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Live Blog: San Diego County Reports Additional 959 COVID-19 Cases; Hospitalizations Up

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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San Diego County Reports Additional 959 COVID-19 Cases; Hospitalizations Up

- 6:03 p.m., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020

San Diego County health officials reported 959 new COVID-19 infections Monday amid a surge in hospitalizations that have nearly tripled in a month's time.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported that 692 coronavirus patients were hospitalized as of Monday, with 180 of them being treated in intensive care units, up from 671 reported on Sunday, 636 on Saturday, and 580 last Wednesday and Thursday.

The county crossed 400 hospitalizations on Nov. 17, 500 on Nov. 23 and 600 last Friday.

The number of people with COVID-19 in area hospitals has nearly tripled from one month ago — 239 were hospitalized on Oct. 30.

Of the 82,043 cases logged in the county since the start of the pandemic, 4,635 — or 5.6% — have required hospitalization and 1,019 patients — 1.2% — had to be admitted to an ICU.

The overall number of people hospitalized for any reason in the county has remained around 4,200 for a month, but the percentage of COVID-19 patients in region hospitals rose from 5.5% a month ago to 16% on Monday.

Monday marked the 20th consecutive day that more than 600 new cases have been reported and the 11th day that more than 900 new cases were reported — including two days over the holiday weekend with more than 1,800 new infections.

The death toll remained unchanged Monday at 997. — City News Service

Riverside County Reports Record Number Of COVID-19 Hospitalizations

– 5:45 p.m., Nov. 30, 2020

Riverside County Monday reported a record number of coronavirus patients being treated in area hospitals.

The addition of 87 new patients over the weekend brought the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations countywide to 585, up from 498 on Friday, according to the Riverside University Health System. That number includes 129 patients being treated in intensive care units — up 14 from Friday.

The previous record high of 550 hospitalizations was set in July, according to RUHS data.

With 2,126 additional cases reported Monday — the agency does not release updated figures on weekends — the aggregate number of infections recorded countywide since the public health documentation period began in early March is 84,412, compared to 82,286 on Friday.

Health officials also reported five additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 1,442.

The number of known active virus cases countywide was 15,665, an increase of 1,518 from Friday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 84,412 — according to the county Executive Office. The number of verified patient recoveries is 67,305.

Tighter LA County Restrictions Begin Amid Virus Surge, Prompting Pushback

– 5:40 p.m., Monday, Nov. 30, 200

Citing soaring COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Los Angeles County imposed tightened health restrictions Monday, including a ban on most gatherings and strict capacity limits on most businesses, while forcing closures of playgrounds and card rooms.

But the restrictions were met with pushback from some residents, business owners and elected officials — including the Lancaster City Council, which will hold a special meeting this week to consider a "no-confidence" vote in county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer and discuss creating a municipal health department.

A handful of residents even staged a protest outside Ferrer's Echo Park home on Sunday, challenging the need for strict health orders.

Ferrer, however, pointed to continued alarming numbers of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations as necessitating the new restrictions, saying the virus "is running rampant through almost every part of our county."

"Contrary to the sentiments expressed by some, many of these cases could have been prevented if individuals and businesses were following the straightforward public health measures of masking, distancing and infection control," she said. "As we're all seeing, when even relatively small numbers of businesses and individuals fail to adhere to sensible precautions, many others experience the consequences of these lapses.

"We are at the most difficult moment of the pandemic. But we're aware there are many that are tired of repeated requests to sacrifice and others that are unhappy and frustrated with the latest safety modifications, particularly those modifications that have had a detrimental impact on businesses and their employees. We don't really have any choice but to use all the tools at hand to stop the surge. Until there's a vaccine, each of us needs to protect all of those around us."

The new "Health Officer Order" that took effect Monday bars all public and private gatherings with people of multiple households, except for constitutionally protected outdoor church services and protests. It also sets occupancy limits at various businesses, while also mandating face coverings and six feet of physical distancing. — City News Service

Newsom: Sweeping Stay-At-Home Order Possible Across State Amid Virus Surge

– 2:18 p.m., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020

With coronavirus cases surging statewide and hospital beds expected to fill rapidly, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday a more sweeping stay-at-home order could soon be imposed in the vast majority of California in hopes of preventing the health care system from being overrun.

Newsom said nine more of the state's 58 counties have been moved into the most restrictive "purple" tier of the state's COVID-19 monitoring system, meaning 51 counties are now in that tier. And those counties would be the ones likely subjected to a stay-at-home order reminiscent of the restrictions that were imposed at the onset of the pandemic, he said. All of Southern California is in the "purple" tier.

He said those actions include "the potential for a stay-at-home order for those regions in purple."

Newsom noted that all hospitals have the ability to increase bed capacity, and the state has 11 surge facilities planned statewide that can add nearly 1,900 beds. But providing staffing for all of those beds could be an issue, he said.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state's Health and Human Services Secretary, noted that since hospital numbers tend to rise about two weeks later than cases are confirmed, the impact of the infection surge over the past two weeks has not even begun to impact the already elevated hospitalization numbers.

Ghaly said everything is on the table in terms of confronting the surge, including the possible stay-at-home order. — City News Service

Gov. Newsom Announces Economic Relief For Businesses Affected By COVID-19

– 2:03 p.m., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday the state will be providing millions of dollars in immediate, temporary tax relief to help businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new assistance includes:

– automatic three-month extension for taxpayers filing less than $1 million in sales tax

– interest-free payment agreements to larger companies with up to $5 million in sales tax

– expanded interest-free payment options for larger businesses particularly affected by significant restrictions on operations based on COVID-19 transmissions

– $500 million in new COVID-19 Relief Grant funding for small businesses.

– an additional $12.5 million added to the California Rebuilding Fund

The total tax relief, if fully utilized, is estimated to have billions in impact, the governor's office said.

– KPBS Staff

California Sees Record Number Of COVID-19 Hospitalizations

-2:21 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020

California broke a record Sunday with more than 7,400 coronavirus hospitalizations as counties statewide prepared for stricter COVID-19 restrictions to take effect amid surging cases and Thanksgiving travel.

Health officials are preparing for a wave of cases in the next two or three weeks that could be tied to Thanksgiving gatherings. Authorities had urged residents to stay home and keep their interactions with others limited, yet millions nationwide defied that advice.

As of Sunday, California has had nearly 1.2 million confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. The state reported around 15,600 new cases on Saturday. There have been 19,121 virus-related deaths in California during the pandemic.

The state reported 7,415 coronavirus hospitalizations on Sunday, citing the most recently available data from the previous day. More than 1,700 of those patients are in intensive care units. The new total hospitalizations breaks the state's previous record of 7,170 in July.

The figures are expected to rise in the coming days as similar trends are echoed nationally. - Associated Press

San Diego County Notifies Public About COVID-19 Outbreak Location

-10:00 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020

San Diego County public health officials announced Saturday that a COVID-19 outbreak occurred at Awaken Church in Kearny Mesa. This is the second time the County has publicly identified an outbreak location, the first being San Diego State University.

The County of San Diego Health and Human Services issued a letter to Awaken Church at 7620 Balboa Avenue on Nov. 23, alerting the church of the outbreak.

The County has taken the unusual step of alerting the public because public health officials have “been unable to identify and notify all of those exposed.” They are asking anyone who attended services from Nov. 15 through Nov. 22 to quarantine for two weeks. Officials add that anyone exposed to close contacts of those infected should also get tested. – Kai Taramasco, KPBS web producer

San Diego County Reports Additional 1,859 COVID-19 Cases, One New Death

- 9:27 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020

San Diego County health officials have reported 1,859 new COVID-19 infections, raising the region's total to 80,018 cases, with one additional death for an overall death toll of 997.

Saturday marked the 18th consecutive day that more than 600 new cases were reported.

A total of 21,000 tests were reported Saturday and 8% of those came back positive, bringing the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 5.5%, according to San Diego Public Health Services.

Of the total number of cases in the county, 4,577 — or 5.7% — have required hospitalization and 1,010 patients — or 1.3% of all cases — had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

A total of 18 new community outbreaks were confirmed Saturday, though information about the types of locations where these occurred was not available.

Over the previous seven days, 82 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

San Diego County Reports Additional 1,802 COVID-19 Cases, No New Deaths

- 9:14 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020

San Diego County health officials have reported 1,802 new COVID-19 infections, raising the region's total to 78,159 cases, with no additional deaths.

Friday marked the 17th consecutive day that more than 600 new cases were reported.

The county's death toll remains at 996.

A total of 21,671 tests were reported Friday and 8% of those came back positive, bringing the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 5.5%, according to San Diego Public Health Services.

Of the total number of cases in the county, 4,544 — or 5.8% — have required hospitalization and 1,015 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 Friday, though information regarding what types of locations they occurred in was not available late Friday.

Over the previous seven days, 82 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.

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 people. 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. — City News Service

Riverside County Reports Rise In COVID-19 Hospitalizations And Deaths

– 4:10 p.m., Friday, Nov. 27, 2020

Coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths continued to climb in Riverside County, according to data reported by health officials Friday.

According to the Riverside University Health System, 498 patients infected with coronavirus were hospitalized countywide as of Friday, up from 455 on Wednesday.

County health officials did not update their coronavirus numbers Thursday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The number of patients infected with COVID-19 in intensive care units stands at 115 — down by one since Wednesday.

Another 343 newly confirmed coronavirus cases bring the aggregate number of infections recorded countywide since the public health documentation period began in early March to 82,286, compared to 81,943 on Wednesday.

The three newly reported fatalities bring the county's coronavirus death toll to 1,437.

The number of known active virus cases countywide is 14,147, an increase of 120 compared to Wednesday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 82,286 — according to the county's Executive Office. The number of verified patient recoveries is 66,702. — City News Service

LA County Enacts New Stay-At-Home Order

– 4:05 p.m., Friday, Nov. 27, 2020

Los Angeles County health officials have reported 4,544 new COVID-19 cases and 24 more deaths Friday, as new safety orders — including a stay-at-home order — will go into effect as a result.

The new measures will go into effect on Monday and remain until December 20, according to Los Angeles County Public Health. Residents are advised to stay home as much as possible and always wear a face-covering over their nose and mouth when outside their household and around others.

There are 1,893 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 24% of these people are in the ICU. On October 27, one month ago, there were 747 people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Public Health reminded everyone to stay home as much as possible and avoid seeing people you don't live with, even if you don't feel sick.

The five-day average of new cases is 4,751.

To date, Public Health identified 387,793 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 7,604 deaths. — City News Service

San Diego Nears 1,000 Coronavirus Deaths

1:45 p.m., Friday, Nov. 27, 2020

San Diego County health officials have reported 1,052 new COVID-19 infections and eight additional deaths, raising the region's totals to 76,357 cases and 996 deaths.

Thursday was the 16th consecutive day that more than 600 new cases were reported. A record-high 1,546 cases were announced on Tuesday.

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%, according to San Diego Public Health Services.

Of the total number of cases in the county, 4,507 — or 5.9% — have required hospitalization and 1,011 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

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

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