With San Diego County on verge of purple tier, region adds 373 COVID-19 cases

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Posted at 4:34 PM, Oct 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-18 19:34:37-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego County public health officials Sunday reported 373 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths, bringing the county's totals to 52,355 and the death toll remaining at 853.

Officials are imploring San Diegans to maintain vigilance as positive case rates for the coronavirus continue to increase in the region.

"We are now concerned about the trends and we are concerned about the likelihood we could tip back to purple, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said on Twitter today. The county is now in the red tier and the limit for the next tier is seven cases per 100,000 residents.

Fletcher pointed to positive unadjusted case rates over six days (Oct. 11-16): 6.9 out of 100,000 residents, to 7.2 to 7.3 to 7.4 to 7.7 and 7.8.

The county will be in the red, or "substantial," tier for at least another two weeks.

But Fletcher and Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten held an emergency meeting Friday to "sound the alarm" as the future case rate appears to cross into the purple tier of the state's four-tier reopening system.

With the state's monitoring system having a seven-day lag, the adjusted case rate of positive COVID-19 tests is 6.8 per 100,000 residents, up from 6.5 in the previous assessment.

Nearly all non-essential indoor businesses would close under the purple tier.

"We are still in the red tier, but it is too close for comfort," Wooten said.

The California Department of Public Health will update the county's data Tuesday.

One new community outbreak was confirmed Saturday in a business. In the past seven days, 32 community outbreaks were confirmed, well above the trigger of seven or more in a week's time.

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.

The county uses community outbreaks to get a larger sense of the pandemic locally, but the state does not include the statistic in its weekly report.

Wooten said 95% of the county's cases were not related to a marked community outbreak, a clear indicator the illness has spread throughout the county.

A total of 12,233 tests were reported to the county Saturday and the percentage of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 3%.

The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 2.7%. The target is less than 8%.

The seven-day daily average of tests is 10,573.

Of 3,763 positive cases -- or 7.2% -- have required hospitalization through Saturday.

Of 870 -- or 1.7% -- of all cases had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.