Coronavirus: County awaits state review to fall off watch list; reports 279 cases, 4 more deaths

Coronavirus

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 11: A healthcare worker gives a girl a throat swab test at a drive-in coronavirus (COVID-19) testing center at M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi School of Islamic Sufism on August 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. California reported 12,500 new cases after backlogged cases from a data glitch began appearing in the state’s system. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO – San Diego County recorded its fourth straight day Saturday with a case rate of fewer than 100 positive COVID-19 tests per 100,000 people, yet the county remains on a state monitoring list pending a review from California public health officials.

The county reported Saturday a case rate of 94.7, below a threshold county and state officials previously said would make it eligible to be removed from the list if maintained for three consecutive days. Mayor Kevin Faulconer and county Supervisor Greg Cox wrote a letter Friday to Gov. Gavin Newsom, requesting clarification of the process of restarting activities such as gyms, churches, salons and higher education institutions.

No other businesses can fully reopen without additional guidance from the state, county officials said.

“The lack of a consistent process for these businesses, with logical, data-driven triggers, exacerbates an increasingly difficult economic situation, and undermines the credibility of and compliance with the State’s public health order,” they said in the letter.

Earlier this week. Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health director, outlined a timeline if the county were to reach three straight days under the state metric, which happened on Friday.

According to Wooten, the county would fall off the state’s monitoring list and a new 14-day window would begin, after which area school districts could consider offering in-person instruction again to students. If that had happened Friday, the date would have been as soon as Aug. 28, though it is unclear when state officials will complete their review of county data.

On Saturday, county public health officials reported 279 new cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths, bringing the county’s pandemic tally to 34,344 cases and 626 deaths. Of the 11,268 tests reported to the county Friday, 2% were new positive cases, dropping the 14-day rolling average of new positive cases down to 4.3%.

Two more community setting outbreaks were identified on Friday at a distribution warehouse and a health care setting, respectively. In the past week, 25 such outbreaks have been identified, well above the county’s trigger number of seven outbreaks in a seven-day timespan.

County officials largely have not named locations experiencing outbreaks during the pandemic.

Three women and one man were said to have died between July 5 and Aug. 13, according to the county. Their ages ranged between their late 50s and their late 80s. All had underlying medical conditions, the county said, as have the vast majority of coronavirus deaths recorded in the county.

As of Saturday, the U.S. has reported nearly 5.3 million cases of coronavirus and 167,546 deaths, including more than 1,200 more since Friday, according to the CDC.

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