San Diego County Crosses 1,000 COVID-19 Deaths As Hospitalizations Surge

Photo by Jacob Aere

Above: A nurse administers a COVID-19 nasal swab test at Tubman Chavez Community Center, Nov. 30, 2020.

San Diego County health officials reported 1,378 new COVID-19 infections and 22 deaths Tuesday as hospitalizations continue to surge with nearly triple the number of people hospitalized compared to a month ago.

Tuesday’s data brings the cumulative number of cases to 83,421 while the death toll crossed another milestone as it reached 1,019.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 723 coronavirus patients hospitalized as of Tuesday, with 197 of them in intensive care units. That compares to 692 reported Monday, with 180 in the ICU. That number was 671 on Sunday, 636 on Saturday, and 580 last Wednesday and Thursday.

The number of people with COVID-19 in area hospitals has nearly tripled from one month ago — 262 were hospitalized on Oct. 31.

Of the 83,421 cases logged in the county since the start of the pandemic, 4,685 — or 5.6% — have required hospitalization and 1,030 patients – – 1.2% — had to be admitted to an ICU.

The total number of people hospitalized for any reason in the county is 4,307 — which has been fairly consistent over the past several months — but the percentage of COVID-19 patients in the region’s hospitals rose from 6% a month ago to 16.8% on Tuesday.

Tuesday also marked the 21st consecutive day more than 600 new cases have been reported and the ninth day of the last 12 more than 1,000 new cases were reported — including two days over the Thanksgiving weekend with more than 1,800 new infections.

San Diego County is on a trajectory to double its number of cases in 45 days.

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A total of 15,377 tests were reported Tuesday, with 9% returning positive, raising the 14-day average to 6.3%.

A total of 17 community outbreaks were confirmed Tuesday. Over the previous seven days, 81 community outbreaks were confirmed. A community outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households over the past 14 days.

San Diego County fell deeper into the most restrictive purple tier of the state’s four-tiered reopening plan on Tuesday, with an unadjusted 30.5 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. Even with an adjusted rate of 15.3 per 100,000 due to significant testing increases by local health authorities, that number far exceeds the strictest tier’s baseline of seven daily cases per 100,000.

The testing positivity percentage is 2.3%, keeping it in the orange tier for that metric.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, advised people who traveled or hosted family and friends over the Thanksgiving weekend to get tested.

“By getting tested, people will know whether they have contracted COVID-19 and prevent spreading the virus to others,” she said. “People should also wear a face covering, maintain social distance, avoid crowds and monitor for symptoms.”

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