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San Diego rises to CDC's 'medium' COVID-19 risk level as cases increase

Vons Starbucks COVID-19 vaccines
Alexander Nguyen
A Vons supermarket in San Diego County offers COVID-19 vaccines on March 21, 2022.

COVID-19 cases are increasing, and so is San Diego County’s pandemic risk level. The region was moved into the "medium" risk tier by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after previously being in the "low" category.

In the past two weeks, cases have increased by 40%, with most daily case counts now above 1,000.

San Diego joins Southern California counties such as Los Angeles, Orange and Imperial in the medium tier. No state counties are in the "high" risk category. Determinations are based on hospital admissions and new cases, both of which have been ticking up here.


"Hopeful the community can come together and kind of react accordingly," Chula Vista Fire Chief Harry Munns said.

The fire department operates a COVID-19 testing site at Chula Vista City Hall, which has seen recent increases in test requests. Munns said the free option is not going anywhere.

"No plans to close," he said. "We're looking to serve the community the best we can and hence why we’ve stayed open to try and keep some consistency in place."

KPBS spoke with Chula Vista residents who were getting tested Friday. Dan Imbat said he received a positive result after traveling to Florida.


"I let my guard down and as a consequence my whole family is sick," Imbat said. "I’ve been religiously wearing a mask for the last two and half years, and I go to my first conference with a mask down and catch it."

San Diego rises to CDC's 'medium' COVID-19 risk level as cases increase

It is not Imbat's first time getting COVID-19, and he is not surprised by the recent increase in cases.

"I think everyone’s guard is coming down, and I think we’ve had two and a half years of not seeing each other," he said.

Imbat was not the only one getting tested after attending a large event.

"My phone texted me, and it told me I was exposed," Chula Vista resident
Giovanna Huerta said.

Huerta felt some symptoms after going to a music festival in Las Vegas. She has also gotten COVID-19 before and is not too worried about traveling right now.

"Not scared to go out, just because I know it’s something you can’t really get away from," she said. "I feel like eventually everyone will get COVID once."

In the CDC's "medium" risk category, officials recommend that residents stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations and get tested if symptoms start. Those at high risk should be taking extra precautions such as wearing a mask.

With Memorial Day weekend kicking off an expected busy start to San Diego’s summer tourist season, health officials said the pandemic was not over and people should try to avoid large crowds or take parties outdoors.