Sharp has opened a vaccination supersite at Grossmont Center in La Mesa. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego County public health officials marked the one-year anniversary of the first local case of coronavirus Wednesday with optimism that the pandemic is receding.

“This anniversary reminds us how long and difficult a year it has been,” said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. “We recognize the loss of a way of life for so many.”

The first local case was confirmed on March 5, 2020, in an Orange County resident who worked at an AT&T store in Chula Vista.

Since then, there have been 264,097 cases and 3,413 deaths. But Fletcher, speaking at the weekly press briefing, said the county successfully confronted the virus and is making progress.

“We saved lives; we kept our hospital systems intact and from being overloaded. And where we stand right now a year later is making substantive progress in climbing out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Fletcher expressed optimism that the county would soon move out of the purple tier of infection and into the less-restrictive red tier. He said this could come as early as next week, if current trends continue and the state changes its guidelines.

But he also expressed frustration at continuing vaccine shortages, which are forcing health officials to prioritize second doses.

“We’ve always thought the first half of March would be when we would see increased supplies” he said. “We’re really hoping in the coming week that the numbers that arrive into our county increase so we can reach more folks.”

He said the vaccination super station at Petco Park now has sufficient supply of Moderna vaccine to complete all second doses.

As of Wednesday, the county has received 1,255,335 doses and administered 1,128,915 with 112,568 currently available for use. Some 24.7% of county residents 16 and older have received at least one dose and 13.7% are fully vaccinated.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.