County case rate drops slightly
(Sept. 29) San Diego County’s new adjusted case rate dropped from 6.9 to 6.7 cases per 100,000 residents and the region will remain in the Red Tier, or Tier Two, of the state’s COVID-19 risk levels, the California Department of Public Health announced today.
The decrease in the region’s case rate means that indoor dining and other operations can continue under the Tier Two guidelines they currently need to follow.
Reopening tiers are based on a county’s case rate and testing positivity percentage.
The County’s positivity percentage, now 3.5%, has been below the 4.9% that qualifies it for the Orange Tier, or Tier Three, since the state adopted the new ranking system. However, the state goes with the more restrictive measure to assign tiers.
The County cannot move into the Orange Tier until its case rate is below 3.9 cases per every 100,000 residents for two consecutive weeks. That would require the region to report an average of 140 or fewer cases each day.
COVID-19 spread in the region remains substantial and a concern. That’s why health officials stressed the need for local residents to continue using a face covering, maintaining physical distance, washing their hands and taking other preventive measures to keep bringing both metrics down.
“These prevention strategies can help reduce the case rate and testing positivity percentage,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer, during a COVID-19 update at the Board of Supervisors meeting. “I encourage all San Diegans to please continue to do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
The California Department of Public Health assesses counties on a weekly basis, and the next report is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 6.
County to Expand COVID-19 Testing
The County announced today it will be increasing the number of COVID-19 testing sites across the region to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The number of sites will increase from 29 to 41 and the number of tests available to be administered by public health nurses through the County’s lab contract with Helix will nearly double to about 30,000 weekly tests.
Testing by the County of school employees will take place at four regional locations the County identified through consultation with the San Diego County Office of Education. Testing of teachers and staff is recommended by the state for schools preparing to reopen for in-person instruction.
COVID-19 testing continues to be primarily conducted at hospitals, with additional tests from commercial labs and community health centers.
Testing is available through your healthcare provider and health plans are required to cover the cost. Many County sites no longer require an appointment, but others do. To make an appointment, visit www.211sandiego.org or call 2-1-1.
CDC grant supports local flu vaccination
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors today voted to accept $198,000 in grant funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support flu vaccination efforts – this flu season and next – for racial and ethnic groups experiencing disparities in vaccination rates.
Flu vaccination is especially important this season given the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. A flu shot can help to decrease the risk of getting the flu and COVID-19, both of which are respiratory illnesses.
Outdoor playgrounds will open
The state has released guidelines to allow for the reopening of outdoor playgrounds in parks, campgrounds and other publicly accessible locations.
The County local health order will be updated to reflect the new guidelines which go into effect locally Sept. 30. They include:
- Use of face coverings for everyone 2 years and older; children must be accompanied by a caregiver.
- Physical distance must be maintained, and children must be from the same household.
- No eating or drinking in playground, to ensure face masks are worn.
- Wash or sanitize hands before and after using the playground.
- Limit visit to 30 minutes per day when others are present.
Community setting outbreaks:
- Three new community outbreaks were confirmed on Sept. 28: one a business setting, one in a recreation center and one in a hotel/resort/spa setting.
- In the past seven days (Sept. 21 through Sept. 28), 20 community outbreaks were confirmed.
- The number of community outbreaks remains above the trigger of seven or more in seven days.
- A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households over the past 14 days.
- 8,997 tests were reported to the County on Sept. 28 and the percentage of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 3%.
- The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 3.1%. Target is less than 8.0%.
- The 7-day, daily average of tests is 8,555.
- People with and without symptoms who are at higher risk for COVID-19 should be tested. Health care and essential workers should also get a test, as well as people who had close contact to a positive case or live in communities that are being highly impacted.
- 251 new cases were confirmed among San Diego County residents on Sept. 28. The region’s total is now 46,985.
- Three of the 251 new cases are connected to San Diego State University.
- 3,515 or 7.5% of cases have required hospitalization through Sept. 28.
- 817 or 1.7% of all cases and 23.2% of hospitalized cases had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.
- Five new COVID-19 deaths were reported in San Diego County on Sept. 28. The region’s total is now 781.
- Three men and two women died Sept. 26, and their ages ranged from late 20s to mid-80s.
- Four had underlying medical conditions and the status for the fifth is pending.