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SD County reports more than 600 coronavirus cases for the first time


Last updated 7/19/2020 at 11:22am

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The number of daily COVID-19 cases in San Diego

County has crossed 600 for the second time as the number of total cases rose to

23,114, officials said.

County public health officials reported 625 new cases Saturday and six

additional deaths, raising the death count to 478.

Of the six deaths, four were women and two were men. They died between

July 8 and 16 and ranged in age from 60 to mid-90s. All had underlying

health conditions.

The county recorded 10,290 tests Saturday, 6% of which returned

positive. Saturday's test numbers were the second-highest reported during the

pandemic, trailing only Friday's figures. The 14-day rolling average is now 6%.

The state's target is below 8% positive test rate.

One new community outbreak was identified, in a healthcare setting on

July 10. In the past seven days, 17 community outbreaks were identified. The

number of community outbreaks remains more than double the trigger of seven or

more in seven days.

A community outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a

setting and in people of different households.

Of the total positive cases, 2,180 -- or 9.4% -- have been

hospitalized and 567 -- or 2.5% -- of cases have been admitted to an intensive

care unit.

A new record of 153.2 of every 100,000 San Diegans are testing

positive for the illness as of Thursday's data, well above the state's

criterion of 100 per 100,000.

The last metric the county has failed to maintain is the percentage of

cases that have been handled by a contact investigator within 24 hours of

it being reported. There are more than 500 investigators employed by the

county, and although 98% of all cases had been investigated in that time frame

as recently as June 25, that rate has dropped to a dismal 37%. The county

metric is to reach 71% of new cases in a day's span.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County's public health officer, said in

response to these flagging rates, the county is attempting to hire more contact

investigators. In just a three-hour period after the job posting went online

Wednesday, more than 300 applications came in.

To help the South Bay increase testing capability, the county Health

and Human Services Agency and County Board of Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox

opened a new testing site in Imperial Beach Thursday morning.

The free, drive-up testing site is in the parking lot of Mar Vista

High School, at 505 Elm Ave. The site will offer up to 185 appointments per


This new location brings the total number to six testing sites in

South County and is part of the County's South Bay Saturation strategy.

Additional testing sites are located in San Ysidro, two in Chula Vista and two

in National City.

The number of cases continues to rise in people between the ages of 20

and 49 and particularly in people in their 20s, prompting the county to

make efforts at educating younger people.

San Diego residents between 20 and 29 years old account for 25% of the

county's cases, the highest percentage of any age group, according to

county data.

``While it's true that the mortality for younger people is lower, it's

also true that the rate is not zero,'' said Dr. Scott Eisman, pulmonologist

at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas. ``The complications from this illness

are far greater, much longer lasting and far more serious than the flu.''

Eisman said in studies of the outbreaks of SARS and MERS -- other

coronaviruses -- people who had the disease and showed symptoms sometimes

didn't regain original lung capacity until a year or longer after the symptoms


``All indications lead us to expect it to be at least as serious as

those diseases and much more aggressive,'' he said, adding that even otherwise

healthy people could see months of complications from the illness.

Eisman also said heart attacks, strokes and serious blood clots were

increasing among younger people confirmed to have COVID-19. A total of 58% of

those confirmed to have the disease in the county were between the ages of 20

and 49.

Following Gov. Gavin Newsom's updated health order Monday, all indoor

operations ceased at midnight Tuesday in gyms, houses of worship, non-critical

office businesses, hair salons and barber shops, indoor malls and personal care

services, such as massage businesses and tattoo parlors.

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club canceled its racing program for Saturday

and today after 15 jockeys recently tested positive for COVID-19. Racing is

slated to resume July 24.


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