Coronavirus survivor Steve Padilla speaks at the county press briefing. Image from livestream

San Diego County reported 330 new coronavirus cases and four more deaths Wednesday as a high-profile survivor warned the disease is “not a hoax.”

Steve Padilla, a member of the Chula Vista City Council and chair of the California Coastal Commission, joined the county’s weekly news conference to urge residents to take the virus seriously.

Padilla, who contracted the virus in March, described his ordeal in the intensive care unit at UC San Diego Medical Center, where he was placed on a ventilator, went into a coma, and lost 30 pounds over 12 days.

“The virus nearly took my life…That experience is deeply emotional and personal,” he said. “This is real. It’s not a hoax…We must listen to the medical professionals.”

Padilla spoke a day after the county again narrowly avoided moving from the “substantial” red tier to the “widespread” purple tier in the state’s weekly ranking.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said a high rate of testing — now averaging well over 11,000 daily — is what is keeping the county from new restrictions.

“We are holding steady in San Diego County — that is much better than many places around the country and the world,” Fletcher said. “But the reality is that we cannot let our guard down.”

Officials reported Wednesday that out of 11,116 test results received in the past day, 3.0% were positive, and the 14-day rolling average of positive tests remained at 2.7%.

There were 13 new community outbreaks for a total of 31 over the past week.

The latest victims of COVID-19 were three women and one man aged from their early 70s to mid-80s. All had underlying medical conditions.

Since the first local case in March, 1,405,924 tests have been performed in San Diego County, resulting in 55,540 cases and 881 deaths.

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Chris Jennewein

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