Testing for coronavirus in a medical laboratory. REUTERS/Cooper Neill

Due to an increased demand for COVID-19 testing, San Diego County has opened several new sites this week, including one Thursday at North County Lifeline in Vista.

On Tuesday, a site opened at Lemon Grove Senior Center, 8235 Mount Vernon St., open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., while on Wednesday, a site at Northgate Market San Diego, 5403 University Ave., opened and will be available for testing on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Vista site is located at 200 Michigan Ave. and will be open Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A fourth site, at Border View YMCA, 3601 Arey Drive, will open Sunday and be open Sundays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

All of these sites are in response to a striking surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the county, the vast majority of which have occurred in the unvaccinated.

“In late July, we started to see a significant increase in demand for COVID-19 testing,” said Denise Foster, the county’s chief nursing officer and COVID-19 clinical director. “In response to the need, we quickly identified several new sites to increase capacity.”

In addition to these new sites, the county opened six others last week, bringing the daily testing capacity to about 6,500 tests each day. Testing is also widely available through pharmacies and other medical providers, with hospital emergency departments primarily for those symptomatic and in need of immediate care. Test results generally come back in about one to two days.

For a complete list of COVID-19 testing locations, go to coronavirus- sd.com/testing.

San Diego County’s latest COVID-19 numbers on Wednesday show 1,134 new cases and three additional deaths, along with 56 more hospitalizations.

Wednesday’s data increased the county’s cumulative totals to 309,406 cases and 3,818 deaths since the pandemic began.

San Diego County’s case rate per 100,000 residents is 21.5 overall, but people who are not fully vaccinated are seeing case rates nearly 10 times of those fully vaccinated, 41.1 to 4.5 per 100,000 residents respectively.

A total of 12,103 tests were reported Wednesday, and the percentage of new positive cases over the past week is 8.7%.

A total of 47 new community outbreaks were confirmed in the past seven days: 18 in restaurant/bar settings, 11 in business settings, three in daycare/preschool/childcare settings, three in retail settings, three in hotel/resort/spa settings, two in faith-based settings, two in TK-12 school settings, one in a health care setting, one in a government setting, one in a grocery setting, one in a restaurant setting and one in a distribution warehouse setting.

Health officials have repeatedly pointed to the rapid spread of the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus for the increase in cases and hospitalizations, with unvaccinated residents bearing the overwhelming brunt of illnesses.

Officials also continue to stress that vaccinations are the most effective means of battling the recent spike in cases.

In San Diego County, 72% of all eligible residents are vaccinated — more than 2.04 million people. That number includes members of the military, but excludes some vaccinations given by tribal authorities or federal detention centers.

The county’s goal is to reach a 75% vaccination level, which is 5% higher than the state and national goal.

–City News Service

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