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San Diego Reports More Than 400 New COVID-19 Cases Again, Five Deaths

A sign requiring face covering is pictured at a beach in San Diego, July 10, ...

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: A sign requiring face covering is pictured at a beach in San Diego, July 10, 2020.

San Diego County health officials reported 461 new COVID-19 cases and five additional deaths Friday, raising the region's totals to 18,863 cases and 420 deaths.

Four men and one woman died on July 8. Their ages ranged from the late 60s to 100 and all had underlying health conditions.

Of the 8,423 tests reported Friday, 5% were positive. The 14-day rolling average for positive tests is now 5.9% and the average daily number of tests reported over the past week is 7,656. A total of 419,867 tests have been completed in the county.

Of the total positive cases, 2,002 or 10.6% have been hospitalized and 529 or 2.8% of cases have been admitted to an intensive care unit.

An additional three community outbreaks were reported Friday, bringing the total over the past week to 18, more than double the county's metric of seven community-based outbreaks in a week's span. A community outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting from different households.

The outbreaks were traced to a business, restaurant and healthcare setting.

More than 75% of the community outbreaks have been traced to restaurants and bars, and 45 community outbreaks remain active, tied to 137 cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday's data.

An additional 23 outbreaks have been traced to skilled nursing facilities and 27 to other nursing facilities.

A record-high 578 cases, a 10% positive test rate and 12 deaths were reported Tuesday.

A new daily high of 38 COVID-19 positive patients were hospitalized in Wednesday's data, and about 136 of every 100,000 San Diegans are testing positive for the illness, well above the state's criterion of 100 per 100,000. Total COVID-19 hospitalizations have inched up over the last several weeks, said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer.

"The pandemic is not over," Wooten reminded county residents this week. "The disease is still widespread in our community, as evidenced by the rising cases."

Despite the numbers, some local leaders believe San Diego County needs to have the authority to open its businesses. County supervisors Kristin Gaspar and Jim Desmond and San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday evening, asking the governor to rescind orders to shutter indoor business in multiple industries — including bars, restaurants, museums, cardrooms, zoos and theaters.

"This statewide one-size-fits-all approach to closing entire business sectors is misguided as evidenced by the many sectors in San Diego forced to close their doors again despite not having contributed at all to the rise in our local cases. As such, we are requesting the review of our county's data to take place as soon as possible, thereby allowing San Diego businesses to reopen if appropriate," they wrote in the joint letter.

"It is time to give local control of this public health emergency to the elected leaders and clinical team closest to the people so that we can begin community specific healing based on local data. We are confident that San Diego County is well-positioned to serve as a model in this effort," the letter said.

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