San Diego County reports 461 new COVID-19 cases, 5 more deaths


AUSTIN, TX – JULY 07: A man gets tested for coronavirus at a COVID19 testing center on July 7, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Patients have their temperature and pulse checked before being swabbed. Along with Florida and Arizona, coronavirus cases in Texas have spiked recently. (Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO – San Diego County public health officials reported Friday 461 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths and three new community outbreaks tied to a business, restaurant and health care setting.

Of the 8,423 new coronavirus tests reported, 5% were positive, according to the county. The county’s 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases was down on Friday to 5.9%.

The five new deaths which happened Wednesday include four men and one woman, aged between their late 60s and 100 years. All had existing chronic health conditions, officials said.

In the past week, the county and its health partners have identified 18 community outbreaks, more than double the county’s trigger number of seven. On Thursday, the county tallied one new outbreak while 10 others were dropped from its trigger dashboard. The county did not identify the three institutions which reported new community outbreaks.

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.

In total, San Diego County has recorded 18,863 total COVID-19 cases and 420 deaths. About 11 percent of those cases have required hospitalization and another 529 cases have required those hospitalized to be admitted to the ICU.

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 this 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 needs to 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 on 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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