SAN DIEGO – San Diego County public health officials reported 263 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the county’s cumulative total of positive cases to 31,127.
Of the 11,106 laboratory-confirmed cases reported to the county on Wednesday, 2% were positive, bringing down the county’s 14-day rolling average of positive tests down to 4.9%. Some 643,074 tests have been given for the virus.
There were five new deaths reported Wednesday in San Diego County, raising the local death toll to 583. They included three men and two women between 57 and 87 years of age, who died between July 23 and Aug. 4, according to the county.
All five people had underlying medical conditions, which the CDC notes puts people at an “increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.”
Six new community setting outbreaks were disclosed Thursday including two in business settings, two in health care settings, one in a restaurant and one in a preschool. In the past week, 31 such outbreaks — defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households — have been identified, far above the county’s trigger number for modifying the local public health order.
As with past outbreak disclosures, the county did not share identifying information about the impacted sites.
The rate of the population testing positive has dropped to 105.7 per 100,000. The state’s goal is to be below 100 per 100,000. One week ago, the rate was 134.4 per 100,000 in the county.
The number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 also continues to trend downward, with 392 in regional hospitals as of Thursday, including 125 in intensive care units.
The percentage of people testing positive for the illness who have been contacted by a county contact tracer in the first 48 hours has increased from 7% on July 18 to 73%. The county’s target for this metric is more than 90%, but 70% is good enough to get it out of the “failed” trigger category.
Officials say declining case numbers and other important metrics show positive trends, leading some lawmakers to begin looking at ways to move forward with further reopening of the economy.
The Board of Supervisors over the past three days opened county-owned parks for worship and fitness activities; approved spending $48 million in federal pandemic-related funding to help child care providers, testing in schools and meals for senior citizens; added a pilot walk-up testing program at the San Ysidro Port of Entry for essential workers and U.S. citizens; and approved a plan that adds 22 members to a “safe reopening compliance team” to crack down on businesses refusing to follow public health orders.
The compliance team will focus on three types of violators, starting with the most blatant cases — such as those who host mass gatherings. The next level of enforcement would focus on businesses or groups that have experienced community outbreaks. Lastly, the team will check on less serious violations reported to them by concerned individuals, including businesses not requiring social distancing protocols or mask wearing.
A compliance call center has been established so county residents can submit complaints of violations. The number is 858-694-2900.
Of the total hospitalized during the pandemic due to the illness, 71% have been 50 or older. But county residents ages 20-29 have accounted for 25.5% percent of COVID- 19 cases, the highest of any age group, according to county data. That age group is also least likely to take precautionary measures to avoid spreading the illness, officials 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.”
The age group with the second-highest number of infections — residents ages 30-39 — represent 18.9% of the county’s COVID-19 cases.
As of Thursday, the CDC was reporting more than 4.8 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as well as 157,631 deaths. In total, the World Health Organization has reported 18.6 million global cases of the virus and more than 700,000 deaths.