County reports 558 new cases of COVID-19, 2 more community outbreaks

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County public health officials reported 558 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths on Sunday, raising the region’s totals to 19,929 cases and the death count remaining at 422.

Of the 8,505 tests reported Saturday, 7% were positive new cases. The 14-day rolling average for positive tests is 6.1%. The target is less than 8%. The 7-day daily average of tests is 7,853.

Of the total positive cases, 2,036 or 10.2% have been hospitalized and 535 or 2.7% of cases have been admitted to an intensive care unit.

Two new community outbreaks, one in a health care setting and the other in a restaurant-bar, were reported Saturday, bringing the total over the past week to 18, more than double the trigger of seven or more in seven days. A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and people from different households.

More than 75% of the community outbreaks have been traced to restaurants and bars, and 45 community outbreaks remain active, tied to 137 cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday’s data.

An additional 23 outbreaks have been traced to skilled nursing facilities and 27 to other nursing facilities.

A record-high 578 cases, a 10% positive test rate and 12 deaths were reported Tuesday.

A new daily high of 38 COVID-19 positive patients were hospitalized in Wednesday’s data, and about 136 of every 100,000 San Diegans are testing positive for the illness, well above the state’s criterion of 100 per 100,000. Total COVID-19 hospitalizations have inched up over the last several weeks, said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer.

“The pandemic is not over,” Wooten reminded county residents last week. “The disease is still widespread in our community, as evidenced by the rising cases.”

Despite the numbers, some local leaders believe San Diego County should have the authority to open its businesses. County supervisors Kristin Gaspar and Jim Desmond and San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday evening, asking the governor to rescind orders to shutter indoor business in multiple industries — including bars, restaurants, museums, cardrooms, zoos and theaters.

“This statewide one-size-fits-all approach to closing entire business sectors is misguided as evidenced by the many sectors in San Diego forced to close their doors again despite not having contributed at all to the rise in our local cases. As such, we are requesting the review of our county’s data to take place as soon as possible, thereby allowing San Diego businesses to reopen if appropriate,” they wrote in the joint letter.

“It is time to give local control of this public health emergency to the elected leaders and clinical team closest to the people so that we can begin community specific healing based on local data. We are confident that San Diego County is well-positioned to serve as a model in this effort,” the letter said.

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