Shoppers are lined up outside a Trader Joe’s in Mission Valley. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego County health officials reported Tuesday the biggest increase in coronavirus cases to date, with the total growing by 131 to 734, and two new deaths.

“This is our single largest jump,” said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher during the regular afternoon briefing. But he cautioned “there is not a lot that you can read into day-to-day results.”

Cases grew by 84 on Monday, 31 on Sunday, 71 on Saturday and 76 on Friday.

The county did not provide any additional information regarding the two latest deaths. Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer, said that in addition there was a third death which was probably related to COVID-19 but not confirmed.

There have now been nine deaths officially attributable to coronavirus among residents of San Diego.

“We believe the uptick in cases in San Diego County will continue, and will continue for the foreseeable future,” Fletcher said, but added that he expects the curve to flatten over time because of social distancing.

The county also provided an update on medical readiness, reporting a total of 481 ventilators available for immediate use in 19 of the county’s 23 hospitals. Another 75 ventilators are ready to deploy in an emergency, 69 are currently being serviced, 600 have been requested from the state,  and 125 have been ordered from elsewhere.

Fletcher said San Diego is getting a 250-bed mobile field hospital and a 225-bed hospital unit from the military, and is working with UC San Diego to secure an empty dormitory for patients too sick to go home, but not sick enough to remain in the hospital.

Officials also stressed that the county’s food system is safe despite five recent coronavirus cases among employees at restaurants and groceries. They said the businesses affected have compiled with all rules in reporting the cases and disinfecting facilities.

“There is no ongoing risk to the public at grocery stores or restaurants where there have been confirmed cases,” said Supervisor Greg Cox. “It is safe for you to go to the grocery store or get take-out food from restaurants.”

Updated at 5:05 p.m., Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Show comments

Chris Jennewein

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