Village News - Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

By Will Fritz
Staff Writer 

Fallbrook reports 41 new coronavirus infections, drops to 30th-lowest infection rate


Last updated 7/2/2020 at 6:05pm

Village News/Shane Gibson photo

Mary Polopolus receives a nasal swab test for COVID-19 during the first of three testing operations at 1636 E. Mission Road, June 30. The next free COVID-19 testing dates will be on July 14 and July 28.

The Fallbrook area is no longer even in the top 20 ZIP codes in San Diego County with the lowest rates of coronavirus infection amid a spike in cases and hospitalizations across Southern California.

The increase in cases across the region prompted officials to pause any additional reopenings through at least Aug. 1, and to order all bars, breweries and wineries to close at midnight the morning of Wednesday, July 1.

Last week, the 92028 ZIP code – which covers Fallbrook, Rainbow and De Luz – had the 14th-lowest infection rate in the county, with 63 recorded coronavirus cases or about 130 cases per 100,000. As of press time Tuesday, June 30, however, 92028 had dropped to 30th place, having recorded 41 new infections in a seven-day span, according to county data. The Fallbrook area now has 215.4 cases per 100,000.

That's still a lower per capita rate than areas like San Ysidro, which has recorded infections among as many as 1 out of every 100 residents. But Fallbrook has fallen leagues behind other ZIP codes in Chula Vista, Carlsbad, some suburban areas of the city of San Diego and many other places across the county.

As of press time, Scripps Ranch's 92131 ZIP code had the lowest infection rate in San Diego County, with 130.7 cases per 100,000, or 47 total cases.

Bonsall's 92003 ZIP code recorded one additional case in the last week, for a total of nine – still too low for the county to estimate an infection rate.

On June 29, county public health officials reported a single-day record

of 498 new positive COVID-19 cases, the fifth straight day of more than 400 new cases and a new daily high for the sixth time in a week. The COVID-19 case total in the county is now 13,832.

Of the 6,908 tests reported June 29, 7% returned positive. The percentage of positive tests has increased sharply over the last four days, raising the county's rolling 14-day average to 4.1% of positive tests.

With no new deaths reported June 29, that number remains at 361.

Additionally, the number of patients in the hospital due to COVID-19 has risen from 326 one week ago to 458 Monday, including 178 in intensive care – a gain of 26 patients compared to June 21.

Of confirmed cases, 55% were people between the ages of 20 and 49; 22% were in their 20s.

As the region faces another holiday weekend in which large gatherings are traditional, officials hope dialing back what can be open will help slow the spread of the virus.

"We simply cannot celebrate July 4 as we have in the past,'' County Supervisor Greg Cox said Monday.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher echoed Cox's comments, adding that if cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, we could head back into near-total lockdown.

"It's certainly a possibility, but the worst-case scenario for our region," he said Monday. "We cannot do this alone. We can't stop (the spread of the illness), but we want to slow it. It's better if we can take incremental steps to dial things back.''

As the county orders bars, breweries and wineries without food licenses to close, other businesses that serve food and alcohol may have some more restrictions as well. Starting July 1, customers purchasing alcohol on-site must also purchase food, and both drinks and food must be consumed sitting down.

Fletcher said this is because bars tend to be "purely social" environments with people from many different households mingling in close proximity to one another.

With Independence Day this Saturday, the officials also reminded residents that gatherings were still against public health orders and urged people not to throw parties – indoor or outdoor – in celebration.

"The pandemic is not over," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County's public health officer. "The virus is still pervasive in our communities. Please don't throw dinner or house parties.''

In the past seven days, seven community outbreaks were identified, including two in restaurants reported Monday, officials said. The number of community outbreaks is above the threshold set by the county, which established 13 "triggers" that could set back reopenings.

Wooten, suggesting how long the COVID-19 pandemic could impact the region, said it may not be safe for people to have gatherings at their homes "until sometime next year."

Sunday, June 28, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all bars to close in seven counties, including Los Angeles County, and recommended that eight other counties close their bars as well to limit the rapid spread of coronavirus.

The eight other counties included Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

San Diego County was not included in either list.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at [email protected]

City News Service contributed to this report.


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