A staff member at the Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine at UC San Diego Health prepares samples for testing of COVID-19. Courtesy UC San Diego

An additional 78 cases of coronavirus disease were reported by San Diego County health officials on Monday, but there were new new deaths from the pandemic.

Total cases rose to 1,404 and the number of deaths remained at 19 in the lastest afternoon briefing during the health crisis.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said key statistics such as cases and hospitalizations continue to double every 5.2 to 5.7 days.

By comparison, the doubling time in New York in late March was approximately every 3 days. New York has since become the epicenter of the pandemic with the most cases and deaths.

Dr. Eric McDonald, the county’s medical director of epidemiology, urged residents to maintain social distancing and other protective measures, saying they are having an impact.

“All of these actions are in fact, we know, bending the curve and will save lives,” he said.

Health officials say that slowing the rate of increase in cases will prevent the local hospital system from being overwhelmed and running out of ventilators and other key supplies.

Fletcher announced that in response to public requests the county will begin releasing case numbers by race and ethnicity. Monday’s numbers, excluding 405 cases in which race was not identified, showed that 49% of positive cases occurred in white individuals, 31% in Latinos, 10% in Asians, and 6% among African Americans.

“This tracks very closely with the broader demographics of the county,” Fletcher said.

Updated at 6:10 p.m. on Monday, April 6, 2020

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