County remains in Red Tier

A County public health nurse administers a COVID-19 test. (County of San Diego Communications Office)

County remains in Red Tier

(Oct. 20) While the local COVID-19 adjusted case rate rose today from 6.8 to 7.0 per every 100,000, increased testing in the region once again helped to keep this metric in the Red Tier and the County from moving into the most restrictive Purple Tier.

The positive adjustment is given by the State of California to counties that are testing at higher levels than the state’s median. That adjustment prevented the County from landing in the Purple Tier, which would have placed indoor activities at restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and a number of other locations in jeopardy.

“Remaining in the Red Tier is good news, but the new adjusted rate is not. The new figure clearly shows the region is not moving the right direction,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “It is extremely important San Diegans follow the local health guidance to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep the region from falling into the Purple Tier.”

The County’s COVID-19 unadjusted case rate for the week of Oct. 4 through Oct. 10, increased from 7.2 to 7.8 per every 100,000 residents.

County health officials continue to encourage San Diegans to be vigilant and to take all the recommended actions to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Using a face covering, maintaining your distance, washing your hands and avoiding crowded places all help to prevent the spread of the virus,” Wooten said. “At the moment, these actions are the best tool we have to bring our numbers down and keep the region from having to follow more restrictive guidance.”

While the testing positivity percentage for the region also increased from 3.0 percent to 3.3 percent, it remains low enough for this metric to remain in the Orange Tier.

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 percent and remained in the Red Tier. This metric does not move counties backward to more restrictive tiers, but is required to advance.

Community Setting Outbreaks:

  • Five new community outbreaks were confirmed on Oct. 19: two in businesses, one in a restaurant/bar setting, one in a K-12 school setting and one in a faith-based setting.
  • In the past seven days (Oct. 13 through Oct. 19), 30 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.


  • 9,110 tests were reported to the County on 1Oct. 9, and the percentage of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 3%.
  • The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 2.8%. Target is less than 8.0%.
  • The 7-day, daily average of tests is 10,617.
  • 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.


  • 265 new cases were confirmed among San Diego County residents on Oct. 19. The region’s total is now 53,000.
  • 3,788 or 7.1% of all cases have required hospitalization.
  • 876 or 1.7% of all cases and 23.1% of hospitalized cases had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.


  • Four new COVID-19 deaths were reported in San Diego County on Oct. 19. The region’s total is now 857.
  • Four men died between Oct. 11 and Oct. 18, and their ages ranged from mid-50s to early 80s.
  • All had underlying medical conditions.
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