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San Diego County removed from state Watch List; schools could reopen Sept. 1


Last updated 8/18/2020 at 4:36pm

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego County has officially been removed from the state's COVID-19 monitoring list, a county official confirmed shortly after noon Tuesday, Aug. 18, setting in motion a 14-day countdown that could see K-12 students back in the classroom as soon as Sept. 1, depending on the guidance of individual school districts.

The announcement follows six straight days of San Diego County public health officials reporting a case rate of fewer than 100 positive COVID-19 tests per 100,000 people.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that it was "very likely'' the county would come off the state's monitoring list by Tuesday.

The move's effect on businesses was unclear. The county was expecting some guidance from the state in that area later Tuesday.

The county will be placed back on the list should it be flagged for exceeding any one of six different metrics for three consecutive days. Those metrics are the case rate, the percentage of positive tests, the average number of tests a county is able to perform daily, changes in the number of hospitalized patients and the percentage of ventilators and intensive care beds available.

County health officials reported 202 new positive cases and seven deaths from the illness Tuesday, raising the region's totals to 35,162 cases and 633 deaths.

Locally, Bonsall has recorded 38 cases, Pala 59 and Fallbrook 385.

Two women and five men died between Aug. 14-16 and they ranged in age from their early 60s to early 90s.

Of the 5,584 tests reported Tuesday, 4% returned positive, lowering the 14-day rolling average to 4.1%, well below the state's 8% guideline. The 7-day rolling average of tests is 7,878 daily.

Of the total positive cases in the county, 2,890 -- or 8.2% -- have required hospitalization since the pandemic began, and 719 -- or 2% -- were admitted to an intensive care unit.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Tuesday that the city would begin allowing gyms, fitness businesses and places of worship to operate in city parks beginning Monday.

``There is no city better than San Diego to take advantage of the fact that COVID-19 has a harder time spreading outdoors. Using parks as part of our pandemic relief response will help the mental health and physical health of thousands of San Diegans,'' Faulconer said.

The county reported a rate of 89.9 positive cases per 100,000 people, along with 282 new positive cases Monday, raising the region's total to 34,960

cases. No new deaths were reported and the total number of deaths remains at 626.

``Once we come off the state monitoring list, we must keep the vigilance we've been showing,'' County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said Monday. ``This is not a finish line but a mid-point in a marathon.''

Of the 6,377 tests reported Monday, 4% returned positive, maintaining the 14-day positive testing rate at 4.3%, well below the state's target of 8% or fewer. The 7-day rolling average of tests is 7,890 daily.

Of the total positive cases in the county, 2,868 -- or 8.2% -- have required hospitalization since the pandemic began, and 716 -- or 2% -- were admitted to an intensive care unit. Just 271 people are hospitalized from COVID-19 in San Diego County, and 97 are in intensive care, a dramatic drop-off from even a week ago.

Latinos are still disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, with that ethnic group representing 62% of all hospitalizations and 45.7% of all deaths due to the illness. Latinos make up about 35% of San Diego County's population.


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