A San Diego County health nurse helps a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 testing site. REUTERS/Mike Blake

San Diego County reported 1,052 new COVID-19 infections and eight additional deaths Thursday, raising the region’s totals to 76,357 cases and 996 deaths.

Local health officials also said 37 more people were hospitalized with the virus for a total of 4,507. Five more were placed in intensive care, increasing that number to 1,011.

It was the 16th consecutive day that more than 600 new cases were reported. A record-high 1,546 cases were announced on Tuesday.

A total of 20,738 tests were reported Wednesday and 5% of those came back positive, bringing the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 5.3%, according to San Diego Public Health Services.

A total of 10 new community outbreaks were confirmed Wednesday, four in business settings, two in restaurant/bar settings, one in a government setting, one in a distribution warehouse setting, one in a retail setting and one in a higher education setting. Over the previous seven days, 76 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.

San Diego County fell deeper into the most restrictive purple tier of the state’s four-tiered reopening plan Tuesday with an unadjusted 21.5 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. Even with an adjusted rate of 13.1 per 100,000 due to significant testing increases by local health authorities, that number far exceeds the strictest tier’s baseline of seven daily cases per 100,000.

The testing positivity percentage is 3.1%, placing it in Tier 3 or the Orange Tier for that metric.

The county’s health equity metric, which looks at the testing positivity for areas with the lowest healthy conditions, is 9.3% and is in the Purple Tier. This metric does not move counties to more restrictive tiers but is required to advance to a less restrictive tier.

— City News Service

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