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San Diego County Reports 195 New COVID-19 Cases As It Awaits State Data

File photo of a banner in the Gaslamp Quarter showing restaurant workers pled...

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: File photo of a banner in the Gaslamp Quarter showing restaurant workers pledging to keep customers safe during the pandemic, Sept. 17, 2020.

San Diego County is awaiting reopening data from the state Tuesday to find out if the region will remain in the second — or red — tier of the state's four tier COVID-19 reopening plan.

San Diego's state-calculated, adjusted case rate was 6.5 per 100,000 residents last Tuesday, down from 6.7 the previous week. The unadjusted case rate was 7.0, down from 7.2 .

The testing positivity percentage is 3.5%, the same as last week, and it is in the third — or orange — tier.

To remain in the second tier of the four tier COVID-19 reopening plan, the county must have an adjusted case rate of less than 7.0 per 100,000 residents and a testing positivity percentage of less than 5%.

County public health officials reported 195 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, raising the total to 50,746 cases.

The number of deaths in the region from the illness remains at 826.

RELATED: California Rules Now Allow For 3 Households To Socialize

Of the 7,573 tests reported Monday, 3% returned positive, bringing the 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases to 2.9%. The seven-day daily average of tests was 10,424.

Of the total number of cases in the county, 3,692 — or 7.3% — have required hospitalization and 854 — or 1.7% of all cases — had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

One new community outbreak was reported Monday in a restaurant/bar setting. In the past seven days, 46 community outbreaks were confirmed, well above the trigger of seven or more in a week's time. A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households over the past 14 days.

Over the weekend, the county allowed private gatherings of up to three households, based on the state's new guidance issued Friday.

The gatherings must take place outdoors. If at someone's home, guests may go inside to use the bathroom.

Participants in a gathering need to stay at least six feet apart from non-household members and wear face coverings. Gatherings should be kept to two hours or less, the new guidelines state.

A health equity metric will now be used to determine how quickly a county may advance through the reopening plan, San Diego Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said last Wednesday.

A community can only be as well as its unhealthiest quartile, she said, and while counties with a large disparity between the least and most sick members of a community will not be punished for the disparity by sliding back into more restrictive tiers, such a disparity will stop counties from advancing to less-restrictive tiers.

According to the state guidelines, the health equity will measure socially determined health circumstances, such as a community's transportation, housing, access to health care and testing, access to healthy food and parks.

Neighborhoods are grouped and scored by census tracts on the Healthy Places Index, https://healthyplacesindex.org/. Some of the unhealthiest neighborhoods include Logan Heights, Valencia Park, downtown El Cajon and National City.

According to county data, the county's health equity testing positivity percentage is 6.2 and is in the red tier. Wooten said that complicated metric will be explained this week when the state releases an official "playbook" of how it is calculated and what it means to communities throughout the state as they attempt to reopen.

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