San Diego County risks “going backward” on reopening as public health officials on Wednesday reported 264 new coronavirus cases and six more deaths.
“We are at a critical juncture in our battle against this pandemic,” said Supervisor Greg Cox at a media briefing. “As we have reopened, we have seen cases rise again. And now we are at the risk of going backward into more restrictions as mandated by the state’s new color-coded tier system.”
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 goes back to Tier 1, the “purple” or widespread infection classification with new restrictions.
If the county moves back to “widespread” tier, it would have to close indoor operations at restaurants, houses of worship and gyms, while limiting retail businesses to just 25% capacity.
Cox said the county has asked the state not to include the recent outbreak among San Diego State University students to give the county “a fighting chance to avoid further restrictions.”
“We think there’s justification for not including those numbers,” he said. “We hope to be successful in convincing the folks up in Sacramento.”
But earlier Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he wasn’t inclined to overlook the SDSU cases because the campus “is part of the larger community.”
There have been nearly 700 cases among SDSU students since the fall semester began, but the infection rate is slowing. And the entire county has seen fewer than 300 new cases a day since Saturday.
On Wednesday, out of 8,644 test results received in the past day, 3.1% were positive, and the 14-day rolling average of positive tests ticked down to 4.4%.
Six new deaths were reported, following nine on Tuesday. The gender and ages of the latest victims were not immediately released.
There were five new community outbreaks — two at businesses, and one each at a grocery, private home and faith-based organization — for a total of 17 over the past week.
Since the first local case in March, there have been 944,469 tests performed in San Diego County, resulting in 43,445 cases and 748 deaths.
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