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San Diego County Likely To Stay In Orange Tier Until June 15

A sign warning people to wear masks due to COVID-19 at Torrey Pines State Beach, Feb. 26, 2021.
KPBS Staff
A sign warning people to wear masks due to COVID-19 at Torrey Pines State Beach, Feb. 26, 2021.

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher is "not optimistic" the county will graduate into the least-restrictive of the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy tiers before June 15, the date Gov. Gavin Newsom has set to lift remaining restrictions set up to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The county is in the orange-tier of the color-coded system due to an adjusted case rate of five new daily cases per 100,000 people. That is a significant improvement over the week before, when that adjusted case rate was 6.2, but it remains well above the fewer-than-two daily cases needed to move into the yellow tier — the reopening plan's least restrictive — and allow for essentially all businesses to reopen.

VIDEO: San Diego County Likely To Stay In Orange Tier Until June 15

Los Angeles and San Francisco counties transitioned into the yellow tier on Tuesday.

To advance, San Diego County would have to report statistics in the yellow tier for two consecutive weeks. Due to the delayed nature of the pandemic and how data is reported, that is unlikely — but not impossible — to happen. The state reports data on counties on Tuesdays.

RELATED: San Diego County Expands Evening Vaccinations

County public health officials reported 226 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, increasing the county's cumulative total to 277,323 cases. The county leaders did not report any new deaths at a news conference Thursday, and that count was 3,716 deaths as of Wednesday.

Of 15,412 tests reported Wednesday, 1% returned positive. The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 1.4%.

The county has received 3,445,425 doses of coronavirus vaccines — 254,960 this week alone. That is 61,000 fewer than the week previous.

A total of 1,692,336 people have received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, 83.9% of the way toward reaching the county's goal of vaccinating 75% of San Diego County residents 16 and older, or 2,017,011 people.

A total of 1,194,000 — or 59.2% of the county's goal — of the 16-or- older age cohort are fully inoculated with either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

RELATED: Los Angeles, San Francisco County Moving To Yellow Tier As Businesses Get Ready For Broader Reopening

These numbers now include the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration data, which Fletcher said will be updated every two weeks.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer, said Thursday she was encouraged the county's 16-19 age group is already nearly a third vaccinated — particularly because that group wasn't even eligible until the state opened vaccines to everyone 16 or older on April 15.

Rotating pop-up vaccination clinics will begin this week at high- traffic areas such as community centers, churches and colleges. A full list of county-run vaccination sites can be found at coronavirus-sd.com/vaccine.

Three COVID-19 vaccination sites in north, east and south San Diego County will remain open until the evening Thursday, as part of a county effort to make vaccinations more accessible and convenient.

The three clinics will administer Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to people with and without appointments. People are welcome to drop in for a first dose or second dose, even if the first dose was received elsewhere.

The sites offering doses from 1 to 8 p.m. will be:

— Oceanside: Sunday to Thursday at North Coastal Live Well Health Center, 1701 Mission Ave.;

— Chula Vista: Sunday to Thursday at South Region Live Well Center at Chula Vista, 690 Oxford St.; and

— El Cajon: Tuesday to Saturday at East Public Health Center, 367 N. Magnolia Ave.

It's not likely that San Diego County will be able to loosen COVID-19 restrictions -- moving out of the orange tier into the least restrictive yellow tier - before June 15, according to County supervisor Nathan Fletcher. June 15 is the date Gov. Gavin Newsom has set to lift all remaining restrictions. Meanwhile, Scripps Health continues to battle a cyberattack. Plus, the TCM Classic Film Festival is on and more accessible than ever.