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SD County Continues To Report Positive COVID-19 Trends

A worker making pasta at Cesarina in Point Loma with a sign requiring face co...

Photo by Roland Lizarondo

Above: A worker making pasta at Cesarina in Point Loma with a sign requiring face covering on the premises, July 21, 2020.

For the fifth day in a row, San Diego County public health officials reported a case rate of fewer than 100 positive COVID-19 tests per 100,000 people — however, the state said it will have to review the data before removing the county from its monitoring list.

Previously, county and state officials had said if the rate stays below 100 per 100,000 people (it was 91.9 Sunday) for three consecutive days, the county would officially be removed from that list. After an additional 14 consecutive days below that number, K-12 schools could potentially reopen for in-person teaching, depending on individual school district metrics.

Some 48 elementary schools have filed waivers with the county to return to school early.

That timeline is now uncertain, as are the specifics of reopening certain businesses for indoor operations.

As the county awaits further guidance from Gov. Gavin Newsom, public health officials on Sunday reported 334 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths as of Saturday, raising the county's totals to 34,678 cases, with the death toll remaining at 626.

Of the 7,047 tests reported, 5% returned positive, maintaining the 14- day positive testing rate at 4.3%, well below the state's target of 8% or fewer. The 7-day rolling average of tests is 7,944 daily.

Of the total positive cases in the county, 2,856 — or 8.2% — have required hospitalization since the pandemic began, and 715 — or 2.1% — were admitted to an intensive care unit.

County health officials also reported three new community outbreaks, bringing the number of outbreaks in the past week to 24. The latest outbreaks were reported in a business, a restaurant and a restaurant-bar, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.

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San Diego County COVID-19 Data Aug. 16, 2020

San Diego County COVID-19 Data Aug. 16, 2020

San Diego County COVID-19 Data Aug. 16, 2020

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The number of community outbreaks remains well above the county's goal of fewer than seven in a seven-day span. A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households in the past 14 days.

Latinos are still disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, with that ethnic group representing 61.3% of all hospitalizations and 45.4% of all deaths due to the illness. Latinos make up about 35% of San Diego County's population.

A new COVID-19 testing site began operating last week at the San Ysidro Port of Entry PedEast crossing, and County Supervisor Greg Cox cited its immediate success and demand for it.

The free testing site will operate from 6:30 a.m. to noon 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 Wooten. "The location was selected because of the increase in cases in the region and the number of people, especially essential workers who cross daily."

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