Adolescents in Coronado Among Highest COVID-19 Infection Rate in San Diego County

New data shows the coastal city has second-highest infection rate for 10 to 19 year-olds, second only to Pauma in rural San Diego County

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The city of Coronado has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates throughout the county, except for one vulnerable age group, those aged between 10 to 19 years old. 

In that category, according to newly released data from the county of San Diego, the upscale coastal city has the second-highest infection rate for adolescents, just behind the rural North East community of Pauma.

And while Coronado has only reported only 159 total cases, the age groups of who have been most at risk of contracting the virus are striking. 

According to county data, as of August 18 pre-teens and teenagers had an infection rate of 1,345 for 10-19-year-olds out of every 100,000 people. 

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That number is higher than neighboring cities in the South Bay where COVID-19 has hit residents especially hard. 

For instance, in Chula Vista, the infection rate for 10-19 year-olds was tallied at 945 out of every 100,000. In National City, that number was at 1,126 per 100,000 residents. In fact, as a whole Coronado outpaces all of the South Bay where infections for the same age group are 1,340 out of every 100,000.

Charts courtesy of County of San Diego

However, for all other age groups, infection rates in the city of Coronado remain relatively low for those age groups under 70.

For people over 70, Coronado has lower infection rates than it’s South Bay neighbors, but higher than other coastal communities. 

Chart from County of San Diego.

The city of Coronado was not the quickest to act in regards to closing public beaches, parks, and making sure restaurants and bars adhered to the health order.

Coronado was also the last city aside from Oceanside to keep beaches open. 

In regards to enforcement, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the city did not take action against local restaurants that refused to follow COVID-19 guidelines.

Coronado City Councilmember Mike Donovan says despite an initial hesitation to close beaches and parks, the city has done a good job of ensuring the safety of residents. 

“We probably stayed open a little longer than we should have,” said Donovan who voted to close beaches and city parks before the county had implemented its public health order. 

But Donovan said his colleagues’ decision to keep beaches didn’t last long. 

“About five days later, the county ended up shutting everything down anyway.”

And since, says Donovan, he says residents and visitors have largely abided by the public health order. In addition, the city has contracted with Coronado MainStreet to help with public education about the virus.

As for the high infection rate, Donovan suspects that it is likely due to the ages of those living on the two nearby Naval bases.

“When you look at the demographics of the people that live on base, the population age is skewed towards the lower end,” says Donovan. “For example, the median age at North Island Naval Air Station is 22 years old.

Donovan suspects that the majority of infections occurred in July, as rates throughout the county and across the nation trended upwards.

“I would say the majority probably occurred in July. It was the beginning of summer. People had been cooped up for a long time. When you're 19 years old, you think you're invincible.”

Councilmember Marvin Heinze says he doesn’t feel the county data represents the reality, which is that only 159 people have tested positive for the virus.

“Given that this is over 159 total cases, I don’t put a lot of stock in rates when you’re extrapolating them from 159 to 100,000 people,” said Heinze.

He said because the case rate is so low, a single outbreak could skew the numbers in the wrong direction.

“I think the thing that’s fair to take away from this is that our youth are getting the coronavirus infection at least as much as other youth around the county and that our youth are getting it more than our adults, but I don’t think there’s much more than you can say other than that," he said.

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