SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego officials will request that Gov. Gavin Newsom discount coronavirus cases in San Diego State students from the county's case rate.
Supervisor Greg Cox said the county will send a letter to the governor formally asking that the state not include SDSU's case numbers in the county's total coronavirus case rate.
Gov. Newsom said during a press conference Wednesday that he will not allow San Diego County to do that.
"You can't isolate, as if it's on an island, the campus community that is part of a larger community. So the answer is no," Newsom said in regards to whether he would consider a special exemption for the county.
Tuesday, County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said during a Board of Supervisors meeting that if the campus' cases were removed from the equation, the county's case rate would be lower.
As of Monday, SDSU reported 667 confirmed cases and nine probable cases.
According to county Medical Director Dr. Eric McDonald, less than 10 coronavirus cases have been directly linked to the campus. Of those, McDonald said three cases are county residents with direct connections with SDSU students and four non-county residents with direct connections to students.
McDonald added that the county is aware of four residential outbreaks related to SDSU students in the College Area, but there have not been any other outbreaks in other settings related to students.
"The reality is, the number of cases in ICU and hospitalizations is not being impacted because of those cases from SDSU," Cox said. "We think there's justification for not including those numbers from SDSU and, frankly, other campuses in San Diego as they reopen."
San Diego County public health officials voice worried that the region could be moved back a tier after registering at least one week's worth of data in California's most stringent reopening tier.
While the county's testing positivity has sat in the third tier (orange) for two weeks now, in the last week, the county's case rate has crossed above the 7.0 cases per 100,000 residents threshold. Wednesday, county health officials said the region was at a 4.5% testing positivity and 7.9 cases per 100,000 people.
Under the state's guidance, a county only needs to register above a threshold in at least one metric for two weeks to be pushed back a tier, while to move up, the county needs to meet both metrics for 14 consecutive days.
"At a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least 3 weeks before moving forward ... To move forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks. If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned a more restrictive tier," the state's website says.
If San Diego is required to move back to California's first business reopening tier, businesses would need to adjust to more restrictive capacity levels. More detailed information by county and business type can be found at https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy.