San Diego County not named to state's watch list, but leaders warn it may happen soon

Virus Outbreak California
Posted at 3:45 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 16:33:02-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Despite not being on the state's watch list, San Diego County leaders warn it could be a matter of days before the region joins 19 other counties being monitored for rising coronavirus cases.

Wednesday, County leaders and health officials mapped out the path that will result in the county avoiding or making California's County Monitoring List.

"We have to really recommit and refocus ourselves to adapting to the reality we face," Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.

Under the state's metrics, counties are placed on the list after any one of the following thresholds is met for three days in a row:

  • Average number of tests per day is less than 150 per 100,000 residents
  • Case rate over 14 days per 100,000 residents is greater than 100 cases OR greater than 25 cases with a 7-day percent of testing positivity equal or above 8%
  • Greater than 10% increase in three-day average of COVID-19 hospitalized patients
  • Less than 20% of ICU beds available or less than 25% or ventilator available

San Diego County crossed the case rate metric on June 30 with 105 cases per 100,000 residents. Here are San Diego County's numbers as of Wednesday:

RELATED: California orders watch list counties to stop indoor operations, close bars amid surge in COVID-19 cases

According to the county's Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, on the first day a county is above a threshold the state will flag the region. On the second and third days, the state and county will have conversations on mitigation strategies.

If after three straight days a county remains above any threshold — or combination thereof — that county is then placed on California's watch list. The county would then have to be on the watch list for another three consecutive days before it would have to adopt the state measures put in place Wednesday.

Wednesday, the state ordered counties on the watch list to stop indoor operations for sectors including restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, and cardrooms. Bars in these counties were also ordered to stop all operations.

RELATED: New restrictions placed on bars, restaurants in San Diego County amid coronavirus

Assuming the county's current numbers do not change, that could place the county under the new health orders starting on July 6.

The state's guidelines are effective for at least three weeks, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Wooten said she anticipates that the county could be added to the watch list by the weekend if case trends continue.

Local officials are urging everyone that the easiest way to avoid being placed on the watch list is to continue to social distance, wear a facial covering, and only associate within their household members.

San Diego County was the only Southern California county not required by the state to take action Wednesday. Because the counties surrounding San Diego are on the watch list, leaders this week enacted a restaurant curfew this week and ordered bars that do not sell food to close.

RELATED: San Diego County to close bars that don't serve food ahead of July 4 to slow COVID-19 spread

The region had crossed two triggers to roll back public health orders as of Wednesday, with 13 community outbreaks in the last seven days (limit is seven in a week) and 69% of case investigations started within 24 hours over the last week (limit is 70% or less of investigations initiated within 24 hours of notification over a 7-day period).

San Diego County reported 474 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the region's total to 14,623 cases.