SAN DIEGO — New coronavirus data released by the state Tuesday keeps San Diego County in the most-restrictive purple tier on California’s reopening system.
The tier assignment list on the state website says the coronavirus remains widespread in the county. The rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents was 8.9 with an adjusted case rate for tier assignment coming in at 8.8.
The adjusted case rate needed to be 7 or lower for San Diego County to reach red tier status. The county’s testing positivity percentage is 3.3%, which qualifies it for the orange tier. But the state uses the most restrictive metric — in this case the adjusted case rate — to assign counties to a tier.
The county’s health equity metric that looks at testing positivity for areas with the lowest healthy conditions is 4.5%, which is also in the orange tier range.
Based on the new data and current reopening system, the earliest the county could move to the red tier is March 30.
The state could soon update the tier guidelines when 2 million vaccine doses have been administered to California’s hardest-hit communities. The Blueprint for a Safer Economy tiers will be updated to allow for somewhat higher case rates once the goal is met, according to the state.
Data is reviewed weekly and tiers are updated on Tuesdays. The state says counties must remain in a tier for at least 3 weeks before moving to a less restrictive tier. Counties must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks to move to a less restrictive tier.
County public health officials reported 473 new COVID-19 infections and 15 additional deaths on Tuesday, increasing the total number of cases to 263,748 and upping the death toll to 3,405.
The number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 increased for the first time in nearly two months, rising from Monday’s 337 to 346. The number of people with COVID-19 in intensive care beds also rose by four, from 109 to 113.
There are 56 staffed, available ICU beds in the county.
Of 11,766 tests reported by the county Tuesday, 4% returned positive. The 14-day rolling average remained 3.2%.
There were no new community outbreaks reported Tuesday for the second day in a row. There have been 24 outbreaks over the last seven days with 90 cases associated with those outbreaks.