ESCONDIDO — A recent review of public records by KPBS shows that the highest number of coronavirus outbreaks in November across the region happened in Escondido, with 51 outbreaks and 177 COVID-19 cases in just one month.
The records reviewed by KPBS include 1,006 outbreak records during the first nine months of the pandemic, but only specific case counts for the month of November.
An outbreak is defined as having three or more people with COVID-19, who aren’t in the same household, at the same place within a 14-day period.
According to the county’s website, outbreaks are identified through contact tracing.
“We interview all cases about their activities during the two weeks prior to their illness onset,” the county’s website says. “They may mention places they worked, shopped, visited, went to church, attended a gathering, etc.”
Countywide, at least 252 outbreaks occurred in nursing homes, jails, rehab facilities and shelters, at least 208 outbreaks occurred in restaurants and at least 125 outbreaks occurred in large retail and grocery stores.
At least 205 outbreaks occurred in businesses with services like pet care, banking and shipping.
At least 30 outbreaks occurred at religious organizations since March. In November, these outbreaks had a combined case count of at least 187, almost half of those coming from Awaken Church, which has received two cease-and-desist orders but continues to hold indoor services.
Awaken Church opened its second North County location in San Marcos last month.
In Escondido, at least 89 cases were identified at Vista Del Lago Memory Care, an assisted living facility, in November alone, and another 15 cases at Cypress Court, a retirement community.
Victory Church in Escondido had seven cases in November, while six cases were reported at St. Mary Catholic Church. Resurrection Catholic Church had five cases in November, which was its second outbreak since March.
Sixteen cases were reported at a local Target, and seven cases were reported at San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Currently, Escondido Post Acute Rehab, a senior living facility, has 111 residents and 70 health care workers who have coronavirus, making this their second outbreak since March.
According to the report, Escondido, specifically the 92029 ZIP code, had the highest number of cases linked to outbreaks in November.
This report marks the first time since the beginning of the pandemic that this much COVID-19 data has been available to the public.
County officials denied more detailed public records requests by multiple news organizations, including The Coast News, and other public interest groups. Instead providing data that only listed outbreaks by category such as “bar/restaurant” or “business.”
Other jurisdictions, including Los Angeles County, make their outbreak information public.