County reports 293 new virus cases, 10 more deaths

Coronavirus

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 11: A healthcare worker gives a motorist a nasal 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. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County public health officials reported 293 new COVID-19 cases and 10 new deaths Tuesday, raising the region’s case total to 57,702.

The 10 deaths occurred between Oct. 6 and Nov. 2, according to county health officials, bringing the region’s death total to 901. The victims were six men and four women, whose ages ranged from late 40s to late 80s. All but one had underlying medical conditions, according to the county.

Of the 8,200 tests reported Tuesday, 4% returned positive, bringing the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 3%.

Of the total number of cases in the county, 3,968 — or 6.9% — have required hospitalization and 918 patients — or 1.6% of all cases — had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

Five new community outbreaks were also confirmed Monday, two in business settings, two in restaurant/bar settings, and one in a health care setting. Over the previous seven days, 31 community outbreaks were confirmed. A community outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households over the past 14 days.

The county last week avoided returning to the state’s purple tier — the most restrictive — and remains in the less restrictive red tier of the state’s four-tiered coronavirus monitoring system. The usual Tuesday update on the state’s four-tier reopening plan has been rescheduled to Wednesday this week due to the election, according to county officials.

Last Tuesday, the county’s adjusted case rate dropped to 6.5 new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population.

According to the California Department of Public Health, the county’s unadjusted case rate is 7.4 per 100,000 — enough to be in the purple tier, which has a floor of 7 per 100,000. However, the high volume of tests the county is able to perform daily allows for an adjustment from the state. This adjustment has kept the county in the red tier for several weeks, saving it from having to shut down nearly all nonessential indoor businesses.

The state data reflect the previous week’s case data to determine where counties stand in the state’s reopening system.

San Diego County did show modest improvement, dropping 0.4 from last week’s unadjusted case rate of 7.8. The testing positivity rate continued an upward trend, rising 0.2% from last week to reach 3.5%, but remains low enough for this metric to remain in the orange tier. If a county reports statistics meeting metrics in a higher tier for two consecutive weeks, it will move into that more restrictive tier for a minimum of three weeks.

The state’s health equity metric, which looks at the testing positivity for areas with the least healthy conditions, dropped from 5.5% to 5.1% and entered the orange tier. This metric does not move counties backward to more restrictive tiers, but is required to advance.

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