San Diego reports more than 400 daily cases of COVID-19, triggering hospitalizations

A man walking in the pond in Balboa Park on June 14, 2020, the first weekend ...

Alexander Nguyen photo

Above: A man walking by the pond in Balboa Park on June 14, 2020, the first weekend in Balboa Park reopened after the coronavirus closed.

For the fourth time in a week, San Diego County public health officials reported a record number of daily COVID-19 cases, with 440 new positive cases recorded on Friday.

It is the fifth time in six days that health authorities reported more than 300 new cases of COVID-19 and the first day with new cases exceeding 400. The total number of cases registered since the pandemic began is now 12,401, And with six additional deaths reported on Friday, the number of deaths increased to 358.

Of those deaths, four men and two women died between June 13 and 24, and ranged in age from the late 1950s to the mid-1990s. All had underlying medical conditions.

The county recorded 6,824 COVID-19 tests Friday, of which 6% tested positive. The 14-day moving average positive test rate is 3.4%.

More than 300 cases were reported on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week.

Another outbreak in the community was reported Friday at a business, bringing the number reported in the past week to six, falling below the county-established threshold in a set of 13 “triggers” announced earlier this month by first time since June 18.

Community-broadcast COVID-19 outbreaks activated one of those triggers on that date, pausing any further openings allowed by the state.

The county could take industry-specific actions, pause all reopening efforts, or even delay reopens if enough metrics exceed a certain threshold. The threshold for community outbreaks, defined as three or more laboratory-confirmed cases from different households, was less than seven within a week.

A “modest increase” in the number of hospitalizations and ICU visits also worries officials.

On Friday, the county pulled a trigger to increase hospitalization. The trigger is activated when there is a more than 10% increase in the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the past three days.

“The sense of community that we gathered at the beginning of this to slow down the spread is the same that we need to convene now,” county supervisor Nathan Fletcher said Wednesday. “It is natural to see the spread when things start to reopen. What we want to avoid is an exponential spread.”

Fletcher said individual elections to do everything possible to prevent the spread would be vital in the coming weeks. Frequent hand washing, the use of face covers in public, and social distancing would continue to make a difference in how quickly the disease spreads throughout the community.

Fletcher and his wife, Assemblywoman Lorena González, announced Thursday afternoon that they will be quarantined due to possible exposure to the coronavirus.

“We were notified today that we had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19,” Fletcher and González said in a joint statement Thursday. “While we have both tested negative and have no symptoms, we will follow the public health guidelines of a 14-day quarantine for those who have been in contact with a positive case.”

Among those who have contracted the disease in the San Diego region, 1,706 – or 13.8% – have required hospitalization. A total of 466 patients, representing 3.8% of all cases and 27.3% of hospitalized cases, have been admitted to an intensive care unit.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said a significant increase in cases could be traced back to the aftermath of the opening of restaurants, churches that allow services, and massive protests calling for police reform.


San Diego News Matters podcast mark

The KPBS daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, the environment, the border, and more. New episodes are ready on weekday mornings for you to listen to on your morning commute.

To view PDF documents, download Acrobat Reader.