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San Diego County Reports 430 COVID-19 Cases, 9 Deaths As Brewery Rule Changes

A COVID-19 sign sits out from of the Grossmont vaccination site in La Mesa, M...

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: A COVID-19 sign sits out from of the Grossmont vaccination site in La Mesa, March 1, 2021.

Vaccine shortages will close the Del Mar Fairgrounds vaccination super site Friday through Sunday as San Diego County public health officials reported 430 new COVID-19 infections and nine deaths Thursday.

Scripps Health runs the Del Mar site, which will be closed Friday through Sunday due to the low number of vaccine doses that were delivered to Scripps for the week. The station is scheduled to reopen Monday.

Patients who had appointments on one of the three closed days are being rescheduled automatically through the MyTurn online appointment system.

Current medical guidance suggests patients can wait up to six weeks between doses of the vaccine without losing any efficacy.

Curious how the vaccine rollout is going in San Diego County? KPBS is tracking the progress.

The California Department of Public Health updated reopening guidance on Thursday to allow for outdoor breweries, wineries and distilleries to operate without having to serve food.

The change does not apply to bars in the purple or red tiers. For alcohol-producing businesses which already serve food, not much will change. Breweries, wineries and distilleries will still be able to operate as restaurants under the county's current tier restrictions.

"I have been working with the San Diego Brewers Guild and the Governor's Office for several weeks to establish a safe reopening plan, and I am glad breweries will now be able to open under the same guidelines as wineries," said County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher. "This is good for brewers, good for our economic recovery and good for San Diego County."

The new guidance, which goes into effect Saturday, also requires breweries use a reservation system, limit patrons' stays to no more than 90 minutes and end all on-site consumption by 8 p.m.

With Thursday's data, the total number of cases rose to 264,527 and the death toll edged up to 3,422.

Of 16,204 tests reported by the county Thursday, 3% returned positive and the 14-day rolling average declined slightly from 3.2% on Wednesday to 3.1% Thursday.

The humber of hospitalizations declined to 314, with 99 people in intensive care beds. On Wednesday, those numbers were 343 and 97, respectively.

RELATED: San Diego Vaccinates 25% Of Eligible Population With First COVID-19 Dose

On Monday, vaccine eligibility will expand again, this time to people with underlying health conditions, subject to vaccine availability.

All told, 678,267 — or 25.2% of San Diego County residents over the age of 16 — have received at least one dose of the two-shot vaccines and 385,938 people — or 14.4% — have been fully vaccinated.

A possible change to California's COVID-19 reopening schedule could have San Diego County promoted to the less-restrictive red tier by as early as Wednesday, according to county officials.

California's Department of Public Health modified the Blueprint for a Safer Economy to lead with opening activities when vaccines have been deployed to the hardest-hit communities. The modification will shift Blueprint tier thresholds to allow slightly higher case rates per 100,000 population once more inoculations have occurred in the communities suffering the most, allowing counties to move to less restrictive tiers.

The initial goal of the vaccine equity metric is to deliver a minimum of 2 million doses to the hardest-hit quarter of the state as measured by the Healthy Places Index. The state estimates it will deliver the 2 million doses to that quartile this week.

The floor for the most-restrictive, purple tier will move to 10 daily cases per 100,000 population once the state hits that benchmark. As of Tuesday's state update, San Diego County has a case rate of 8.8 per 100,000 — enough to qualify for one week of the proposed changed red tier.

Fletcher said he was confident the numbers would allow San Diego County to post a sub-10 case rate on Tuesday, allowing the county to enter the red tier by as early as Wednesday.

The red tier will feature a limited allowance of indoor dining, gyms, movie theaters and other businesses and services.

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