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Tracking Covid 19

Live Blog: California Records New High In Coronavirus Cases

This is a breaking news blog for all of the latest updates about the coronavirus pandemic. Get our complete coronavirus coverage here →

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LA County Paints Dire Picture As COVID-19 Cases Explode

– 6:45 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020

Hours before a much-debated ban on in-person dining takes effect, Los Angeles County health officials Wednesday painted a dire picture of the current COVID-19 surge, saying the transmission rate has reached its highest point since March and could overwhelm hospitals within a month.

"We continue to be at a very difficult time in this pandemic, as is so much of the United States," county Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said. "In fact, our situation is getting worse each day."

According to current county estimates, every COVID-19 patient in the county is passing the virus to an average of 1.27 people -- the highest transmission rate the county has seen since March, before any safety protocols such as face coverings and social distancing were in place.

Based on that transmission rate, health officials estimate that one of every 145 people in the county are now infected with the virus and transmitting it to others.

"This doesn't include people that are currently hospitalized or isolated at home," county Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly said. "This is the estimate of people that are out and about and infecting others. They may not know they're infected. They may know they're infected and not be isolating. But they're out there and they're exposing other people to the virus."

Ghaly said the number of people hospitalized due to the virus has jumped by 70% in the past two weeks, with the county now averaging about 300 new admissions daily.

"Based on the current estimate for (the virus transmission rate) and assuming that there's no change in people's behavior that would affect transmissions, there will likely be shortages in the number of hospital beds, and especially in ICU beds or intensive-care unit beds, over the next two to four weeks," she said. — City News Service

California Records New High In Coronavirus Cases

– 6:35 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020

California reported a record number of coronavirus cases Wednesday as Los Angeles restaurants prepared to close for three weeks and firefighters in Silicon Valley were being enlisted to help enforce public health rules to try to halt the spread of infections.

Cases of COVID-19 have been climbing at an alarming rate for weeks and hit a new high of 18,350 recorded Tuesday, surpassing a previous record of more than 15,000 cases announced Saturday, state officials said.

The seven-day average of positive tests has gone from 5.3% to 6.5% in the past week. The 14-day average has gone from 4.8% to 5.9%.

Officials have been discussing the rise in cases with increasing alarm in recent days and urging people to stay home and reconsider Thanksgiving gatherings with people from outside their homes.

“We are really, really concerned,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, COVID-19 Testing Officer for Santa Clara County. “All of the metrics that we have been following, that have done well in previous months, are now going up very steeply. Our positivity rate in our county is rising and especially in our most affected communities.”

Nearly all of the state is now under a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and subject to the strictest regulations for businesses to operate, including a ban on indoor dining and limited capacity in stores. — Associated Press

San Diego County Surpasses 75,000 COVID-19 Cases, Nears 1,000 Deaths

— 5:06 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020

San Diego County public health officials reported 944 COVID-19 infections and four deaths Wednesday, raising the region's totals to 75,305 cases and 988 deaths.

Four men died between Nov. 14 and Nov. 22, and their ages ranged from late 50s to mid-80s. All had underlying medical conditions.

It is the 15th consecutive day that more than 600 new cases were reported, following a record-high 1,546 cases Tuesday.

The previous one-day case record was set Saturday, when 1,478 new COVID-19 cases were logged, topping the previous record of 1,091 set Friday. On Sunday, 939 new cases were reported.

A total of 20,738 tests were reported Wednesday and 5% of those came back positive, bringing the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 5.3%.

Of the total number of cases in the county Wednesday, 4,470 — or 5.9% — have required hospitalization and 1,006 patients — or 1.3% of all cases — had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

A total of 10 new community outbreaks were confirmed Wednesday, four in business settings, two in restaurant/bar settings, one in a government setting, one in a distribution warehouse setting, one in a retail setting and one in a higher education setting. Over the previous seven days, 76 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. — City News Service

Supervisors Approve $20 Million In Business Relief Due To COVID-19 Closures

– 3:46 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to approve $20 million in aid for businesses affected by San Diego County's slide into the most-restrictive purple tier of the state's four-tiered coronavirus monitoring system.

Greg Cox and Nathan Fletcher, co-chairs of the County of San Diego's COVID-19 Subcommittee, proposed making $20 million in general funds available to provide relief to businesses negatively impacted by the indoor closures mandated by the purple tier.

"Due to the massive spike in COVID-19 cases and very concerning increases in hospitalizations we have to take action to slow the spread in San Diego County," they said in a joint statement. "Through no fault of their own, COVID-19 highest risk entities have to stop indoor operations. While we know this step is vital to help slow the spread in our community, we want to step up and help those impacted...

"Our goal for the $20 million is to provide relief to restaurants, gyms and other entities that have been directly impacted by the indoor closures due to our county's purple tier status. We want to provide this critical relief to them as our community works to slow the spread and stop the surge of COVID- 19 cases."

Funds will also be available for event businesses, such as caterers and party planners. – City News Service

For Teachers, Taking A Day Off During Distance Learning Comes With Big Challenges

– 2:34 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020

Since the onset of the pandemic, Courtney Green has been reluctant to days off from her work as a fourth-grade teacher at Kellogg Elementary in the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

Her feeling is distance learning has already been hard enough on her students without them having to deal with a substitute teacher.

But when Green had to take three weeks off for a medical procedure in October, finding someone to fill in proved far more difficult than she thought it would be. That’s been the experience of teachers across the region as they grapple with the challenges of taking time off from their virtual classrooms.

And even after Green found a couple of substitutes, her days off were interrupted by the technical difficulties of virtual learning.

“On my days that I was out on medical leave, I would still have to log onto the computer, set up the class, make the substitute the host, and then log off,” she said.

In the end, she decided, against her doctor’s wishes, to cut her medical leave short.

“I came back a couple days early just because of how stressful it was,” Green said. “Working with subs and how much work I had to put in, it was basically the same amount as if I had been working.”

Green says she’s heard similar stories from her colleagues.

“They’ve put off taking mental health days or going to doctors appointments because they don’t want to have to figure this out,” she said.

Chula Vista Elementary spokesman Anthony Millican said 96% of teacher absences were filled in the month of October. But he agrees that the current situation is challenging.

“Because of school closures we have far fewer professional development training so in that regard, there’s less of a need for subs,” he said. “But on the flip side, there’s fewer subs generally available during this period.” – Joe Hong, KPBS Education Reporter

California COVID-19 Cases Foreshadow Hospital Stress

– 2:29 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020

The rise of COVID-19 cases in San Diego is part of a pattern being seen statewide and that might mean a strain on the health care system in the coming weeks.

“When you see the numbers more than double in just under three weeks, we’re concerned,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, California's Secretary of Health and Human Services, said in his California COVID-19 update Tuesday.

Tuesday, there are over 15,000 cases statewide. Over the last 14 days, COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased by 81% statewide, placing over 5,800 Californians in hospital care.

ICU hospitalizations have also increased by 57%. That puts more than 1,300 Californians into intensive care.

“This tells us that we're more than double today and the pressure on our hospitals will continue,” Ghaly said. – Tania Thorne, KPBS North County Reporter

California Restaurant Association Sues LA County Over Ban On In-Person Dining

– 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020

The California Restaurant Association sued Los Angeles County Tuesday in an effort to overturn the county's plan to end in-person dining due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, but a judge declined to immediately intervene.

"The recent order with no stated scientific basis from L.A. County singles out a specific industry and could jeopardize thousands of jobs," Jot Condie, president/CEO of the California Restaurant Association, said in a statement announcing the legal challenge. "There are thousands of restaurants and many thousands more employees who could be out on the street right before the holiday season."

The county restriction ending in-person dining for three weeks is scheduled to take effect at 10 p.m Wednesday. Attorneys for the Restaurant Association asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant Tuesday morning for a restraining order preventing the ban from taking effect, but the request was rejected. The lawsuit, however, will proceed.

Association attorney Dennis Ellis told reporters he was disappointed in the ruling, but said the organization hasn't seen any evidence that outdoor dining — which was already restricted to half of overall capacity last week — has fueled the coronavirus surge.

"We have not been able to see what the county has to support the notion that outdoor dining at 50% capacity, consistent with what the governor has authorized in his blueprint, is inappropriate and needs to be shut down," Ellis said.

The ban was announced Sunday night when the county's five-day average of daily new cases topped the threshold of 4,000.

The threshold was established by the county last week, along with a more restrictive tier that would trigger a new stay-at-home order if the daily five-day case average topped 4,500. The county reached that threshold Monday.

The county Board of Supervisors upheld the new restrictions at its meeting Tuesday. Board members Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn asked that outdoor dining be allowed to continue, arguing the ban is too punitive to restaurants in response to a surge that has been largely blamed on private gatherings rather than outdoor dining.

The other three board members disagreed, and voted to allow the ban to take effect as scheduled. — City News Service

Riverside County Hospitals Feeling Pressure Of Higher COVID-19 Caseloads

– 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020

Hospitals throughout Riverside County are contending with higher demand for beds because of increasing coronavirus cases, but they are well-positioned to deal with a second-wave surge, a health official said Tuesday.

"Our hospitals are starting to feel the strain," Riverside University Health System Dr. Geoffrey Leung said during a pre-Thanksgiving briefing. "But the hospitals are much better prepared this time. They are in the initial stages of surge planning."

As of Tuesday, 420 COVID-positive patients were being treated in medical facilities countywide, compared to 409 on Monday. The number includes 107 intensive care unit patients -- 11 more than a day ago, according to RUHS data.

"I think this (surge) will be a little different," said Leung, referring to the amount of preparation that occurred over the summer to ensure facilities have the resources on hand to address heavier caseloads.

That sentiment has been repeatedly echoed by county Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton, who recently assured the Board of Supervisors that facilities have access to sufficient personal protective equipment and have made arrangements for excess capacity if and when it's required.

"We are keeping staff as safe as possible," Leung said, adding that residents who have any type of critical medical need should not delay care because facilities are following protocols to separate the contagious from the non-contagious.

The county's peak in hospitalizations occurred in mid-July, when nearly 600 COVID-positive patients were under general and intensive care. RUHS officials said if current trends continue, that number will be exceeded in December.

The county has over 1,000 general and ICU beds available, but that doesn't include emergency capacity, in which hospital floors are converted to critical care space, adding more beds as required. — City News Service

San Diego Breaks Another COVID-19 Case-Rate Record

– 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020

San Diego County public health officials reported a record 1,546 COVID-19 infections Tuesday, the 14th consecutive day that more than 600 new cases were reported, along with 16 additional deaths.

The county's coronavirus death toll now stands at 984, and the cumulative case total rose to 74,361.

The previous one-day case record was last Saturday, when 1,478 new COVID-19 cases were logged, topping the previous record of 1,091 set Friday. On Sunday, 939 new cases were reported.

San Diego County fell deeper into the most restrictive purple tier of the state's four-tiered reopening plan Tuesday with an unadjusted 21.5 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population. Even with an adjusted rate of 13.1 per 100,000 due to significant testing increases by local health authorities, that number far exceeds the strictest tier's baseline of seven daily cases per 100,000.

A total of 17,329 tests were reported Tuesday and 9% of those came back positive, raising the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 5.3%.

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to rise, with 518 hospitalized in the county and 151 in intensive care, more than double the numbers of a month ago.

Of the total number of cases in the county Tuesday, 4,435 — 6% — have required hospitalization and 1,002 patients — 1.3% of all cases — had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

A total of 15 new community outbreaks were confirmed Tuesday. Over the previous seven days, 73 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. — City News Service

UCSD Detects COVID-19-Causing Virus In Multiple Wastewater Samples On Campus

– 3:20 p.m., Tuesday Nov. 24, 2020

UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla on Tuesday alerted students, faculty and staff that the university's wastewater monitoring system detected SARS CoV-2 — the virus which causes COVID-19 — in multiple sites on Sunday and Monday.

"Our early detection system identified active virus in the wastewater outflow in the five campus areas from 11 a.m. on Sunday, November 22 to 1 p.m. on Monday, November 23," Khosla said.

The buildings with detectable virus in the wastewater are:

• Seventh College East buildings 1, 2, 3 and 4;

• the Rita Atkinson Residences;

• the Eleanor Roosevelt College Buildings North America, Latin America, Earth and ERC Laundry South;

• Mesa Apartments Central 9232, 9234, 9236, 9252, 9254 and 9238 Central Mesa; and

• Nuevo West Viento.

The virus is shed from the gastrointestinal tract and is present in feces early in the infection. UCSD has the ability to identify the virus in wastewater, even before someone tests positive. On Sunday, UCSD expanded its wastewater monitoring to 52 sample sites across campus. — City News Service

1,167 New COVID-19 Cases Reported in San Diego

– 5:55 p.m., Monday, Nov. 23, 2020

San Diego County public health officials reported 1,167 new COVID-19 infections Monday, the 13th consecutive day more than 600 new cases were reported.

A record 1,478 new COVID-19 cases were reported Saturday, erasing the previous record of 1,091 set Friday. There were 939 new cases reported Sunday. The county's total number of cases since the pandemic began in March is 72,815.

A total of 22,117 tests were reported Monday and 5% of those came back positive, raising the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 5%.

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to rise, with 479 hospitalized in the county and 142 in intensive care, more than double the numbers a month ago.

Of the total number of cases in the county Monday, 4,414 — 6.1% — have required hospitalization and 994 patients — 1.4% of all cases — had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

A total of 13 new community outbreaks were confirmed Monday. Over the previous seven days, 61 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.

County health officials are attributing the sharp increase in cases to a general fatigue of the pandemic and are urging San Diegans to avoid gatherings and take COVID-19 seriously. — City News Service

Judge Says No To Businesses Wanting To Resume Indoor Operations

– 2:45 p.m., Monday, Nov. 23, 2020

A judge Monday denied a request from four San Diego County businesses seeking to resume indoor operations following the county's recent slide into the purple tier of the state's coronavirus reopening plan.

In the decision, San Diego Superior Court Judge Kenneth J. Medel wrote that "the State's order to temporarily prohibit San Diego County restaurants and bars from indoor operations under the purple tier appears to have general support in science and reason."

And that while the move to the state's "purple tier" will have a negative effect on businesses impacted by the safety measures, the dangers of rolling those measures back "outweighs the economic harm" caused by them. Judge Medel set a hearing for Dec. 2, to listen to further arguments over whether the county's health orders should be rolled back. — Max Rivlin-Nadler, KPBS News

Los Angeles County Set To Ban In-Person Dining

– 2:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 23, 2020

Spurred by a weeklong spike in COVID-19 cases, Los Angeles County health officials plan to again prohibit in-person restaurant dining this week, but at least one county supervisor is opposing the move, saying it unduly punishes eateries for the virus surge and threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The county Department of Public Health announced Sunday that in-person dining would be halted at 10 p.m. Wednesday and continuing for three weeks. The move came in response to a surge that has now seen new daily COVID-19 cases average more than 4,000 over the past five days.

The revised Public Health Order will restrict restaurants, breweries and wineries to take-out, drive-thru and delivery services.

Officials warned of the possibility of such measures last week, as new cases and hospitalizations surged in Los Angeles County and statewide. They follow a statewide "soft curfew" that went into effect Saturday prohibiting all "nonessential work, movement and gatherings" between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., continuing until the morning of Dec. 21. — City News Service

San Diego County Reports 939 New COVID-19 Cases, Two New Deaths

- 11:22 a.m., Monday, Nov. 23, 2020

San Diego County public health officials have reported 939 new COVID-19 infections and two new deaths, raising the region's totals to 71,648 cases and 968 deaths.

Sunday was the 12th consecutive day more than 600 new coronavirus cases were reported by the county. A record-high 1,478 new COVID-19 cases were reported Saturday. The previous Saturday, 1,087 cases were reported, while 922 were reported Wednesday, followed by 899 on Thursday and 1,091 on Friday.

County health officials are attributing the sharp increase in cases to a general fatigue of the pandemic and are urging San Diegans to avoid gatherings and take COVID-19 seriously.

RELATED: Free San Diego County COVID-19 Testing Sites

"The virus is widespread and every element of our community is impacted," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "Now more than ever it is vital that San Diegans avoid gatherings and crowds, wear a face covering when they are out in public and stay home if they are sick."

A total of 20,251 tests were reported Sunday and 5% of those came back positive, raising the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 4.9%

The number of COVID-19 cases in the hospital continues to rise, with 472 currently hospitalized in the county and 135 in intensive care — nearly double the numbers a month ago.

RELATED: Tracking COVID-19 In San Diego

Wooten said anyone hosting a gathering should keep it small, short and safe.

Gatherings should be limited to a maximum of three stable households and should last two hours or less. People should stay outdoors as much as possible and wear a face covering when they are not eating or drinking.

Of the total number of cases in the county Sunday, 4,368 — or 6.1% — have required hospitalization and 992 patients — or 1.4% of all cases — had to be admitted to an intensive care unit. — City News Service

Americans Could See A Vaccine By Mid-December, Says Operation Warp Speed Adviser

- 2:45 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed, says that some Americans could start receiving a COVID-19 vaccine by the second week of December.

Slaoui's comments follow the announcement on Friday that Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech, have asked the Food and Drug Administration to grant an emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine — which has been found to be 95% effective. A second vaccine from the biotech company Moderna is expected to be submitted for emergency authorization soon as well.

"Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I would expect maybe on day two after approval on the 11th or the 12th of December," Slaoui told CNN on Sunday.

While millions of people in the U.S. could be vaccinated in the weeks and months following an emergency use authorization, Slaoui said it will be well into 2021 before the nation would be able to achieve herd immunity. - Christianna Silva, NPR

San Diego State-Fresno State Football Game Canceled

- 1:33 p.m., Nov. 22, 2020

San Diego State's scheduled football game Friday against Fresno State was canceled Sunday due to COVID-19 contact tracing within the Fresno State football program.

The Mountain West Conference is declaring the game a no contest, and has no plans to reschedule it, conference officials said Sunday.

The Aztecs (3-2, 3-2 MW), who were coming off a tough 26-21 loss at Nevada on Saturday, will now hold onto the Old Oil Can trophy for another year after beating the Bulldogs, 17-7, last season in San Diego. Fresno State is 3-1 this year, but had its game canceled with San Jose State on Friday.

San Diego State's next scheduled opponent is Colorado State on Dec. 5 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.

FDA Grants Emergency Authorization For A Second COVID-19 Antibody Treatment

- 9:00 a.m., Nov. 22, 2020

One of the experimental drugs that President Trump received while he was battling the coronavirus has been approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. The drug, made by the biotech company Regeneron, is the second antibody treatment to win emergency use approval by the FDA.

The treatment combines two antibodies — casirivimab and imdevimab — and administers them together by IV. In a clinical trial of about 800 people, the cocktail was shown to significantly reduce virus levels within days of treatment.

In its authorization on Saturday, the FDA made clear that the drug is only for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in people 12 years and older who are at high risk of developing more severe symptoms. It's not for patients who are hospitalized due to COVID-19, or who require oxygen therapy because of the virus.

"The emergency authorization of these monoclonal antibodies administered together offers health care providers another tool in combating the pandemic," said Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, acting director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "We will continue to facilitate the development, evaluation and availability of COVID-19 therapies."

Both Regeneron's drug and another approved treatment, made by Eli Lilly, are synthetic versions of human antibodies that mimic the immune system's ability to fight off harmful pathogens. They bind to the coronavirus and prevent it from invading cells. — NPR

Largest Number Of New SD County COVID-19 Cases: 1,478

— 5:26 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020

San Diego County public health officials Saturday reported a record-high 1,478 new COVID-19 infections and six new deaths, raising the region's totals to 70,709 cases and 966 deaths.

Saturday was the 11th consecutive day more than 600 new coronavirus cases were reported by the county, and the most in a single day. Last Saturday, 1,087 cases were reported, 922 were reported Wednesday, 899 Thursday and 1,091 Friday.

County health officials are attributing the sharp increase in cases to a general fatigue of the pandemic and are urging San Diegans to avoid gatherings and take COVID-19 seriously.

"The virus is widespread and every element of our community is impacted," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "Now more than ever it is vital that San Diegans avoid gatherings and crowds, wear a face covering when they are out in public and stay home if they are sick."

On Nov. 11, a then-record 661 cases were reported, surpassing the 652 cases reported Aug. 7. Another 620 cases were reported Nov. 12.

A total of 34,021 tests — a new record — were reported Friday and 3% of those came back positive, dropping the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 4.7%

The number of COVID-19 cases in the hospital continues to rise, with 440 currently hospitalized in the county and 127 in intensive care — nearly double the numbers a month ago. — City News Service

California Enacts Nighttime Curfew As COVID-19 Cases Spike

- 10:10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020

California enacts a nighttime curfew Saturday as spiking coronavirus cases threaten to swamp health care systems and the state's largest county warned that an even more drastic lockdown could be imminent.

The newest restrictions require people not on essential errands to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Dec. 21, with a possible extension if rapidly worsening trends don’t improve. People will be allowed to shop for groceries, pick up food and even walk their dogs.

Authorities say the focus is on keeping people from social mixing and drinking — the kinds of activities that are blamed for causing COVID-19 infections to soar after dipping only a few months ago.

Dr. Mark Cullen, an infectious disease expert who recently retired from Stanford University, said the underlying goal is based on a reasonable interpretation of data.

“Large numbers of people getting together oblivious of controls — no masks, no social distancing, often indoors — a lot of those things are in fact occurring at night,” Cullen said. However, he also questioned whether a limited curfew will be effective.

The curfew applies to 41 of the state’s 58 counties that are in the “purple” tier, the most restrictive of four state tiers allowing various stages of economic reopening. Those counties encompass 94% of the nearly 40 million people living in the most populous U.S. state. – Associated Press

Record 1,091 COVID-19 Cases Reported As Officials Urge Caution Over Thanksgiving

- 5:36 p.m., Friday Nov. 20, 2020

San Diego County public health officials reported a record-high 1,091 new COVID-19 infections and eight deaths Friday, raising the region's totals to 69,231 cases and 960 deaths.

Four women and four men died between Nov. 1 and Nov. 19. Their ages ranged from early 50s to early 90s. All had underlying medical conditions.

Friday was the 10th consecutive day more than 600 new coronavirus cases were reported by the county, and the most reported in a single day. On Sunday, 1,087 cases were recorded, 922 were reported Wednesday and 899 on Thursday.

"The virus is widespread and every element of our community is impacted," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "Now more than ever it is vital that San Diegans avoid gatherings and crowds, wear a face covering when they are out in public and stay home if they are sick."

The last seven days have marked the highest daily case counts in San Diego County since the start of the pandemic, with 736 cases reported on Saturday, 833 on Monday and 718 on Tuesday.

On Nov. 11, a then-record 661 cases were reported — surpassing the 652 cases reported Aug. 7. Another 620 cases were reported Nov. 12.

A total of 34,021 tests — a new record — were reported Friday and 3% of those came back positive, dropping the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 4.7%

The number of COVID-19 cases in the hospital continues to rise, with 440 currently hospitalized in the county and 127 in intensive care — nearly double the numbers a month ago.

Wooten said anyone hosting a gathering should keep it small, short and safe.

"Small" meaning gatherings should be limited to a maximum of three stable households. "Short" meaning the gathering should last two hours or less. And "safe" meaning that people should stay outdoors as much as possible and wear a face covering when they are not eating or drinking.

Of the total number of cases in the county Wednesday, 4,329 — or 6.3% — have required hospitalization and 981 patients — or 1.4% of all cases — had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

Eleven new community outbreaks were confirmed Friday, three in business settings, three in faith-based settings, two in childcare settings; one in a TK-12 school setting, one in a restaurant/bar setting and one in a gym setting.

Riverside COVID-19 Deaths Hit 1,400 Mark

– 5:12 p.m., Friday, Nov. 20, 2020

The number of coronavirus cases in Riverside County increased by 433, with a slight elevation in virus-related hospitalizations and deaths reported Friday.

The aggregate number of infections recorded countywide since the public health documentation period began in early March was at 78,442 on Friday, compared to 78,009 on Thursday, according to the Riverside University Health System.

Officials said the number of deaths stemming from complications related to COVID-19 stands at 1,400, on Friday, up four from a day earlier.

The number of COVID-positive hospitalizations was at 375 on Friday, compared to 362 on Thursday, including 99 intensive care unit patients, 14 more than the day before, RUHS figures showed.

County Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton said during Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting that the rise in COVID-19 caseloads has not overwhelmed area hospitals, which continue to operate with excess bed capacity.

"The good news is, there has been a lot of surge planning," Barton said. "This is familiar territory for the hospitals. They have processes and procedures in place."

He said individuals with a critical medical need of any kind should not hesitate to visit medical facilities, because they "are still safe" thanks to triaging that separates potentially contagious people from those who aren't.

The county's peak in hospitalizations occurred in mid-July, when nearly 600 COVID-positive patients were under general or intensive care.

The number of known active virus cases countywide was at 11,429 on Friday, an increase of 243 compared to Thursday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 78,442 — according to the county Executive Office. The number of verified patient recoveries is 65,613. — City News Service

Judge Hears Case On Whether San Diego Restaurants And Gyms Can Operate Indoor Amid Virus Surge

– 1:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 20, 2020

The lawsuit was filed by four local businesses vs the state of California and San Diego County over coronavirus restrictions that have led to another shutdown of nonessential businesses' indoor operations.

WATCH: Judge Hears Case On Whether San Diego Restaurants And Gyms Can Operate Indoors Amid Virus Surge

Health Care Systems, Community, To Be Involved In San Diego County Vaccine Rollout

– 5:40 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020

San Diego County is tapping health care professionals and community leaders to help with the rollout of an eventual COVID-19 vaccine.

Local officials are discussing multiple scenarios as COVID-19 candidates inch closer to regulatory review for possible emergency use authorization.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said during an unscheduled news briefing Thursday that planning includes both distribution and communication strategies.

“Brainstorming possible logistical arrangements — storage facilities, other types of things we could need — planning out a robust communications strategy to engage with the public when appropriate about who is eligible, where they could go and how that might work,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher said a county clinical advisory group composed of health care providers and medical system representatives will begin meeting after Thanksgiving. The supervisor said the county is also developing community working groups.

“To make sure we’re working with community stakeholders and leaders from throughout San Diego County to make sure that there is sharing of information in a very transparent way around what is happening and what is available,” Fletcher said. — Tarryn Mento, KPBS health reporter

San Diego Sheriff Steps Up COVID-19 Compliance Enforcement

– 4:30 p.m., Nov. 19, 2020

San Diego County officials announced Thursday that law enforcement will step up COVID-19 compliance protocols, including education and citations, amid spiking coronavirus cases.

Sheriff Bill Gore said four two-deputy teams will begin making "a full-time commitment" of the county's 18 cities and unincorporated areas, ensuring compliance with public health orders. Several cities have already confirmed they will send officers to assist deputies in their duties, Gore said.

The county has issued 52 cease-and-desist orders since Monday, including five Wednesday to Flicks in Hillcrest, Grinder Gym in Bay Park, Major's Diner in Pine Valley, RSD Boxing in Spring Valley and Studio Barre in Torrey Highlands. Residents can report egregious violations of the health order with the county complaint line at 858-694-2900 or email SafeReopeningComplianceTeam@sdcounty.ca.gov.

Gore said deputies would not be going door-to-door, rather following up on complaints. Education about public health orders will be the first method used, Gore said. Citations could follow.

"The bottom line is, wear those damn masks out there and social distance," he said.

Newsom Issues Limited Curfew To Slow COVID-19 Spread

– 2:20 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced a limited statewide curfew that will go into effect Saturday.

The stay-at-home order prohibits all non-essential work, movement and gatherings between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in counties that are in the purple tier. The order goes into effect at 10 p.m. Saturday and remains in effect until 5 a.m. Dec. 21.

“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm,” Newsom said in a statement. “It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again.”

More than 94% of the state’s population are living in counties that are in the state’s most restrictive tier of the four-tier reopening plan. California’s case rates have increased by roughly 50% during the first week of November.

California Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Ghaly Provides Update State's COVID-19 Response

In San Diego, the county has seen a seventh straight day of more than 600 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

On Monday, Newsom pulled the “emergency brake” on the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. In recent days, the governor has been under hot water for attending a birthday party at a ritzy restaurant in violation of his own public health guidance.

— Alexander Nguyen, KPBS News

San Diego Airport Gives Update On COVID-19 Safety Measure For Travel

– 9:40 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020

The Transportation Security Administration and San Diego International Airport will host a news conference to provide an inside look at some of the procedural changes that have been put in place at security checkpoints due to the spread of COVID-19 before the holiday travel

season.

TSA will demonstrate two types of touchless technologies in use at the airport to decrease touchpoints during the screening process. Airport officials

will showcase the health and safety modifications implemented in the terminals as well as offer holiday travel tips. – City News Service

Vaccine Distribution Planning 'In Progress' In San Diego County

– 4:53 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020

San Diego County is waiting on details from regulators and manufacturers to solidify its plans to distribute a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

San Diego Health and Human Services Agency Spokeswoman Sarah Sweeney said development of a county strategy is ongoing as further specifics hinge on when and which vaccine would be first approved for emergency use.

“Much of the local planning is dependent on decisions still-to-be-made at federal and state level, along with those made by the vaccine manufacturers on the quantity available,” Sweeney said in an email. “Given that reality, local distribution planning is still in progress.”

RELATED: Fauci: Vaccine Results Are 'Important Advance,' But Virus Precautions Are Still Vital

She said local officials are building their approach based on guidelines published in October by the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both documents call on regions to identify and estimate volumes of high-risk populations that may be first in line, such as healthcare workers, people 65 years or older and those living in congregate settings.

“We expand on this plan, including identifying priority groups, as guidance grows and changes,” Sweeney said.

The CDC playbook said critical populations may also include essential workers that could vary based on location.

“Each jurisdiction must decide which groups to focus on when vaccine supply is limited by determining key sectors that may be within their populations (e.g., port-related workers in coastal jurisdictions),” the document said.

However, the document also asks agencies to consider alternative plans if its first phase vaccine supply, which is expected to be limited, wouldn’t cover all populations they identified.

Sweeney added that “large hospitals/health care plans will work separately with the state and federal government” to obtain a vaccine supply. She said that included “pharmacists and other healthcare providers.”

CDC’s potential critical populations

Healthcare personnel (may include vaccinators, pharmacy staff, ancillary staff, school nurses, and EMS personnel)

Other essential workers

Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities

People with underlying medical conditions that are risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness

People 65 years of age and older

People from racial and ethnic minority groups

People from tribal communities

People who are incarcerated/detained in correctional facilities

People experiencing homelessness/living in shelters

People attending colleges/universities

People who work in educational settings (e.g., early learning centers, schools, and colleges/universities)

People living and working in other congregate settings

People living in rural communities

People with disabilities

People who are under- or uninsured

Source: COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations, October, 29, 2020, pg. 15

– Tarryn Mento, KPBS Health Reporter

SD County Reports 922 New COVID-19 Cases, 12 Deaths

– 4:51 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020

San Diego County health officials Wednesday reported 922 newly diagnosed COVID-19 infections and a dozen fatalities, raising the county's cumulative case total to 67,241 and the death toll to 945.

Wednesday was the eighth consecutive day that more than 600 new coronavirus cases were reported by the county and the second-highest single day total reported thus far after Sunday, when 1,087 cases were recorded.

The last five days have marked the highest daily case counts since the start of the pandemic, with 736 cases reported on Saturday, 833 on Monday and 718 on Tuesday.

Last Wednesday, a then-record 661 cases were reported — surpassing the 652 cases reported Aug. 7. Another 620 cases were reported Thursday.

Seven women and five men died between Nov. 5 and Nov. 17, according to county health officials. Their ages ranged from late 50s to mid-90s. All had underlying medical conditions.

A total of 14,306 tests were reported Wednesday and 6% of those came back positive, raising the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 4.7%

Of the total number of cases in the county, 4,274 — or 6.4% — have required hospitalization and 971 patients — or 1.4% of all cases — had to be admitted to an intensive care unit. – City News Service

SDSU Pauses In-Person Instruction For Fall Semester

– 12:22 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020

San Diego State University will pause the majority of its in-person instruction for the rest of the fall semester beginning Thanksgiving week, the university announced Tuesday.

In a statement, SDSU President Adela de la Torre and Provost Salvador Hector Ochoa said the university is encouraging faculty to convert to remote learning by Nov. 20, but must do by Nov. 25.

“While COVID-19 cases connected with our SDSU community have been quite low for the last two months, the case rate of San Diego County and our state poses a risk to our community,” the statement said.

SDSU experienced a COVID-19 outbreak at the beginning of the school year, which resulted in 1,433 reported cases connected with the university. On Monday, the university reported two students on campus contracted coronavirus. One was taking classes at the Music building and one was a student worker at the Aztec Aquaplex. The two cases are isolated and not connected to other campus-related cases, the school said.

Exceptions to SDSU’s new rules are off-campus teaching activities at non-SDSU institutions, including hospitals and clinics, and graduate students working on “approved, critical research projects.”

In addition, on-campus residents must share their post-Thanksgiving housing plans no later than Nov. 20. – Lara McCaffrey, KPBS web producer

Riverside County Supervisor Questions 'Surge' Data As COVID-19 Numbers Climb

– 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 17, 202

Like the rest of the state, Riverside County's coronavirus infection rate is rising, but health officials said Tuesday area hospitals are prepared for what appears to be a second-wave surge in cases — while one county supervisor continued questioning the reliability of COVID-19 data.

"We are surpassing our previous statewide surge (in July)," county Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari said. "It's consistent with what's happening in the nation."

She said the county now has a state-adjusted new case rate of 22.4 per 100,000 residents and an overall state-calculated positivity rate of 8.9%, up from 6.7%.

On the brighter side, however, the county's testing level is at 282.1 per 100,000. The revised state threshold for large counties is 272 per 100,000, according to Saruwatari.

Supervisor Karen Spiegel expressed disappointment about the general rise in COVID-positive cases but also worried about the reliability of the data.

"I know the numbers are going up, but there is a question about some of the testing, with false-positives and that whole nightmare," Spiegel said.

She pointed to social media chatter, including a Twitter post last week by SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who wrote, "Something bogus is going on. Was tested for COVID four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive."

Musk specified in his post, however, that all four tests were rapid antigen tests, which experts have long described as yielding less accurate — although faster — results than the more standard PCR tests. — City News Service

San Diego County Supervisors OK Additional $2M For COVID-19 Income Relief

–2:17 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020

San Diego County Supervisors voted 3-1 Tuesday to allocate an additional $2 million for an income replacement program for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Supervisor Jim Desmond voted no, while Kristin Gaspar abstained although she attended the meeting held telephonically.

On Aug. 25, the board approved a $6.5 billion operating budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year that included $2 million for those who tested positive for the coronavirus, allowing them to stay home. Each recipient would receive a one-time amount of $1,000, according to a county staff report.

The amount approved Tuesday adds another $2 million to the program.

The board voted after an update on county efforts in response to the pandemic. Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer, told the board that with over nearly 1,100 cases reported on Sunday alone, the county had "passed a sobering threshold."

However, with the recent announcement of two promising coronavirus vaccines, "we can see light at the end of the tunnel," she added. Wooten urged all residents to do their part in stopping the spread, including social distancing, wearing masks, washing their hands, avoiding crowded areas and staying home if they are sick.

Supervisors also heard from numerous business owners and residents, nearly all of them strongly opposed to restrictions associated with the county's recent demotion to the most restrictive purple tier of California's four-tier COVID-19 reopening plan. Associated restrictions took effect just after midnight Saturday. — City News Service

San Diego County Serves Cease-And-Desist Letters To Businesses Not Following COVID-19 Rules

–11:37 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020

San Diego County has seen surging coronavirus cases, leading the county to enter the state's most restrictive "purple tier" for reopening. This has required businesses like restaurants, gyms and houses of worship to switch back to operating outdoors only.

Despite this, the county has acknowledged that there are businesses flouting the latest restrictions. As a result, county officials have issued cease-and-desist letters — the first step toward legally cracking down on a business's public health order violation — to 17 entities.

San Dego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the county's ability to restrain violators depended on cooperation from local law enforcement agencies. El Cajon, he said, had "proudly proclaimed that they will not enforce any public health orders or hold anyone accountable for egregious or blatant violations." – KPBS Staff

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Rise Over Weekend In Riverside County

– 6:17 p.m., Monday, Nov. 16, 2020

The number of coronavirus infections confirmed in Riverside County increased by 1,668 over the weekend, with seven additional deaths stemming from virus complications, amid a general statewide upswing in COVID cases that prompted the governor Monday to announce a tightening of economic restrictions.

"California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet -- faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer," Gov. Gavin Newsom said. "The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes."

He said he has applied an "emergency brake" on the color-coded Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which entails a four-stage tier structure to lower the regulatory bar and allow economic sectors to reopen.

The county is already in the lowest tier, "purple," impacting offices, gyms, restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship.

The Board of Supervisors will discuss the governor's action during its meeting Tuesday. — City News Service

WATCH: San Diego Businesses Hold Rally Downtown Against New COVID-19 Restrictions

– 3:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 16, 2020

Supervisor Jim Desmond holds a rally outside of the County Administration Building to urge the Board of Supervisors and Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow San Diego County businesses to remain open despite the state-mandated restrictions brought on by the purple tier.

Businesses Call To Save San Diego In Light Of The Governor’s 'Purple Tier' Shutdowns

San Diego Reports 6th Consecutive Day Of 600-Plus New Coronavirus Cases

– 2 38 p.m., Monday, Nov. 16, 2020

San Diego County health officials reported another huge jump in COVID-19 cases — 833 — but no additional deaths Monday, bringing the county's total to 65,501 cases, with the death toll remaining at 926.

Monday was the sixth consecutive day that more than 600 new coronavirus cases were reported by the county. The 833 cases reported Monday are the second most the county has announced in a single day during the pandemic, following a record high of 1,087 reported Sunday and a then-record 736 Saturday.

On Wednesday, a then-record 661 cases were reported in the county — surpassing the 652 cases reported Aug. 7. Another 620 cases were reported Thursday.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department announced Monday that 55 of 70 inmates in the 1C module of the George Bailey Detention Facility had tested positive for COVID-19.

County To Give Update On COVID-19

Newsom Pulls 'Emergency Brake' On State's Reopening Plan As Virus Cases Surge

– 2 p.m., Monday, Nov. 16, 2020

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he was pulling the “emergency brake” Monday on the state's efforts to reopen its economy as coronavirus cases surge more dramatically than they did during a summer spike.

“We are sounding the alarm,” Newsom said in a statement. “California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet — faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes."

The action that Newsom called the “emergency brake in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy” will impose more restrictions on businesses across most of the state. He said masks would now be required outside homes with limited exceptions.

The troubling rise in cases in November has come at a faster pace than a spike in mid-June and could quickly surpass the peak of the hospitalizations at the time, health officials have said. The state became the second in the U.S. last week to surpass 1 million case of the virus as the U.S. has now recorded more than 11 million cases.

The new rules are certain to rankle business owners such as restaurateurs and gym owners who have been struggling to get back on their feet after lengthy shutdowns followed by reopenings that have at times been curtailed as cases have risen. — Associated Press

SD County Reports Record Of 1,087 New COVID-19 Cases

– 5:36 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020

San Diego County health officials have reported a huge jump in COVID-19 cases — a record 1,087 — and no additional deaths, bringing the county's totals to 64,768 cases and the death toll remaining at 926.

Sunday was the fifth-consecutive day that more than 600 new coronavirus cases were reported by the county.

On Saturday, the county set a record of 736 new cases. On Wednesday, a record 661 cases were reported in the county — surpassing the 652 cases reported Aug. 7. Another 620 cases were reported Thursday.

"We have not seen cases this high in months, and it's a clear indication that COVID-19 is widespread," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer.– City News Service

SD County Reports Record 736 New COVID-19 Cases, Five More Deaths

– 5:36 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020

San Diego County health officials have reported a record 736 new COVID-19 cases Saturday and five more deaths as nonessential businesses moved to outdoor-only when the county went from the red to the purple tier of the state's four-tiered coronavirus reopening plan.

The data increases the total caseload since the start of the pandemic to 63,681, with the death toll rising to 926. This is the fourth consecutive day that more than 600 new coronavirus cases were reported by the county.

On Wednesday, a record 661 COVID-19 cases were reported in the county — surpassing the 652 cases reported Aug. 7. Another 620 cases were reported Thursday.

"We have not seen cases this high in months, and it's a clear indication that COVID-19 is widespread," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer.

"These totals also show people are not following the public health recommendations that we know work to prevent getting and passing COVID-19."

Wooten added that in the weeks following Halloween, this record case jump is a warning sign people "need to follow public health guidance throughout the upcoming holiday season."

This comes as state data has landed the county in the most restrictive tier of the state's COVID-19 reopening plan. The restrictions associated with the purple tier went into effect just after midnight Saturday. – City News Service

U.S. Adds 184,000 Coronavirus Cases In 1 Day, With No End In Sight

– 4:01 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020

The U.S. added more than 184,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday, the fourth day in a row that the country has set a record for daily infections, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

It has been about four weeks since the U.S. overtook India to see the most daily cases of any country in the world. While India's case numbers spiked in September, they have largely been on a downward path since then. But cases in the U.S. continue to surge. For the first time, the country's seven-day moving average of new cases has surpassed 150,000.

America is also the world leader in coronavirus fatalities, with over 244,000 COVID-19 related deaths. More than 1,400 people died from the virus in the U.S. on Friday — the most deaths that day of any country.

For the moment, daily deaths are below the peak of around 2,200 daily fatalities the U.S. saw in April. But deaths are known to lag behind rising infection rates, as it often takes several weeks for the virus to become fatal. – Matthew S. Schwartz, NPR

San Diego Has Third Straight Day Of 600-Plus New COVID-19 Cases

– 5:35 p.m, Friday, Nov. 13, 2020

San Diego County health officials reported an additional 611 COVID-19 cases and three more deaths Friday as nonessential businesses prepare for another closure at midnight as the county prepares to enter the purple tier of the state's four-tiered coronavirus reopening plan.

The data increases the total caseload since the start of the pandemic to 62,945, with the death toll rising to 921. This is the third consecutive day that more than 600 new coronavirus cases were reported by the county.

On Wednesday, a record 661 COVID-19 cases were reported in the county — surpassing the 652 cases reported Aug. 7. Another 620 cases were reported Thursday.

"We have not seen cases this high in months, and it's a clear indication that COVID-19 is widespread," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer.

"These totals also show people are not following the public health recommendations that we know work to prevent getting and passing COVID-19."

Wooten added that in the weeks following Halloween, this record case jump is a warning sign people "need to follow public health guidance throughout the upcoming holiday season." — City News Service

Local Restaurants, Gyms, Sue County And State Over COVID-19 Shutdowns

– 3:21 p.m., Friday, Nov. 13, 2020

Four local restaurants and gyms are suing the state and county over its coronavirus restrictions as a shutdown of indoor operations looms for many county businesses.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in San Diego Superior Court on behalf of Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop, Home & Away Encinitas, Fit Athletic Club and Bear Republic.

The suit comes as San Diego County is slated to shut down indoor operations for nonessential businesses at midnight due to its recent entry into the most restrictive, purple tier of the state's coronavirus reopening plan.

The businesses allege that San Diego's increased case numbers are not a result of exposures at restaurants, gyms and other types of businesses that will be impacted by the impending closures. The lawsuit cites recent figures indicating restaurants/bars, retail businesses, places of worship, schools and gyms make up a small percentage of confirmed community outbreaks. – City News Service

Newsom Says He Should Not Have Attended Dinner Party

3:15 p.m., Friday, Nov. 13, 2020

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says he should not have attended a birthday dinner for a dozen people at the posh French Laundry restaurant last week, saying that he should have set a better example for a virus-fatigued state that is seeing steep increases in coronavirus cases.

Newsom, who has pleaded with residents to avoid social gatherings that mix households, said in a statement Friday that “while our family followed the restaurant’s health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday of the Nov. 6 dinner to celebrate the 50th birthday of Newsom's longtime friend and political adviser Jason Kinney. The outdoor dinner at The French Laundry in Yountville in Napa County brought together 12 people, including the governor and his wife.

State guidelines limit gatherings, defined as “social situations that bring together people from different households at the same time in a single space or place,” to no more than three households. It's unclear if the rule applies to restaurants, however, which follow different guidance.

The California Republican Party said in a tweet that the governor “seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth.“ — Associated Press

WATCH: California Health And Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly Gives Update On COVID-19 In California

– 12:00 p.m., Friday, Nov. 13, 2020

California, Oregon, Washington Issue Virus Travel Advisories

– 11:45 a.m., Friday, Nov. 13, 2020

The governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued travel advisories Friday urging people entering their states or returning from outside the states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the coronavirus, California Gov. Gavin Newsom's office said.

The advisories urge people to avoid non-essential out-of-state travel, ask people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country and encourage residents to stay local, a statement said.

“California just surpassed a sobering threshold – one million COVID-19 cases – with no signs of the virus slowing down,” Newsom wrote. “Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians." – Associated Press

SD County Reports Additional 1,281 COVID-19 Cases Over Two-Day Period

– 11:43 a.m., Friday, Nov. 13, 2020

San Diego County health officials have reported an additional 620 COVID-19 cases and three more deaths, increasing the total caseload since the start of the pandemic to 62,334, with the death toll rising to 918.

On Tuesday, a record 661 COVID-19 cases were reported in the county — surpassing the 652 cases reported Aug. 7.

"We have not seen cases this high in months and it's a clear indication that COVID-19 is widespread," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer.

"These totals also show people are not following the public health recommendations that we know work to prevent getting and passing COVID-19."

Wooten added that in the weeks following Halloween, this record case jump is a warning sign people "need to follow public health guidance throughout the upcoming holiday season."

This comes as state data has landed the county in the most restrictive tier of the state's COVID-19 reopening plan. The restrictions associated with the purple tier will go into place just after midnight tonight, Wooten said. – City News Service

Escondido's Pioneer Elementary Suspends On-Campus Activities After 3 COVID-19 Cases

– 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020

All on-campus activities, including in-person classes, at Pioneer Elementary School were suspended after three people tested positive for the coronavirus, the Escondido Union School District (EUSD) announced Thursday.

The district said the cases were separate, unrelated to each other and happened off-campus. The temporary suspension was done out of “an abundance of caution” and will last through Nov. 30.

“We understand that an interruption of on-campus activities causes a huge disruption to our families and staff. But this action is necessary to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community,” EUSD superintendent Luis Rankins-Ibarra said. “The safety and security of our students and staff continue to be at the forefront of all decisions.”

The distribution of free, to-go meals, however, will continue, the district said.

To date, there have been 17 COVID-19 cases at EUSD impacting nine campuses, resulting in 165 students and 33 staffers being quarantined. — Alexander Nguyen, KPBS News

California Surpasses 1 Million Coronavirus Cases Mark

– 4:05 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020

California has become the second state to record 1 million confirmed coronavirus infections. Texas reached the mark earlier this week.

Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed Thursday that California surpassed the grim milestone. It comes nearly 10 months after the first cases were confirmed in the most populous state.

California was the first in the nation to implement a statewide stay-at-home order on its nearly 40 million residents in March.

After spiking in the summer, the rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases in California declined markedly into the fall but now is surging again, like much of the nation. This week, 11 counties had rates high enough that state restrictions were reimposed on certain businesses and activities. — Associated Press

San Diego Courts Not Closing Despite County’s Purple Tier Status

– 1:40 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020

San Diego County's recent dip into the most restrictive tier of the state's coronavirus reopening plan will not lead to additional court closures or changes to local court operations, the San Diego Superior Court announced Thursday.

Rising case rates led the state to place San Diego County into the purple tier of the reopening plan, meaning indoor operations will cease at many nonessential businesses starting Saturday.

While court operations were initially put on hold at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, court officials said its essential status will not lead to further modifications even with this latest development. Precautions such as temperature screenings, increased cleaning, social distancing and facial covering requirements remain in place. – City News Service

SD County Will Enter Purple Tier On Saturday

– 1:01 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020

State data has landed San Diego County in the most restrictive tier of the state's COVID-19 reopening plan, meaning nonessential businesses now have one day to prepare for the regression.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer, said the restrictions associated with the purple tier will go into place just after midnight Friday.

Many nonessential businesses will be required to move to outdoor-only operations. These include restaurants, family entertainment centers, wineries, places of worship, movie theaters, museums, gyms, zoos, aquariums and cardrooms. Amusement parks, and live audience sporting events are closed. Bars, breweries and distilleries will be able to remain open as long as they are able to operate outside and with food on the same ticket as alcohol.

Retail businesses and shopping centers will be able to remain open with 25% of the building's capacity. No food courts will be permitted.

Schools will be able to remain open for in-person learning if they are already in session. If a district has not reopened for in-person learning, it must remain remote only. Offices are restricted to remote work only.

Remaining open are essential services, personal care services, barbershops, hair salons, outdoor playgrounds and recreational facilities. – City News Service

COVID-19 Testing Center Opens In Vista To Get Kids Back In School

– 6:10 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020

A new COVID-19 testing center opened Wednesday in Vista at the Linda Rhodes Recreation Center in an effort to combat the spread of the virus. The opening of the new site is a collaborative effort from the County, City and school district, aimed at supporting the school reopening plan.

Vista Unified school district said in a statement that they “remain committed to working in collaboration with the community to find solutions and pathways for students to return to on-campus, in-person learning.”

The free testing center will be open to the public seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m starting Wednesday. No appointment is needed. Linda Rhoades Recreation Center is located at 600 North Santa Fe Avenue in Vista. Anyone 6 months and older can get tested. – Tania Thorne, KPBS North County Reporter

San Diego Gyms Prepare To Operate Outdoors Under Purple Tier

– 6:08 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020

Gyms, restaurants, churches and movie theatres will have to stop indoor operations by Saturday, due to a rising number of coronavirus cases San Diego county

"It hasn’t been easy — but in order to thrive you have to adapt," said Point Loma Sports Club general manager Bryan Welch.

Point Loma Sports Club has more than 20,000 square feet of indoor exercise space that will sit dormant for at least the next three weeks. The club is moving all operations to their parking lot where more than 120,000 pounds of equipment is set up.

"Our mindset was let's just assume we’re outside for a year," Welch said.

The sports club has moved group classes outdoors too.

"We require masks basically throughout the facility even outdoors, and we’ve preached that mantra, like, 'I’m not doing it just for me I’m doing it for you and for your family,'" Welch said. – Matt Hoffman, KPBS General Assignment Reporter

San Diego County Enters Purple Tier As COVID-19 Cases Increase

– 12:01 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020

As expected, San Diego County fell back to the most restrictive purple tier of state's coronavirus tracking system Tuesday, meaning indoor restaurants will have to move to outdoor service only, retail businesses will have to further limit capacity and schools will be unable to shift to in- person learning.

The county's demotion from the less-restrictive red tier is the result of two weeks of case rates that exceeded the threshold of 7 per 100,000 residents. In recent weeks, the region had an unadjusted rate well above the purple tier guidelines, but a significant effort to increase the volume of tests had allowed for an adjustment to bring it back to the red, or substantial, tier. Testing has decreased slightly and case numbers are on the rise.

State officials reported Tuesday that San Diego County had an unadjusted new daily coronavirus case rate of 10.0 per 100,000. The adjusted case rate dropped to 8.9 per 100,000. Last week's unadjusted case rate was 8.7 per 100,000.

Indoor operations in locations such as restaurants, museums, places of worship, breweries and retail businesses will have to either close entirely, move to outdoor operations only or modify in other ways.

– City News Service

San Diego County Reports 401 New COVID-19 Cases As It Braces For State Announcement

– 9:07 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020

San Diego County health officials have reported 401 new COVID-19 infections, raising the region's total to 60,570 cases as health officials await data from the state today which could send the county into the most restrictive "purple" tier of its four-tiered reopening plan.

State officials reported Wednesday that San Diego County had an unadjusted new daily coronavirus case rate of 8.7 per 100,000. The adjusted case rate dropped to 7.4 per 100,000, above the baseline of 7, qualifying the state for the purple tier. Last week's unadjusted case rate was 7.8 per 100,000.

In recent weeks, the region had an unadjusted rate well above the purple tier guidelines, but a significant effort to increase the volume of tests had allowed for an adjustment to bring it back to the red, or substantial, tier. Testing has decreased slightly and case numbers are on the rise. It is likely the county will officially enter the purple tier this afternoon.

The state data reflect the previous week's case data to determine where counties stand.

According to the reopening plan, a county has to report data exceeding a more restrictive tier's guidelines for two consecutive weeks before being moved to that tier. A county then has to be in that tier for a minimum of three weeks before it may move to a less restrictive tier.

San Diego County has been in the red tier for months, skirting but ultimately avoiding the purple tier, which would necessitate the closure of almost all indoor operations of nonessential businesses.

If the county cannot drop its adjusted daily case rate below 7 per 100,000, indoor operations in locations such as restaurants, museums, places of worship, breweries and retail businesses will have to either close entirely, move to outdoor operations only or modify in other ways. — City News Service

SD County Reports 513 New COVID-19 Cases, No New Deaths

San Diego County reported 513 new COVID-19 infections and no new deaths Sunday, raising the region's total to 60,169 cases with the death toll remaining at 908.

Local officials will find out Tuesday whether the county will sink into the most restrictive purple tier of the state's four-tiered COVID-19 reopening plan.

State officials reported Wednesday that San Diego County had an unadjusted new daily coronavirus case rate of 8.7 per 100,000. The adjusted case rate had dropped to 7.4 per 100,000, above the baseline of 7, qualifying the state for the purple tier. Last week's unadjusted case rate was 7.8 per 100,000.

The state's health equity metric, which looks at the testing positivity for areas with the least healthy conditions, increased from 5.1% to 5.3% and entered the red tier. This metric does not move counties backward to more restrictive tiers, but is required to advance.

– 4:56 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020

SD County Reports 540 New COVID-19 Cases, 1 Death

– 5:03 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020

San Diego County public health officials have reported 540 new COVID-19 infections and one new death related to the illness, raising the region's total to 59,656 cases and 908 deaths as the county continues to await news on whether it will sink into the dreaded purple tier of the state's four-tiered COVID-19 reopening plan.

State officials reported Wednesday that San Diego County had an unadjusted new daily coronavirus case rate of 8.7 per 100,000. The adjusted case rate had dropped to 7.4 per 100,000, above the baseline of 7, qualifying the state for the purple, or most restrictive tier of the reopening plan. Last week's unadjusted case rate was 7.8 per 100,000.

According to the reopening plan, a county has to report data exceeding a more restrictive tier's guidelines for two consecutive weeks before being moved to that more restrictive tier. A county then has to be in that tier for a minimum of three weeks before it may move to a less restrictive tier.

San Diego County has been in the red tier for months, skirting but ultimately avoiding the purple tier, which would necessitate the closure of almost all indoor operations of nonessential businesses. Recent trends have shown a slow but steady increase in infection numbers. – City News Service

SD County Reports 480 New COVID-19 Cases, 3 Deaths

– 4:55 p.m., Friday, Nov. 6, 2020

San Diego County public health officials reported 480 new COVID-19 infections and three new deaths related to the illness Friday, raising the region's total to 59,116 cases and 907 deaths as the county continues to await news Tuesday on whether it will sink into the dreaded purple tier of the state's four-tiered COVID-19 reopening plan.

Two men and one woman died between Nov. 3 and Nov. 4. Their ages ranged from early 70s to early 90s. All had underlying medical conditions.

State officials reported Wednesday that San Diego County had an unadjusted new daily coronavirus case rate of 8.7 per 100,000. The adjusted case rate had dropped to 7.4 per 100,000, above the baseline of 7, qualifying the state for the purple, or most restrictive tier of the reopening plan. Last week's unadjusted case rate was 7.8 per 100,000.

According to the reopening plan, a county has to report data exceeding a more restrictive tier's guidelines for two consecutive weeks before being moved to that more restrictive tier. A county then has to be in that tier for a minimum of three weeks before it may move to a less restrictive tier.

San Diego County has been in the red tier for months, skirting but ultimately avoiding the purple tier, which would necessitate the closure of almost all indoor operations of nonessential businesses. Recent trends have shown a slow but steady increase in infection numbers.

If the county cannot drop its adjusted daily case rate below 7 per 100,000, indoor operations in locations such as restaurants, museums, places of worship, breweries and retail businesses will have to either close entirely, move to outdoor operations only or modify in other ways. — City News Service

County Health Officials Urge Public To Continue Routine Medical, Dental Care

– 4:50 p.m., Friday, Nov. 6, 2020

The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency urged San Diegans Friday to not delay routine medical and dental care amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Physicians and dentists across the county are reporting that fewer patients are scheduling annual medical and routine preventive dental visits, county officials said. County health officials are concerned about this trend delaying necessary care, causing more severe health issues in the future.

"Regular visits to your primary care physician and dentist are essential self-care activities that can prevent painful procedures and costly medical bills down the line," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "Detecting and treating chronic conditions is especially important during this pandemic because people with underlying conditions are at a higher risk of poor outcomes of COVID-19."

At the beginning of the pandemic, health officials urged the public to seek care only for urgent and emergency procedures due to a desire to conserve personal protective equipment for medical providers in hospitals and because of concerns about possible transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Since then, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association have developed science-based recommendations for enhanced infection control procedures for medical and dental offices. — City News Service

530 New COVID-19 Cases Reported As County Teeters On Sliding Into Purple Tier

– 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020

San Diego County public health officials reported 530 new COVID-19 infections Thursday, raising the region's total to 58,636 cases. The county is currently awaiting news on whether it will sink into the dreaded purple tier of the state's four-tiered COVID-19 reopening plan by Tuesday.

No new deaths were reported. The total fatalities related to the illness in the county remains at 904.

State officials reported Wednesday that San Diego County had an unadjusted new daily coronavirus case rate of 8.7 per 100,000. The adjusted case rate dropped to 7.4 per 100,000, above the baseline of 7, qualifying the state for the purple, or most restrictive tier of the reopening plan. Last week's unadjusted case rate was 7.8 per 100,000.

"It would take a significant change in trajectory," Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said Wednesday of avoiding purple.

According to the reopening plan, a county has to report data exceeding a more restrictive tier's guidelines for two consecutive weeks before being moved to that more restrictive tier. A county then has to be in that tier for a minimum of three weeks before it may move to a less restrictive tier.

San Diego County has been in the red tier for months, skirting but ultimately avoiding the purple tier, which would necessitate the closure of almost all indoor operations of nonessential businesses. Recent trends have shown a slow but steady increase in infection numbers. — City News Service

San Diego County Officials Give Update On Coronavirus Pandemic

– 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020

WATCH LIVE: San Diego County Officials Give Update On Coronavirus Pandemic

San Diego County Moves Toward Dreaded ‘Purple’ Tier Of COVID-19 System

– 1:13 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020

San Diego County took its first step into the dreaded "purple" tier of the state's four-tiered COVID-19 reopening plan Wednesday, leaving just one week to determine if the county will be forced to shutter nearly all of its nonessential indoor businesses.

State officials reported that San Diego County had an unadjusted new daily coronavirus case rate of 8.7 per 100,000. The adjusted case rate dropped to 7.4 per 100,000, above the baseline of 7 which makes up the floor for the purple, or most restrictive tier of the reopening plan. Last week's unadjusted case rate was 7.8 per 100,000.

In recent weeks, the region had an unadjusted rate well above the purple tier guidelines, but a significant effort to increase the volume of tests had allowed for an adjustment to bring it back to the red, or substantial, tier.

According to the reopening plan, a county has to report data exceeding a more restrictive tier's guidelines for two consecutive weeks before being moved to that more restrictive tier. A county then has to be in that tier for a minimum of three weeks before it may move up a rung to a less restrictive tier. – City News Service

San Diego County Reports 293 New COVID-19 Cases, 10 Deaths

– 6:35 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020

San Diego County public health officials reported 293 new COVID-19 cases and 10 new deaths Tuesday, raising the region's case total to 57,702.

The 10 deaths occurred between Oct. 6 and Nov. 2, according to county health officials, bringing the region's death total to 901. The victims were six men and four women, whose ages ranged from late 40s to late 80s. All but one had underlying medical conditions, according to the county.

Of the 8,200 tests reported Tuesday, 4% returned positive, bringing the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 3%.

Of the total number of cases in the county, 3,968 -- or 6.9% -- have required hospitalization and 918 patients -- or 1.6% of all cases -- had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

Five new community outbreaks were also confirmed Monday, two in business settings, two in restaurant/bar settings, and one in a health care setting. Over the previous seven days, 31 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.

The county last week avoided returning to the state's purple tier -- the most restrictive -- and remains in the less restrictive red tier of the state's four-tiered coronavirus monitoring system. The usual Tuesday update on the state's four-tier reopening plan has been rescheduled to Wednesday this week due to the election, according to county officials. — City News Service

Escondido’s Mission Middle School Closes For 2 Weeks After 3 Cases Of COVID-19

– 6:45 p.m., Monday, Nov. 2, 2020

After three positive COVID-19 cases at Mission Middle School in Escondido, the district will suspend in-person learning for the next two weeks.

Escondido Unified made the announcement Monday. This follows Vista Unified’s decision to pivot three more schools to online learning after a coronavirus outbreak there.

In a statement posted to its website, Escondido Unified said county public health officials were aware of the positive cases but the county did not direct the district to close the school.

“This decision was made to ensure the stability of the educational program offered to our students, as well as to continue our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our students and employees,” the district said in the statement.

On-campus instruction will resume Nov. 17, the district said. — Alexander Nguyen, KPBS News

San Diego County Reports 307 New COVID-19 Cases

– 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 2, 2020

San Diego County public health officials Monday reported 307 new COVID-19 cases, raising the region's case total to 57,409, while the death toll was unchanged at 891.

Of the 10,248 tests reported Monday, 3% returned positive, bringing the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 2.9%.

Of the total number of cases in the county, 3,944 — or 6.9% — have required hospitalization and 914 patients — or 1.6% of all cases -- had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

No new community outbreaks were reported Monday; in the previous seven days, 28 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.

The county last week avoided returning to the state's purple tier, the most restrictive, remaining in the less restrictive red tier of the state's four-tiered coronavirus monitoring system. The usual Tuesday update on the state's four-tier reopening plan has been rescheduled to Wednesday due to the election, according to county officials.

The county's adjusted case rate dropped to 6.5 new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population. — City News Service

Three More Vista Schools Pivot To Virtual Learning Due To COVID-19

– 3:30 p.m., Nov. 2, 2020

The Vista Unified School District has shifted three more schools to online learning, after more COVID-19 cases were reported among students and staff. The change affects Vista High School, Madison Middle School and Roosevelt Middle School.

In an online update posted Friday, the district said 13 students and one staff member have tested positive for COVID-19 since in-person learning resumed on October 20. The district said all cases were contracted outside of the school environment.

In-person classes at these schools are expected to resume at Vista, Madison and Roosevelt schools on November 12. Another school, Mission Vista High School, was shifted to online learning on October 29 and is expected to return to online learning on Nov. 9. — KPBS Staff

SD County Reports 352 New COVID-19 Cases

– 4:52 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020

San Diego County public health officials have reported 352 new COVID-19 cases and no new fatalities, raising the region's total to 57,102 cases with deaths remaining at 891.

Of the 12,879 tests reported Saturday, 3% returned positive with 239 people hospitalized.

The county avoided the state's purple tier, the most restrictive, for yet another week on Tuesday, remaining in the less restrictive red tier of the state's four-tiered coronavirus monitoring system.

The county's adjusted case rate dropped to 6.5 new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population. – City News Service

SD County Reports 381 New COVID-19 Cases And Three New Deaths

– 10:25 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020

San Diego County public health officials have reported 381 new COVID-19 cases and three new fatalities, raising the region's total to 56,750 cases and 891 deaths.

Of the 12,879 tests reported Saturday, 3% returned positive with 239 people hospitalized. No new community outbreaks were reported.

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.

The county avoided the state's purple tier, the most restrictive, for yet another week on Tuesday, remaining in the less restrictive "red" tier of the state's four- tiered coronavirus monitoring system.

The county's adjusted case rate dropped to 6.5 new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population. – City News Service

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