A COVID-19 patient is treated in El Centro
A healthcare worker in protective gear treats a COVID-19 patient at the El Centro Regional Medical Center. REUTERS/Ariana Drehsler

San Diego County public health officials reported 256 new COVID-19 infections and an uptick in hospitalizations, as the region’s weekly case rates increased further into the red tier of the state’s Blueprint for Recovery for the second week in a row.

Hospitalizations related to coronavirus increased by seven — to 184 — compared to Monday — the highest number since April 5. There were 61 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds as of Tuesday, a increase of five from the previous day.

Despite posting an adjusted case rate of 6.1 new daily cases per 100,000 population, the county can’t backslide into the red tier unless hospitalization rates climb or other metrics spike — as state rules changed earlier this month.

San Diego County is in the orange tier — the second least-restrictive level in the state’s four-tier system for reopening the economy.

The latest cases brought the cumulative total to 275,368, while the death toll remained unchanged at 3,674.

Of the 7,747 test results reported Tuesday, 3% returned positive. The 14-day rolling average of positive tests is 1.8%.

More than 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered to San Diego County, and 1,300,866 county residents — or 64.5% of the county’s goal of 75% of its eligible population — have received at least one dose.

The state’s goal is to vaccinate 75% of people 16 and older to achieve so-called herd immunity — equating to around 2.02 million San Diego County residents.

There were no new community outbreaks reported Tuesday; 21 were reported over the last seven days with 83 associated cases.

— City News Service contributed to this report