro Port of Entry PedEast crossing.
The free testing site will operate from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and will focus on testing essential workers and American citizens who live in Tijuana, according to San Diego County health officials.
No appointments are necessary at the walk-up site, which aims to offer about 200 tests daily. People getting tested will not be asked about their immigration status or who lives with them, health officials said.
"We know that communities in South Bay have been hit the hardest by COVID-19," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "The location was selected because of the increase in cases in the region and the number of people, especially essential workers who cross daily."
Of the total positive cases in the county, 2,792 — or 8.4% — have required hospitalization since the pandemic began, and 696 — or 2.1% — were admitted to an intensive care unit.
County health officials also reported two community outbreaks Wednesday, bringing the number of outbreaks in the past week to 26.
The latest outbreaks were reported in a grocery store and a manufacturing setting, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.
The number of community outbreaks remains well above the county's goal of fewer than seven in a seven-day span. An outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households in the past 14 days.
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said Tuesday that the county's partnerships with its 18 incorporated communities were allowing law enforcement to step up efforts to punish egregious violators of public health orders.
A visit from county staff is the first action used, followed by a cease-and-desist order and then an order to close. If an entity refuses to close after that order, it will be cited and fined $1,000 — as University Heights gym Boulevard Fitness was on Tuesday, Fletcher said.
"The selfish defiance of the public health orders only hurts those acting in good faith," he said. "This is not out of a desire to be punitive."
Fletcher said problems with the state's electronic reporting system — which has led to a backlog in test results — have mostly been resolved, but a few additional cases might be retroactively added to both local and statewide case totals in coming weeks.
Of all the people hospitalized due to the illness, 71% have been 50 or older. But county residents ages 20-29 have accounted for 25.5% of COVID-19 cases, the highest of any age group, according to county data. That age group is also least likely to take precautionary measures to avoid spreading the illness, officials said.
The age group with the second-highest number of infections — residents ages 30-39 — represents 18.9% of the county's COVID-19 cases.