San Diego County reports 337 new cases of COVID-19

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Starting Monday, gyms, fitness businesses and places of worship will be allowed to operate in San Diego city parks.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the executive order Tuesday. City Councilman Chris Cate proposed the idea in mid-July, and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved a similar ordinance for county parks on Aug. 5.

The directive defers park permit fees for 60 days. Faulconer will bring an ordinance to the council once it is back in session in September that would make the waiving of fees permanent.

San Diego County public health officials reported 337 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, but no new deaths. The region’s totals are now 36,540 cases and 660 deaths.

The county was officially removed from the state’s monitoring list Tuesday, setting in motion a 14-day countdown that could see K-12 students back in the classroom as soon as Sept. 1, depending on the decisions of individual school districts.

Currently, 27 schools — mostly private religious schools — have been approved for in-person learning by the county.

The schools include Calvary Christian Academy, Francis Parker School, Chabad Hebrew Academy, San Diego French American School, La Jolla Country Day School and others. They were among nearly 50 schools that applied for a waiver to the county’s public health guideline regarding in-person teaching.

Of the 6,783 tests reported Saturday, 5% returned positive, bringing the 14-day rolling average to 3.5%, well below the state’s 8% guideline. The 7- day rolling average of tests is 7,254 daily.

Of the total positive cases in the county, 2,978 — or 8.1% — have required hospitalization since the pandemic began, and 729 — or 2% — were admitted to an intensive care unit.

County health officials reported three new community outbreaks on Saturday, bringing the number of outbreaks in the past week to 17. Two outbreaks were at businesses and one was in a restaurant/bar setting.

The number of community outbreaks remains well 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.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said he and other county officials were expecting to hear about the framework for reopening indoor businesses from the state starting this week.

“That doesn’t mean we’ll be able to open everything all at once,” he said Wednesday. “We must be mindful. We don’t want to undo the progress we’ve made so far.”

The county continued to make progress Sunday, with a case rate of 80.1 positive COVID-19 tests per 100,000 people, below the state’s 100 per 100,000 guideline.

The county will be placed back on the state’s monitoring list should it be flagged for exceeding any one of six different metrics for three consecutive days. Those metrics are the case rate, the percentage of positive tests, the average number of tests a county is able to perform daily, changes in the number of hospitalized patients and the percentage of ventilators and intensive care beds available.

County-compiled data related to race and ethnicity on testing, staffing and geographic location will be made available Monday for the first time since the pandemic began. Previously, data on race had been broken down by deaths, hospitalizations and case numbers only.

Latinos are still disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, with that ethnic group representing 61.7% of all hospitalizations and 46% of all deaths due to the illness. Latinos make up about 35% of San Diego County’s population.

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