San Diego County healthcare workers conduct COVID-19 testing at SDCCU Stadium. Photo by Chris Stone

Health officials in San Diego County reported 269 new COVID-19 infections Sunday, bringing the total to 54,583 since mid-February, and two new deaths, bringing the overall fatality total to 870.

The two deaths were men reported to have died earlier this month. They ranged in age from late 60s to early 70s, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

Of the 10,819 new tests reported, 2% returned positive. The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 2.7%. The 7-day daily average of tests is 11,127.

Two new community outbreaks were confirmed, one in a health-care setting and the other in a restaurant. In the past seven days — Oct. 18 through Oct. 24 — 26 community outbreaks were confirmed.

A community outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households over the past 14 days.

Of all cases, 3,850 — or 7.1% — have required hospitalization. And 889 — or 1.6% — of all cases and 23.1% of hospitalized cases had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

On Tuesday, despite an unadjusted daily COVID-19 case rate of 7.8 per 100,000 population, the county was again able to avoid being pushed into the purple tier of California’s four-level reopening system, which would have placed indoor activities at restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and a number of other locations in jeopardy.

The state adjusted the data for the week of Oct. 4-10 down to 7 per 100,000 — the highest it can be without heading into the purple tier — due to the county’s high rates of testing. The data are reported on a one-week delay.

The state reported that the testing positivity percentage for the region increased from 3% to 3.3%, but it still remains low enough for this metric to remain in the orange tier. If a county reports statistics meeting metrics in a higher tier for two consecutive weeks, it will move into that more restrictive tier for a minimum of three weeks.

The state’s health equity metric, which looks at the testing positivity for areas with the lowest healthy conditions, dropped from 5.7 to 5.5% and remained in the red tier. This metric does not move counties backward to more restrictive tiers, but is required to advance.

— Story updated at 4:02 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020.

— City News Service

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