San Diego County officials reported Thursday the largest daily increase in coronavirus cases to date and marked the grim milestone of 100 deaths from the pandemic.
“The day to day numbers are less important than the general trend,” said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher at the county’s daily media briefing, but he acknowledged that “today is another challenging day.”
The county Health and Human Services Agency reported 152 new cases for a total 2,643 and four more deaths for a total of 100.
Fletcher noted that the jump in cases came in connection the highest number of daily tests to date — 2,255 compared to around 1,000 on most recent days. A total of 38,689 tests have been administered since the pandemic began.
The higher testing “could partly account for the higher numbers” of cases, Fletcher said.
Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said San Diego has not yet met a key metric for reopening — a downward trend in new COVID-19 cases over a 14-day period.
She said the latest victims of the disease were two women in their 70s and two men in their 60s and 70s.
Wooten said that based on new medical research, the county will need to test over 5,000 people a day to effectively monitor the spread of coronavirus. She said the current capacity is around 3,000 tests a day, though as other officials pointed out, shortages of reagents, swabs and other supplies can limit the actual number of tests completed.
To address the testing challenge, she said the county is opening second and third drive-through testing centers in Escondido and Chula Vista to supplement the one that has been operating in Mission Valley. A mobile testing van will also be used.
Wooten said the new testing centers will open in Monday to handle potential coronavirus patients referred by doctors.
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