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San Diego Reports 388 New COVID-19 Cases As County Considers Suing State

A hostess at Union Kitchen and Tap checks a customer's temperature before sea...

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: A hostess at Union Kitchen and Tap checks a customer's temperature before seating them, Sept. 16, 2020.

San Diego County health officials reported 388 new COVID-19 infections and three deaths tied to the illness Friday, raising the region's totals to 44,007 cases and 757 deaths as the county considers taking legal action against the state should reopenings for some still-closed businesses be rolled back next week.

Of the 10,235 tests reported Friday, 4% returned positive, bringing the rolling 14-day average of positive tests to 4% -- potentially a good sign as San Diego County appears poised to regress into the state's most restrictive public health tier due to increasing COVID-19 numbers by Tuesday, when state data is released.

On Thursday night, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors met in a closed session to discuss taking legal action against the state to prevent that slide back into that most restrictive tier after Gov. Gavin Newsom rejected a county effort Wednesday to discount the more than 700 positive tests recorded by San Diego State University since the semester began.

The county will find out Tuesday if it will slip back to the "purple" tier of the state's coronavirus reopening roadmap. If so, it would likely shutter indoor operations for restaurants, houses of worship and gyms, limit retail businesses to just 25% capacity and have major impacts on indoor business for most other industries until the county can improve its numbers.

Should the county be placed in that tier, it would have to wait a minimum of three weeks before moving back to less restrictive tiers.

Data released this week showed one of the two metrics the state monitors being flagged as "widespread."

Ultimately the supervisors did not make a decision on taking legal action against the state in their meeting Thursday, but Supervisor Greg Cox said the board will meet in closed-session Monday after receiving more information, "to consider any further actions."

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher was vague about the closed meeting Thursday, but urged caution.

"In general, I believe we should be fighting COVID-19 and not the state of California," he said. "We do not yet know what our case rate will be next Tuesday and will have to evaluate that number in order to understand any possible impact."

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