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San Diego County's community COVID-19 outbreaks rise to 10 in a week

Virus Outbreak California
Posted at 3:37 PM, Jun 22, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego County will launch a new public awareness campaign this week on COVID-19 as the number of community coronavirus outbreaks increased by three, to a total of 10 in the past seven days, officials reported Monday.

Two other triggers involving the growth of new cases and the positivity rate of tests are "not moving in the right direction," said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

"These are concerning numbers," Fletcher said. "They're concerning because they clearly represent an increase in community spread and number of cases tied to our reopening and the fact that more people are out doing more things."

The county says there are currently 59 active community outbreaks, including 17 in skilled nursing facilities, 20 in non-skilled nursing facilities, and 22 in community settings.

The three new outbreaks were traced to construction, retail manufacturing, and retail businesses in different parts of the county, according to Dr. Eric McDonald, the medical director of the county Health and Human Services Agency's Epidemiology and Immunization Branch.

RELATED: How San Diego County officials monitor coronavirus trends

McDonald provided more context to the outbreaks, adding that all outbreaks to date except for two have included 10 or fewer people — including the three newest outbreaks.

He also said that no outbreaks have been related to recent demonstrations around the county.

A community outbreak is considered three or more cases from the same place.

The county will launch a public education campaign involving a new infographic on the use of facial coverings beginning this week, said county Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten.

Last week, county leaders paused any further reopenings even if approved by the state after the region exceeded its community outbreak limit.

"We're not closing anything down," Dr. Wooten told reporters Monday in response to the new outbreaks.

Wooten says that specific businesses could be closed until they adhere to proper control, much like Pacific Beach's El Prez was closed by the county for violating public health orders.

RELATED: San Diego County pauses future reopenings after hitting community outbreak trigger

"There are actions still that we will take, particularly if they're restaurants where we see primarily our community outbreaks, and again we would not shut down the entire restaurant industry. But we would work with those restaurants that have associated outbreaks," Wooten said.

She reiterated that the county's response to outbreaks is to focus on education, get the word out about what practices need to be in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and follow procedures to address an outbreak at a specific facility.

Monday, San Diego County reported 302 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the region's total to 11,096 cases. No new deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 338.