COVID-19 pandemic testing
At San Diego County COVID testing sites, workers have turned to self swabs. Here, workers in San Ysidro help a patron. Photo credit: County News Center

San Diego County health officials reported 415 new cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths Thursday, while also highlighting a notable recent change at local testing sites.

With the latest numbers, the county’s case totals rose to 359,883, along with 4,111 deaths, since the pandemic began.

The county also reported 20,995 new tests, with a 2.9% positive rate over the past seven days.

Thirty-one more patients required hospital care for COVID-19 though, and one had to enter an intensive-care unit.

Meanwhile, to make it easier and faster for San Diegans to be tested for COVID-19, county-run testing sites have turned to self-swabbing – with expert instruction.

The practice allows for improved social distancing between patients and workers, said the county’s chief nursing officer, Denise Foster. When properly done, the self-swabbing does not affect accuracy.

The county opted for self-swabs in September.