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San Diego County Reports 267 New COVID-19 Cases, Five More Deaths

A San Diego county employee explains the testing process to a person with an appointment at a San Diego County COVID 19 testing station by the SDCCU Stadium on May 18, 2020.
Matthew Bowler
A San Diego county employee explains the testing process to a person with an appointment at a San Diego County COVID-19 testing station by the SDCCU Stadium on May 18, 2020.

San Diego County public health officials reported 267 new COVID-19 infections and five additional deaths, increasing the regional totals to 36,994 cases and 665 deaths.

County health officials are still awaiting guidance from the state toward a reopening framework for businesses.

Tuesday's data revealed that three women and two men died, ranging in age from mid-60s to early 90s.


Of the 5,534 tests reported Tuesday, 5% returned positive, raising the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 3.6%, well below the state's 8% guideline. The seven-day average number of tests performed in the county is 7,386.

Of the total positive cases in the county, 3,006 — or 8.1% — have required hospitalization since the pandemic began, and 736 — or 2% — were admitted to an intensive care unit.

County health officials reported one new community outbreak on Tuesday, bringing the number of outbreaks in the past week to 21. The outbreak was reported in a health care setting.

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.

The county reported a case rate of 81 positive COVID-19 tests per 100,000 people as of Tuesday, below the state's 100 per 100,000 guideline.


The county will be placed back on the state's monitoring list should it be flagged for exceeding any one of six different metrics for three consecutive days. Those metrics are the case rate, the percentage of positive tests, the average number of tests a county is able to perform daily, changes in the number of hospitalized patients and the percentage of ventilators and intensive care beds available.

Even as the COVID-19 numbers continue to improve in San Diego County, local officials say the state has not yet provided guidance regarding reopening the county.

"We still have not yet received clarity," County Supervisor Greg Cox said. "We do not yet know when we will get these guidelines."

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the county was hoping to hear from the state this week.

On Monday, the county began releasing more in-depth COVID-19 data by race, ethnicity and ZIP Code, including the number of tests administered and the number of case investigators and contact tracers.

The case investigator and contact tracing data will show the degree to which the number of employees doing the work mirror the ethnic groups that make up the local population. Currently, the county has 435 case investigators contacting San Diegans who have tested positive for COVID-19, finding out what places they visited and who their close contacts are.

Additionally, 285 contact tracers were connecting with people who were close contacts with positive cases.

"It's important that we have the ability to connect with people," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer. "We need to make sure they know what to do so that they can recover safely."

Also on Monday, gyms, fitness businesses and places of worship were officially allowed to begin operating in San Diego city parks.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the executive order last week. City Councilman Chris Cate proposed the idea in mid-July, and the County Board of Supervisors approved a similar ordinance for county parks on Aug. 5.

The directive defers park permit fees for 60 days. Faulconer will bring an ordinance to the council once it is back in session in September that would make the waiving of fees permanent.

The county was officially removed from the state's monitoring list on Aug. 18, setting in motion a 14-day countdown that could see K-12 students back in the classroom as soon as Sept. 1, depending on the decisions of individual school districts.

Currently, 27 schools — mostly private religious schools — have been approved for in-person learning by the county.

The schools include Calvary Christian Academy, Francis Parker School, Chabad Hebrew Academy, San Diego French American School, La Jolla Country Day School and others. They were among nearly 50 schools that applied for a waiver to the county's public health guideline regarding in-person teaching.