A new drive-up testing site was opened in Imperial Beach on Thursday. Image from County News Center video

The Health and Human Services Agency reported 294 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday as San Diego County edged toward moving back to the “widespread” infection tier with most other large urban counties.

The weekly case rate calculated by the California Department of Public Health is 7.9 per 100,000 population, up from 6.9 last Tuesday. If the rate stays above 7.0 next Tuesday, then San Diego County moves back to Tier 1, the “purple” or widespread infection classification with new restrictions.

The county is currently in the red tier, along with Orange, San Francisco, Marin, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. Most of the rest of Southern California is in the purple tier. The state system has four tiers and assesses counties weekly, with reports scheduled each Tuesday.

Out of 5,969 test results received in the past day, 4.9% were positive, and the 14-day-rolling average of positive tests ticked up to 4.5%.

The county reported that 23 of the new cases were among students at San Diego State University, which as seen 694 cases since the semester began Aug. 24.

Nine more deaths from COVID-19 were reported. The latest victims of the pandemic disease were six men and three women aged from their early 50s to mid-90s. All had underlying medical conditions.

Four new community outbreaks were reported, including two at restaurants, one in a business and one in a grocery. There have been 15 outbreaks over the past week.

Since the first local case in March, there have been 935,825 tests performed in San Diego County, resulting in 43,181 cases and 742 deaths.

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Chris Jennewein

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