SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County public health officials reported 269 new COVID-19 infections Monday and no deaths, while the vaccine shortage kept Petco Park’s COVID-19 superstation closed and a state-led deal to reopen schools could penalize non-compliant school districts.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders announced a multibillion- dollar deal Monday aimed at enticing schools to resume in-person instruction for young students by April 1, but previously existing San Diego Unified plans for COVID vaccinations of teachers and reduced transmission rates make it unlikely the district will meet that date.
The deal — which still needs formal legislative approval — would create a $2 billion incentive pool, with money doled out to schools that reopen campuses for students in pre-kindergarten through second grade, as well as high- need students of all ages. The money will go toward safety improvements, such as ventilation systems and protective equipment.
The proposal does not order schools to reopen, but schools that fail to do so by April 1 will lose a percentage of their funds for every day they miss the deadline.
San Diego Unified School District leaders announced last week they set a targeted date of April 12 to allow students of all grade levels to return to the classroom — provided the county drops into the red tier of the state’s COVID-19 monitoring system — nearly a year after the district closed its schools due to the pandemic.
Under the plan, teachers — who will have the choice to be vaccinated – – will return to classrooms a week before then, on April 5. The plan is a hybrid model and students will have the option to continue learning from home. COVID-19 safety protocols will continue to be observed on campuses indefinitely, officials said.
More than 20,500 vaccines were being reserved exclusively for educators in San Diego County, the California Department of Public Health announced Monday. San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced on Wednesday 20% of vaccine doses will be prioritized for teachers and school staff, as opposed to the 10% outlined by state leaders.
It is unclear at this time how the proposal might change San Diego Unified’s reopening plans.
The Petco Park site remains closed at least through Tuesday. According to UC San Diego Health, which runs the site, the county’s largest, all appointments for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will be rescheduled.
People who were scheduled on those days can check their MyUCSDChart account — the health system’s electronic notification system — or email for details.
It is the third time in as many weeks that the site has had to close due to vaccine shortages.
The closure comes at an inopportune time, as more than 500,000 emergency services, child care and education and food and agriculture workers were scheduled to be eligible to receive vaccines beginning this week.
The county’s existing doses will be largely reserved for second doses until the vaccine supply issue can be resolved.
Of the county’s population over the age of 16, 21.3% — or 572,546 people– have received at least one dose and 10.1% — or 272,377 people — have been fully inoculated, the county reported on Saturday.
Monday’s data increased the cumulative totals in the county to 260,625 cases. No new deaths were reported and the death toll remains at 3,303.
Of 7,180 tests reported by the county, 4% returned positive. The 14- day rolling average decreased to 3.8% from 4.4% Sunday.
Hospitalizations decreased from 504 on Sunday with 164 people in intensive care beds to 491 hospitalized and 151 in ICU beds Monday. One month ago, there were 1,344 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 380 of whom were in the ICU. There are 44 available, staffed ICU beds in the county.
There was one new community outbreaks reported Monday, part of 30 in the past week tied to 126 cases.
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