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San Diego County Reports 247 COVID-19 Cases, 12 Deaths As SDSU Cracks Down

Man walking out of 7-Eleven in Bay Park on Aug. 1, 2020. The business, like many others in the county, is requiring customers to wear a mask before entering the premises to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Alexander Nguyen
Man walking out of 7-Eleven in Bay Park on Aug. 1, 2020. The business, like many others in the county, is requiring customers to wear a mask before entering the premises to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

UPDATE: 5:15 p.m., Sept. 9, 2020

San Diego County public health officials Wednesday reported 247 new COVID-19 infections and 12 additional fatalities, raising the region's totals to 41,324 cases and 721 deaths from the coronavirus.

Of the 4,556 tests reported Wednesday, 5% returned positive, increasing the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 4.5%, still well below the state's 8% guideline. The seven-day average number of tests performed in the county is 6,339.

San Diego County Reports 247 COVID-19 Cases, 12 Deaths As SDSU Cracks Down
Listen to this story by Joe Hong.

Meanwhile, San Diego State University reported another 44 confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases within the on- and off-campus student population. About 75% of students testing positive live in off-campus housing not managed by the university, with 73% of the cases among the freshman and sophomore classes.

The latest cases bring the university's total confirmed caseload to 440 since the fall semester began Aug. 24.

There are also four probably cases currently undergoing a second round of testing.

San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said it’s possible cases from the university could tip the county into the purple tier of the state’s monitoring system, which would trigger additional closures. But cases in other parts of the county would also have to spike for that to happen.

“That is possible if the cumulative number of daily cases continues to increase to the point that we were seeing in July where we have 300, 400, 500 daily cases,” Wooten said.


The university also announced its first hospitalization resulting from the spread of COVID-19. SDSU administrators said they’re currently investigating about 500 violations of university social distancing policies.

The university announced over the weekend it has extended its stay-at- home order for students amid rising COVID-19 cases within the student population. The order directing students to stay in their current residences, except for essential needs, was originally set to expire at 6 a.m. Tuesday, but will remain in effect through 9 a.m. Monday. Violations of the order may result in disciplinary consequences, the college said.

Luke Wood, SDSU's vice president for student affairs and campus diversity, said the university was working with a security company to enforce public health code regulations. He said the company was engaging in patrols around the College Area and reporting possible violations to the university.

Wood said the most serious violations could result in suspension or expulsion from the university. He said some organizations have been cited, as well, mostly fraternities or sororities.

On the question of how much authority the university has in students' off-campus lives, Wood was vague, but said SDSU has "some authority" in the College Area.

He also said there has been "a significant reduction" of public health violations, and that "the important thing is that they (regulations) are working."

On Friday, San Diego County public health officials confirmed multiple clusters of COVID-19 cases within the university community among students, which includes the previously announced off-campus outbreak last Wednesday.

None of the cases under investigation are related to on-campus educational activities, including classes or labs, according to the university.

All of the university's in-person classes — which SDSU President Adela de la Torre said comprised just 7% of all courses — were moved online last Wednesday. SDSU also paused all on-campus athletics training and workouts for two weeks starting last Thursday due to COVID-19.

The university announced some very limited courses will be made available in person starting Thursday. Most of these courses have eight or fewer students.

County health officials reported three new community outbreaks on Wednesday, bringing the number of outbreaks in the past week to 22. Two of the outbreaks were in a business setting and one in a restaurant/bar setting.

The number of community outbreaks remains well above the county's goal of fewer than seven in a seven-day span. A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households in the past 14 days.

State data released Tuesday shows San Diego County losing some ground in its fight against COVID-19, with the number of new cases per 100,000 people reaching 6.9 and the percentage of positive tests at 4.2%, close to slipping into the "widespread" tier like much of the rest of the state.

The county is in Tier 2 or the "substantial" tier, the state's second most strict. With a slight bump in new cases per 100,000, San Diego could find itself closing recently opened businesses.

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said that though the county's numbers are close to the highest tier, they aren't there yet. It would take two consecutive weeks of widespread data before the county could be moved into a higher — or lower, if the numbers drop significantly — tier.

The numbers for the widespread tier — which every other Southern California county besides Orange County finds itself in — are 7 or more new cases per 100,000 and more than 8% positive testing. Just one of those above guidelines could be enough to push a county up a tier.

Of the total positive cases in the county, 3,237 — or 7.8% — have required hospitalization since the pandemic began, and 773 — or 1.9% — were admitted to an intensive care unit.

The county is expanding its walk-in testing capabilities, adding sites at Cal State San Marcos, University of San Diego, San Diego State University, the Tubman-Chavez Community Center, Mar Vista High School and the San Ysidro Port of Entry. A full list of locations and hours can be found at

Supervisor Greg Cox said the Great Plates program has been expanded by FEMA and the California Office of Emergency Services through Oct. 9 to provide three meals a day for seniors, or one meal a day for people over the age of 18 with a health condition. Nearly 3,000 people have enrolled in twin programs, but Cox said there are spaces for "many more" to sign up.