The county’s demotion from the less-restrictive red tier is the result of two weeks of case rates that exceeded the threshold of 7 per 100,000 residents. In recent weeks, the region had an unadjusted rate well above the purple tier guidelines, but a significant effort to increase the volume of tests had allowed for an adjustment to bring it back to the red, or substantial, tier. Testing has decreased slightly and case numbers are on the rise.
State officials reported Tuesday that San Diego County had an unadjusted new daily coronavirus case rate of 10.0 per 100,000. The adjusted case rate dropped to 8.9 per 100,000. Last week’s unadjusted case rate was 8.7 per 100,000.
Indoor operations in locations such as restaurants, museums, places of worship, breweries and retail businesses will have to either close entirely, move to outdoor operations only or modify in other ways.
Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said retail operations, including indoor shopping centers, will be limited to 25% of building capacity, down from the current 50%. Schools, unless they have already restarted in-person learning, will be restricted to distance learning. K-12 schools already in session can continue, Wooten said.
According to the reopening plan, a county has to report data exceeding a more restrictive tier’s guidelines for two consecutive weeks before being moved to that tier. A county then has to be in that tier for a minimum of three weeks before it may move to a less restrictive tier.
It is unknown when these restrictions will go into effect. Wooten and county health officials were expected to offer an update at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Even as the number of cases continues to climb, the testing positivity rate for the region continues a decline. From last week’s data, it dropped to 2.6%, a 8% decline. It still remains high 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 least healthy conditions, increased from 5.3% to 6.5% and remained in the red tier. This metric does not move counties backward to more restrictive tiers, but is required to advance.
The state data reflect the previous week’s case numbers to determine where counties stand.
San Diego County health officials reported 401 new COVID-19 infections Monday, raising the region’s total to 60,570 cases. No new deaths were reported Monday and the death toll remained at 908.
Of the 10,608 tests reported Monday 4% returned positive, raising the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 3.5%.
Of the total number of cases in the county, 4,062 — or 6.7% — have required hospitalization and 938 patients — or 1.5% of all cases — had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.
Three new community outbreaks were reported Monday, two in restaurant/bar settings and one in a business setting.
Over the previous seven days, 39 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.