306 more COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in San Diego County

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County public health officials have reported 306 newly confirmed cases Sunday and no additional deaths from COVID- 19, bringing the county’s totals to 29,883 cases and holding the death toll at 565.

No new community outbreaks of COVID-19 were identified Saturday. In the past seven days, 37 community outbreaks were confirmed.

Of the 5,655 tests reported Saturday, 5% were positive. The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 5.3%. The state’s target is fewer than 8% of tests returning positive.

Of the total positive cases, 2,577 — or 8.6% — required hospitalization and 652 — or 2.2% — were admitted to an intensive care unit.

According to county data, 57% of adult San Diego County residents have underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart and lung disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. These conditions put such people at higher risk for serious illness should they contract COVID-19.

Of the total hospitalized during the pandemic due to the illness, 71% have been 50 or older. The highest age group testing positive for the illness are those 20-29, and that group is also least likely to take precautionary measures to avoid spreading the illness, a county statement said.

“Some San Diegans think they’re not going to get sick and therefore are not following the public health guidance,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “What they don’t realize is that they could get infected and pass the virus to others who are vulnerable.”

An amendment to the county’s public health order, which went into effect Wednesday morning, now requires all employers to inform employees of any COVID-19 outbreaks or cases at a place of business. Previously, the county recommended employers disclose outbreak information but did not require it.

“We are continually adjusting and making refinements,” said county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. “We believe most entities are acting responsibly, but this will ensure employers inform their employees.”

Speaking at the county’s daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, Fletcher and county Supervisor Greg Cox said the county is rapidly attempting to recruit more Spanish-speaking contact tracers and investigators and increase testing in the South Bay, where communities are reporting the highest rates of COVID-19 in the county. The percentage of Latino contact tracers and investigators hired by the county is currently 25%.

The head of the Chicano Federation of San Diego County was critical of the county’s response, saying it had not taken actions to reflect its demographics in contact tracers — an inaction that could be exacerbating cases and reporting in the county’s Latino population.

“We were told repeatedly that the county was working diligently to hire people from the community to serve as contact tracers, and that they were being intentional about making sure contract tracers and investigators were representative of the community. They lied,” Chicano Federation CEO Nancy Maldonado said in a statement Wednesday.

“The County of San Diego has failed Latinos at every step of this pandemic,” she said. “Lives have been destroyed because of failed leadership. The response from the county has been irresponsible — and San Diego County’s Latino community is paying the price.”

Latinos make up 61% of those hospitalized in the county from the virus and 45% of the deaths. They compose around 35% of the county’s population.

Cox and Fletcher also said they would bring a plan for a safe reopening compliance team before the full Board of Supervisors. The team would supplement health order enforcement, including investigating egregious violations, outbreaks and conducting regular checks of the county’s more than 7,500 food facilities.

New enforcement could include a compliance hotline for tips, additional staff for investigations and outbreaks and coordination with cities to send a team to conduct investigations.

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