UCSD's Rimac Arena is COVID-19 vaccination site. Photo by Chris Stone
UCSD’s Rimac Arena is COVID-19 vaccination site. Photo by Chris Stone

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said Thursday he is “not optimistic” that San Diego County will graduate into the least-restrictive yellow tier before June 15, the date Gov. Gavin Newsom has set to lift remaining COVID-19 restrictions.

Fletcher’s comments came as county public health officials reported 226 new COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths, and a positivity rate of just 1.4%.

San Diego County is in the orange-tier due to an adjusted daily case rate of 5 per 100,000 people. That is a significant improvement over the week before, when the rate was over 6, but it remains well above the fewer-than-two needed to move into the yellow tier, in which there are few restrictions on indoor operations

Los Angeles and San Francisco counties transitioned into the yellow tier on Tuesday. Fletcher noted that the pandemic spiked much higher over the winter in LA, and San Diego’s overall case rate is lower and vaccination rate higher.

“They got all of their cases out of the way in a huge spike that was really awful and now they have fewer people to get it, so they may be a little bit ahead of us in case rate at the moment, but San Diego’s still better,” he said.

To advance, San Diego County would have to report statistics in the yellow tier for two consecutive weeks. Due to the delayed nature of the pandemic and how data is reported, that is unlikely before restrictions end throughout the state.

Fletcher spoke at a weekly media briefing on the pandemic, at which officials reported that 1,194,000 residents aged 16 or older are now fully vaccinated. That nearly 60% of the county’s vaccination goal.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said is encouraged that nearly a third of residents aged 16 to 19 have been vaccinated.

Rotating pop-up vaccination clinics will begin this week at high- traffic areas such as community centers, churches and colleges. A full list of county-run vaccination sites can be found online.

Updated at 9:30 p.m., Thursday, May 6, 2021

City News Service contributed to this article.

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Chris Jennewein

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