COVID-19: San Diego County reports 265 new cases

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County public health officials have reported 265 new COVID-19 infections and no new deaths, bringing the county’s totals to 42,679 cases and 734 fatalities.

Of the 8,281 tests reported Saturday, 3% returned positive, moving the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 4.4%, well below the state’s 8% guideline. The seven-day average number of tests performed in the county is 7,200.

Of the total positive cases in the county, 3,296 — or 7.7% — have required hospitalization since the pandemic began, and 781 — or 1.8% — were admitted to an intensive care unit.

The county said San Diego State University reported 29 new student cases of COVID-19 Sunday. More than 600 students have tested positive for the virus since fall semester began Aug. 24.

University officials said they were aware of 623 confirmed cases among students and four more probable cases. The university has not received any reports of faculty or staff who have tested positive, SDSU health officials said.

The majority of the 621 cases are students living off-campus in San Diego. About 75% of students testing positive live in off-campus housing not managed by the university, with 73% of the cases among the freshman and sophomore classes, officials said.

County health officials reported five new community outbreaks on Saturday, three were in restaurants, one in a restaurant/bar and one in a business.

In the past seven days — Sept. 6 through Saturday — 16 community outbreaks were confirmed. The number of community outbreaks remains above the county’s goal of fewer than seven in a seven-day span. A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households in the past 14 days.

Under the new state monitoring metrics, San Diego County is currently in Tier 2, also called the Red Tier. San Diego’s state-calculated unadjusted case rate is 6.9 per 100,000 residents. The testing positivity percentage is 4.2%.

The state will assess counties weekly, with the next report scheduled for Tuesday.

The city of Chula Vista announced Friday it was distributing 25,000 reuseable cotton masks printed with the city logo and website. Residents can pick up the free masks at the Civic Center and Otay Ranch libraries from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Chula Vista police, fire, park rangers and open-space personnel will also be distributing the masks when they come into contact with people without masks.

A comprehensive outreach strategy to expand testing access for Latino residents and other communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic was announced Friday by local leaders.

The new program will kick off on Monday, with a new testing site at the Mexican Consulate in downtown San Diego at 1549 India St. Starting at 8 a.m., walk-up appointments will be available until 3:30 p.m., according to the announcement from San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, Consul General of Mexico in San Diego and other local leaders.

Just nine days after reopening its campus for in-person classes, Academy of Our Lady of Peace in North Park moved all students to online-only courses Thursday after two students tested positive for COVID-19.

Schools throughout San Diego County were allowed to reopen for in- person learning on Sept. 1. Academy of Our Lady of Peace sent a letter to parents Wednesday evening placing the blame on the children at the all-girls Catholic school.

“We recognize that despite our best efforts the girls are struggling with maintaining the rules of physical distancing both on and off campus,” it said. “Effective immediately, we are implementing a pause in our face-to-face learning model and moving to virtual distance learning (while maintaining the same class schedule). This will allow time for the community to separate, practice physical distancing and reflect on the importance and privilege of our time together on the OLP campus.”

The two confirmed student cases are unrelated, the school said. Students at the school will switch from online education to a hybrid model on Sept. 17, with students attending class two days a week in two separate cohorts separated by last name alphabetically.

State guidance declares that if 5% of students or staff in a classroom test positive for COVID-19, it should be closed. Additionally, a school should close if there are multiple cases in multiple classrooms, or if 5% of the student body or staff test positive for the illness.

San Diego Unified School District and other school districts in regions disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 have stated they will not return until the pandemic lessens. Before schools were able to reopen, nearly 50 schools — mostly private and/or religious — petitioned the county to open early for in-person instruction.

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