Testing for coronavirus at the San Diego County public health laboratory. Image from County News Center video

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in San Diego County rose by 25 to 105 on Thursday, and health officials warned it is only the “tip of the iceberg.”

“The numbers at this point are really only the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Nick Yphantides, San Diego County’s chief medical officer, at a news conference before updated figures were released late Thursday afternoon. “That iceberg is increasing in size under the water. Do not have a false sense of security.”

The 25 new cases mark the highest day-to-day growth yet, and include the first patient between the ages of 10-19. There have been 13 hospitalizations attributed to the illness, but no deaths.

Of the 105 cases, 89 are residents of the county, 11 of whom are hospitalized. Eight more cases are from the federal quarantine at Miramar, with one person hospitalized. Eight are non-residents, primarily in the Navy, one of whom is hospitalized.

Health officials locally and nationally have imposed a wide range of restrictions to slow the spread of the new coronavirus strain SARS-COV-2 that causes COVID-19 disease. But they cautioned residents from drawing conclusions about the spread from day-to-day numbers.

“I would be careful looking at day-to-day numbers,” said Dr. Eric McDonald, the county’s head of epidemiology. “Because the incubation period is up to two weeks, there will certainly be a delay in any action we take.”

The county’s chief health officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten, urged San Diegans to comply with the recent health orders to protect themselves and their families and stop the spread.

“The most important thing I want to communicate to you today is how important it is for everyone to follow the public heath directives or orders that have been issued this week to slow the spread of coronavirus,” Wooten said. “This is hard, but it’s necessary, and we’re all in this together.”

She also told reporters the county has plenty of crucial N95 masks for healthcare workers with 700,000 in stock, but acknowledged a shortage of gloves, gowns and goggles.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said officials understand that being confined at home is stressful and reminded residents to get out and get exercise.

“We also have to make sure that we’re maintaining our own health,” he said. “It is OK to go outside and go for a walk.”

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Chris Jennewein

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