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SD County Records Another Daily High In COVID-19 Cases

Parents wearing masks look on as San Diego junior lifeguards prepare to jump ...

Photo by Gregory Bull / AP Photo

Above: Parents wearing masks look on as San Diego junior lifeguards prepare to jump off the Ocean Beach pier Monday, July 6, 2020, in San Diego. The annual event, seen by some San Diegans as a rite of passage, took place again this year, but with precautions meant to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, including smaller groups of junior lifeguards and fewer parents allowed on the pier at any one time.

San Diego County health officials reported a new one- day high of positive COVID-19 cases as indoor operations have been halted in various businesses throughout the region.

There were 578 COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths reported Tuesday, raising the region's totals to 17,578 cases and 399 fatalities.

Of 5,530 tests reported Tuesday, 10% were positive. The 14-day rolling average of positive tests is now at 5.9%.

Of the 12 deaths, five men and seven women died. They ranged in age from the late 40s to early 90s and all but one had underlying health conditions.

Additionally, five new community-based outbreaks were reported Tuesday — in a restaurant, two bars, a grocery store and another business. The number of community outbreaks over the last week is now at 22, well over the county metric of seven outbreaks in seven days. A community outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting from different households.

More than 75% of the community outbreaks have been traced to restaurants and bars.

For the new public health order restrictions put in place Tuesday, outdoor dining will still be permitted for restaurants, as will delivery and takeout. The restrictions will be in place for at least three weeks.

Breweries and pubs serving food must stop all on-site consumption, whether indoor or outdoor, but are allowed to remain open for curbside service of food and beverages, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said. Wineries and distilleries can have outdoor service.

Officials did not clarify why the distinction was made between the alcohol-producing businesses.

Indoor operations were also halted Tuesday in museums, zoos, cardrooms, theaters and family entertainment centers.

"We must slow the spread of coronavirus now to allow our economy to open and thrive," Fletcher said Monday. "Modest adjustments" like the ones announced Monday could help prevent full-scale closures once again, he said.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer signed an emergency executive order on Tuesday waiving permits and other regulatory requirements to allow restaurants to expand their services onto outdoor dining spaces like sidewalks and private parking lots.

The San Diego City Council is expected to consider a proposed ordinance next week that will expand on Faulconer's order. If approved, the ordinance will reduce permit fees, waive and streamline permit reviews, allow for outdoor dining plazas and outdoor operations in on-street parking areas, Faulconer said.

The decision to nix indoor operations at restaurants, bars and breweries is in line with restrictions imposed last week by Gov. Gavin Newsom on counties on the state's coronavirus monitoring list, which now includes 23 counties. San Diego County was added to that list Friday, primarily due to the region's rising rate of cases per 100,000 residents. San Diego County reported 129.3 cases per 100,000 on Monday, well above the state's metric of 100 per 100,000.

Counties on the list were ordered to close all bars, a move San Diego County had already taken ahead of the holiday weekend.

San Diego County was the final county in Southern California to be placed on the state's monitoring list.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer, said Monday that more bad news is likely coming.

"Deaths lag behind hospitalizations, which lag behind cases," she said, comparing the pattern to what health officials see with seasonal influenza.

San Diego County health officials reported 1,030 positive COVID-19 cases over the weekend. On Friday, 468 new cases were reported and another 562 were reported Saturday. Health officials reported 274 new cases Monday, the fewest reported since June 22.

As of Tuesday, cases requiring hospitalization totaled 1,923 or 10.9% of cases and hospitalized cases admitted to an intensive care unit totaled 517 or 2.9% of cases.

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