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San Diego County Sets Records For New COVID-19 Infections, Hospitalizations

A sign in front of the Aesop store in Fashion Valley Mall advising people to ...

Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Above: A sign in front of the Aesop store in Fashion Valley Mall advising people to socially distance and wear a mask in the store, Nov. 28, 2020.

Updated at 12:07 p.m., Sat. Dec. 5, 2020

San Diego County and the rest of Southern California could fall under sweeping new health restrictions as soon as Sunday night due to the rapidly increasing number of hospitalizations from the coronavirus, state officials confirmed Saturday.

A state-mandated "regional stay-at-home" order will be triggered at 11:59 p.m. Sunday if intensive-care unit bed availability falls below 15% after Saturday's daily update, according to the California Department of Public Health.

RELATED: What The New Stay-At-Home Order Means For San Diego

The 11-county Southern California region's available ICU capacity was 13.1% percent pending Saturday's updated numbers. San Diego County had 23% of its ICU beds available as of Friday, but that number could fall if recent trends continue.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that the Southern California region could meet that trigger within days. The Southern California region consists of San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, Imperial, Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

When triggered, the stay-at-home order will be in place for three weeks and will bar gatherings of people from different households. Under the order, the following businesses/recreational facilities will be forced to close:

— indoor and outdoor playgrounds;

— indoor recreational facilities;

— hair salons and barbershops;

— personal care services;

— museums, zoos, and aquariums;

— movie theaters;

— wineries;

— bars, breweries and distilleries;

— family entertainment centers;

— cardrooms and satellite wagering;

— limited services;

— live audience sports; and

— amusement parks.

Schools with waivers will be allowed to remain open, along with "critical infrastructure" and retail stores, which will be limited to 20% of capacity. Restaurants will be restricted to takeout and delivery service only. Hotels would be allowed to open "for critical infrastructure support only," while churches would be restricted to outdoor-only services. Entertainment production — including professional sports — would be allowed to continue without live audiences.

Some of those restrictions are already in effect in select counties.

San Diego County reported 2,039 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, with 791 coronavirus patients hospitalized, including 216 in intensive care — all records.

The previous high for new infections was 1,859 reported Nov. 27. Friday was the 24th consecutive day more than 600 new cases have been reported and 12th in the past 14 days with more than 1,000 new cases.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency has reported 88,181 cases since the pandemic began.

An additional seven COVID-19 deaths were reported Friday, raising the death toll to 1,047. Four women and three men, all with underlying medical conditions, died between Monday and Thursday. Their ages ranged from the mid- 20s to the early 100s.

Another 37 coronavirus patients were hospitalized, according to Friday's report.

Of San Diego County's 696 licensed ICU beds, 154 were available.

The number of patients with COVID-19 in San Diego County hospitals has increased dramatically from one month ago. There were 297 hospitalized on Nov. 3. The 791 also is more than double the previous peak in mid-July.

Of the 88,000-plus cases logged in the county since the start of the pandemic, 4,806 — or 5.5% — have required hospitalization and 1,061 patients — 1.2% — had to be admitted to an ICU.

The total number of people hospitalized for any reason in the county is 4,587 — fairly consistent with the past several months — but the percentage of COVID-19 patients in the region's hospitals rose from 6.7% a month ago to 17.2% on Friday.

A total of 25,289 tests were reported Friday, with 8% returning positive, raising the 14-day average to 6.7%.

A total of 14 community outbreaks were confirmed Friday: six in business settings, two in food/beverage processing settings, two in distribution warehouse settings, one in an emergency services setting, one in a government setting, one in a faith-based setting and one in a healthcare setting.

Over the previous seven days, 93 community outbreaks were confirmed. A community outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households over the past 14 days.


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