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In-Depth: South Bay hardest hit by COVID-19 Pandemic

Border zip codes rank highest in county for cases
Posted at 2:10 PM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 17:15:14-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - New statistics from San Diego County show the zip codes closest to the border have the most cases of COVID-19.

According to the County's Coronavirus Heat Map, the zip codes 92154, 91911, 91910, 92113, and 91950 are the five highest for positive tests.

Those zip codes make up the area of the County stretching along the harbor from San Ysidro through Chula Vista and National City.

Those five zip codes account for more than 21% of all the positive tests in the County.

The zip code that makes up most of San Ysidro, 92173, has the highest number of cases per capita in the County. In that zip code, one out of every 14 people has tested positive.

"We don't want these numbers to continue going up," says Adriana Bearse, the Research Program Manager for San Ysidro Health.

"When cases rise, it's not only people's health that gets affected. It's also other aspects of their lives like their job situation and their family situation."

Bearse says the Pandemic is taking a disproportionate toll on the South Bay's minority community, especially among Latinx and Hispanic populations.

"These people are working essential jobs, people who may live in multi-Generational households, and also people who may not necessarily have as much access to other resources as other people in the community," she says.

That includes less access to quality health care, food assistance, and financial assistance. The lack of help leads to more cases and more deaths.

County records show 50% of San Diego's COVID-19-related deaths are among Hispanic or Latinx people, even though they make up just 34% of the County's total population.

It's starting to take a toll on the South Bay healthcare system.

At Sharp Chula Vista, the ICU in their brand new tower is 85% full. Of those patients, 38% are either COVID-positive or under investigation for COVID-related illness.

Emergency Doctor Karrar Ali says it's overwhelming to think about what could happen in the next few months if cases keep rising.

"If the prediction is that this is going to be another second or third or fourth wave, I don't know if anyone's going to be prepared," he says.

Healthcare workers in the South Bay are finding some solutions.

Dr. Ali says sometimes it's as simple as reminding everyone to wear a mask and social distance.

Bearse says San Ysidro Health has several outreach, discount, and educational programs available. One, "Testing With Care," offers a free telehealth visit to anyone who gets a COVID-19 test.

"That way, we can help walk the person through all these follow up items that are needed," she says. "We also make sure they can get follow-up care if they get a positive test."

Healthcare workers also remind people in the South Bay to get a flu shot so local clinics and hospitals don't get overwhelmed by a double pandemic this fall.