June 2020: Reopenings, Triggers & Setbacks in San Diego's Fight Against the Coronavirus Pandemic

Reopenings, a surge in COVID-19 cases, triggers and setbacks hit San Diego during the month of June

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In June 2020, many businesses reopened in San Diego County as the coronavirus pandemic raged. This was followed by COVID-19 community outbreaks that triggered a series of setbacks in the city’s reopening.

San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) officials confirmed there have been 14,149 total positive COVID-19 cases and 365 deaths since Feb. 14, 2020.

As testing capacity increases in San Diego County, the ratio of positive cases to the total amount of people being tested will change but any increase in the number of positive cases as a percentage of total tests would indicate an increase in spread. Before mid-June, the county had a 14-day rolling average between 2 to 3% of positive cases, according to the county.

The county continues to move toward its goal of providing 5,600 tests a day to anyone who wants one. This allows health officials can better track the disease, particularly among residents who may not show symptoms of COVID-19 but can just as easily spread the disease.

This data is not a full representation of cases. Totals are based on patients' resident zip code, and are not a representation of where someone contracted COVID-19. Because not every single resident is tested regularly, officials with the County Health and Human Services Agency say the number of people infected with COVID-19 in the county is likely much higher than the reported total.

Other Data: Is San Diego County "flattening the curve?"; COVID-19 case totals by age and gender; Map of case totals by city of residence; Case totals by race/ethnicity; Tests reported by day; Statistics regarding hospitalized patients; Statistics regarding deceased patients.

Here’s a look back at what happened in June 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic in San Diego County. For daily updates on what’s happening in July in our city, click here.

Second Half of June

June 30
San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox announced that restaurants that serve food with alcohol must now close by 10 p.m. each night, beginning on July 1. The updated order forces the businesses to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Guests already dining at 10 p.m. will be allowed to stay until 11 p.m.

The order is not applicable for wineries that have outdoor tasting rooms – those are still allowed to operate. Those that are indoors, if they partner with a food vendor with a license, would be allowed to operate.

County officials confirmed there have been 10 community outbreaks in the past seven days, which is a trigger for the region.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said all community outbreaks to date have been traced to some form of indoor setting. He confirmed that the reported outbreaks have not been linked to protests, beaches or parks at this time.

Dr. Wilma Wooten said 317 more San Diegans have been infected with COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to 14,149. Four more San Diegans have died from complications of coronavirus, she confirmed, bringing the total number of deaths in the region to 365.

The county's Public Health Order was also updated and released, dated for July 1.

Bar owners have reacted to sobering news from the county by finding creative ways to keep the doors open, reports NBC 7's Omari Fleming.

June 29
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced that San Diego County would close all bars, wineries and breweries that do not serve food at the end of June. The closures will begin at 12 a.m. on July 1, and county officials said all reopenings will be paused until at least Aug. 1. For more information on the closures, click here.

County officials reported 498 COVID-19 cases, breaking the previous single-day record for most cases. No new deaths were reported, keeping the total at 361.

"New measures to regain control of the situation” were being implemented, Supervisor Greg Cox said, adding that "we know that the Fourth of July is a great American holiday … but this year we simply can’t celebrate (it) as we have done in the past" and that means no mass gatherings are permitted at private homes.

June 28
Two new community outbreaks were reported by the county, bringing the total to eight in the past seven days. If more than seven outbreaks are reported in that time frame, it forces Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten to re-evaluate the Public Health Order.

Community outbreaks are a group of three or more COVID-19 cases that occur within the same setting -- not including congregate-care or senior living facilities which are measured separately.

Another single-day record was set for new COVID-19 cases. The county reported 497 new cases from 8,301 tests, which is a 6% positive rate. The 14-day rolling average of positive tests is now 3.9%, according to the county.

A woman in her early 60s died of COVID-19, the county said.

June 27
While there were slightly fewer cases reported than the previous day, the county reported over 400 new COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row. There were 436 new cases from 9,172 reported tests, for a 5% positive rate.

Scripps Health reported its highest single-day number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients Friday since the pandemic began -- 126 patients throughout its five hospital campuses.

The Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista and San Diego locations both reported all-time highs of 38 inpatients each, the health system said. Phone calls into the system's COVID-19 nurse line have increased by 70% in the past few days, spokesperson Steve Carpowich said.

Two additional San Diegans died due to COVID-19 on June 25 -- a man and a woman in their early 70s to 80s. The man did not have an underlying health condition, according to the county.

As the number of positive COVID-19 cases skyrocket and hospitalizations increase in San Diego County, front-line nurses who are caring for patients are imploring residents to follow public health orders, reports NBC 7's Artie Ojeda.

June 26
Another record was set for new COVID-19 cases at 440 for a total of 12,401 for San Diego County. Out of the 6,824 tests reported to the county, 6% were positive new cases.

Six additional deaths were reported. Four men and two women died, all had underlying medical conditions. Their ages ranged from late-50s to mid-90s.

In the past seven days, six community outbreaks have been identified. The number of community outbreaks falls beneath the trigger of seven in seven days, according to the county.

June 25
A record 335 new cases were reported in San Diego County residents for a total of 11,961 total COVID-19 cases. That was out of a total of 9,472 tests for a 4% positive rate. It was the fourth straight day the positive rate was higher than its rolling 14-day average.

Five additional deaths were reported making the total to 352. Five men, all with underlying conditions, died with ages ranging from low 40s to low 80s.

A new community outbreak was also reported at a business, bringing the total for the last seven days to seven. The community outbreak "trigger" has been activated for the last week as the rolling 7-day total remains above seven.

Because the trigger was met last week, the county announced it would halt any future reopenings, even if approved by the state.

San Diego County leaders have said that if we reverse the progress we've made with COVID-19, we could see restrictions tighten up again. NBC 7's Priya Sridhar looks into why that hasn't happened yet.

June 24
County health officials reported 332 new coronavirus cases, the highest single-day number since the pandemic began.

The 332 cases were among 6,981 reported tests, making for a positive rate of 4.7%. It's the third day in a row the single-day positive rate has been higher than the county's 14-day rolling average.

Six new deaths were also reported, bringing the total to 347.

The number of community outbreaks within the last seven days fell to eight, still one above the county's threshold for considering re-introducing public restrictions.

June 23
County officials reported 198 new positive cases from 6,819 tests for a 3% positive rate. The tests, which are reported to the county one day prior, showed a lower positive rate compared to the two previous days.

Three additional San Diegans have died due to COVID-19. The three men were in their early-60s to mid-70s and two had underlying health conditions, the county said.

June 22
San Diego County officials reported a 5% positive rate among newly reported tests on Monday. While the increase was still gradual, it was the second day in a row the county reported a significantly higher positive rate than previous weeks, when the positive rate averaged between 2 and 3%.

San Diego County reported 308 new positive cases among 5,831 tests on Monday. No new deaths were reported.

The good news, according to Fletcher, is that there has not been any significant increase in hospitalizations or ICU bed capacity as a result. But he added that those are typically lagging indicators, meaning there may be a delay between an increase in positive cases and an increase in hospitalizations/bed capacity.

The county's "trigger dashboard" also remains activated due to continuing increases in community outbreaks. Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said community outbreaks have not dropped below the triggering "7 outbreaks in 7 days" for the last five days. On Monday, the county reported there had been 10 outbreaks in the last 7 days.

The most recent three outbreaks were at businesses: a construction-type business, a retail manufacturing business, and a retail business.

"Out of the community outbreaks that we had over time, it does seem to be at different venues and all but two of those to date have 10 or fewer people as part of the outbreak, including these last three," said Dr. Eric McDonald, the county's Director of Epidemiology. "That's good news. They're relatively small outbreaks."

McDonald also said public health officials have not seen a specific connection to recent protests.

The county also noted that the age range of cases has shifted to be among more people in the 18 to 49 age range.

"When you try to drill down on specific activities, we haven't seen any specific trends -- certainly we have seen no outbreaks related to any of the protest activities," McDonald said. "But I think if you look at the people who are out in those protests, they spanned the age group that might be reflective of those who live in San Diego."

Even though several triggers have occurred, the county will not alter its reopening plan, reports NBC 7's Bridget Naso.

June 21
There were 310 new cases from 4,413 reported tests for a 7% positive rate, the county said, strikingly different to the average 2 to 3% rate the county has reported for several weeks. This was the largest single-day increase in cases since the pandemic began. According to a county graph, it was not the result of receiving a batch of prior tests as other spikes have been attributed to.

No additional deaths were reported.

NBC 7's Claudette Stefanian has more about what the one-day increase could mean.

June 20
The county reported 134 new cases from 5,594 tests for a 2% positive rate. The total case count stood at 10,484 on Saturday.

Six additional San Diegans have died due to COVID-19, bringing the total to 338 deaths. The three women and three men were in their early 40s to late 80s and four of them had underlying health conditions, the county said.

June 19
A day after public health officials announced they would halt future reopenings due to a "trigger" of eight community outbreaks in a seven-day period, two new outbreaks were reported. If more than seven outbreaks are reported, it forces Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten to re-evaluate the Public Health Order.

While three of the eight reported outbreaks that occurred between July 11 and July 17 had fallen off the tally, two new outbreaks reported July 18 kept the tally at seven community outbreaks. Community outbreaks are any three or more COVID-19 cases to occur within the same setting that is not a congregate-care or senior living facility.

The two new outbreaks reported Friday were at a private residence and a housing unit on a military base, the county said. The county was providing support to the military for the latter.

A spokesperson urged San Diegans to not mix households in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wooten reminded residents to wear masks, use good hygiene and keep at least a 6-foot distance when out in public.

The county reported a spike of 258 new cases for a total of 10,350 since the outbreak began. That comes from 10,544 tests for a 2% positive rate. There has been one additional death -- a woman in her early 80s who had underlying health conditions.

NBC 7's Priya Sridhar has more details on the comunity outbreaks around the county.

June 18
San Diego County held an impromptu press conference to announce a "trigger" had been met that would require an evaluation of the current Public Health Order.

The county reported eight outbreaks in community settings over a seven day period, which prompted the county on Thursday to scale back its efforts towards reopening.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said in response, the county would halt all future reopenings for businesses in categories beyond those that have been previously announced, even if approved by the state.

The state of California on Thursday made it a requirement to wear face masks in most indoor settings and outdoor settings where social distancing could not be ensured. The mandate was similar to one already in effect in San Diego County.

The county also reported there were 238 new cases for a total of 10,092 and 4 additional deaths for a total of 331. More than 10,000 tests were reported but there was a large number of backlogged tests that led to the spike in reported testing, the county said.

June 17
There were 124 new positive COVID-19 cases from 6,782 reported tests for a total nearing 10,000 since the outbreak began. The county also reported four additional deaths bringing the total to 327.

Dr. Wilma Wooten said there have been six outbreaks in community settings in the last seven days -- two at restaurants, one at a residence, and the rest in businesses. Seven outbreaks in seven outbreaks would trigger the county into re-evaluating its reopening plan.

Wooten also noted a new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) analysis of more than 1 million COVID-19 cases that found hospitalizations were 6 times higher and deaths were 12 times higher among those with underlying conditions. Locally, hospitalizations were 5 times higher and deaths were 20 times higher. The most common conditions were cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic lung diseases like asthma or COPD.

The county said two new testing sites would soon open. One will be at the Mira Mesa Senior Center and the other at the Spring Valley County Library. Officials recommended anyone to go to their website to find a location to get a test at no cost.

June 16
There were 120 new positive cases from 4,838 tests reported to the county as well as three additional deaths due to COVID-19 -- three women from their late 60s to early 90s who all had underlying health conditions, the county said.

The U.S., Mexico, and Canada have agreed to extend the closure of their shared borders for non-essential travel through July 21, officials announced.

First Half of June

June 15
Starting Friday, the county said nail salons, tattoo parlors, massage parlors, and personal care services such as waxing businesses could reopen.

Following new state guidelines, county leaders said outdoor religious services, weddings, cultural services, and other constitutionally-protected gatherings such as protests no longer have numerical limitations. People can gather outside as long as they have space to properly social distance.

Addressing crowds seen in downtown San Diego on Friday, June 12, Supervisor Greg Cox said he spoke with Mayor Kevin Faulconer who will work with San Diego Police to close off some downtown streets.

Officials acknowledged other areas of the country are seeing increased cases and said San Diegans cannot let their guards down. Wearing face coverings and social distancing are still necessary.

There were 170 new positive cases from 5,207 tests, and one new death reported -- a man in his late-70s who died on June 7.

Across the county, there are still 53 active outbreaks in congregate facilities or community settings.

NBC 7's Artie Ojeda unpacks the county's daily news conference.

June 14
There were 126 new positive COVID-19 cases from 6,751 tests reported to the county bringing the total number of cases to 9,440.

No additional deaths were reported, leaving the total number of deaths at 319.

The Catholic Diocese of San Diego reopened the doors to its 97 parishes, but with limited capacity and other guidelines.

On June 13, California as a whole recorded more than 5,000 total COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic as cases continue to climb in several parts of the state.

June 13
There were 184 new positive cases from 5,783 tests reported to the county. The total case count now stands at 9,314 since the onset of the pandemic.

Six additional San Diegans had died due to COVID-19, bringing the total to 319, according to the county. The five women and one man were in their mid-60s to early-90s and all had underlying health conditions.

June 12
As bars, gyms, museums, and other businesses reopened their doors on June 12, San Diego County Public Health officials announced the next wave was only a week away. Balboa Park's Central Plaza also reopened.

Nail salons, tattoo parlors, and other personal care services would be allowed to reopen as soon as June 19, provided the businesses follow guidelines outlined by the state of California.

But the reopenings came with a warning: don't let your guard down. Health Officer Wilma Wooten said that in the last 7 days there had been four new outbreaks -- positive cases among at least three individuals in that community setting.

Supervisor Natan Fletcher said community outbreaks had occurred in a local restaurant, an office building, dinner parties, backyard barbecues, and unauthorized weddings. In total, there were 13 active community outbreaks in San Diego County. There were 132 new cases reported.

In order to better track where COVID-19 is occurring, the county needs to ramp up testing. On Friday, the county announced a new website would help residents locate free COVID-19 testing locations. The testing is available to anyone, for free, by visiting and following the steps outlined.

For the first time in about three months, bars, gyms, movie theaters, and several other businesses were allowed to reopen their doors to the public on June 12.

June 11
There were 161 new positive COVID-19 cases out of 4,997 tests, bringing the total case count to 8,998 with a 3.1% positive rate.

Three additional deaths were reported bringing the total to 308. The people who died were three men who ranged in age from late 40s to mid-80s. Two had underlying health conditions.

June 10

Greg Cox said indoor movie theaters were added to the list of businesses that could reopen on June 12. Theaters would need to limit the number of people to 25% capacity, or a maximum of 100 guests, whichever is lower.

Guests must also use face coverings when not eating or drinking, must be screened for symptoms, and must maintain physical distancing.

There were 108 new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total case count to 8,837. Four new deaths were also reported.

As the county is slowly reopening, County Health Public Officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten reiterated that gatherings with members outside the immediate family were still not a part of the public health order. Warning that when there are gatherings with those outside your household, you have the potential to introduce diseases like the coronavirus.

"I understand that it might be a bit contrary, but we are slowly opening back up," Wooten said. "General gatherings at friends homes or in the backyard for a BBQ -- and we have had outbreaks in those types of situations -- we are not encouraging people to do that. We are advising against it."

"Great Plates Delivered" a free senior meal program was extended another month. Qualified senior citizens can sign up to get three nutritious meals a day delivered to their homes.

June 9

The San Diego City Council voted to direct more than $6 million in CARES Act funding to small businesses serving low-to-moderate-income communities.

“Not only must we help our economy recover from the COVID-19 crisis, but we must also help our nation acknowledge and act on systemic racism – systemic racism that has held back far too many Americans from their true potential," San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.

Faulconer also announced the trail leading up to the peak of Cowles Mountain, one of San Diego's more popular hikes, had reopened.

San Diego County's Covid-19 death toll surpassed 300 with five new deaths reported. The total now sits at 301. The victims ranged in age from late-60s to mid-80s and all had underlying health conditions, according to the county.

There were 110 new positive cases reported among 3,963 tests, bringing the case total to 8,729.

June 8
County leaders announced many more businesses would be able to reopen on June 12, such as gyms, bars, wineries, card rooms, family entertainment centers, museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums, and hotels for tourism following guidance from the state.

The county also announced that additional activities would be allowed to resume, effective immediately with modifications, including day camps, campgrounds, RV parks and outdoor recreation like sports fishing and private charter boats.

The move from San Diego County leaders followed guidance from California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is working to gradually pull back a statewide stay-at-home order.

There were 143 new positive COVID-19 cases from 3,844 tests, bringing the total case count to 8,619. No additional deaths were reported.

June 7
The county reported 131 new positive cases from 5,732 tests for a total case count of 8,476. No additional deaths were reported.

The 14-day rolling average of positive tests was 3 percent.

June 6
There were 165 new positive COVID-19 cases from 3,863 tests, bringing the total case count to 8,345.

The county reported two additional people have died of COVID-19: a woman in her 90s and a man in his 80s. Both individuals had underlying medical conditions.

June 5
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state would allow the reopening of schools, day camps, bars, gyms and some sports, with modifications.

Details were scarce but County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said he anticipated guidance for how the county could safely reopen some Phase 3 businesses as soon as June 12. He expected guidance for campgrounds, hotels, card rooms, family entertainment, bars and wineries, zoos, indoor museums and professional sports without audiences.

Meanwhile, San Diego County continued to modify its Public Health Order to allow for more recreation at beaches. Starting June 9, cities would be allowed to decide if they want to reopen parking lots and allow active sports on beaches with members of the same household.

The city of San Diego also announced it would reopen East and West Mission Bay parks and their parking lots. Fiesta Island would reopen to pedestrians, dogs and cyclists only. Piers and Boardwalks would reopen on June 9 and more of Balboa Park would reopen on June 12. For a full list of what's open for recreation in San Diego County, click here.

Public health officials reported another grim milestone: San Diego County had surpassed 8,000 cases since the outbreak began for a total of 8,180. There had been 294 deaths with six new deaths this day.

June 4
There were 142 new positive COVID-19 cases in San Diego for a total of 7,940 cases. Five additional deaths were reported, including four men and one woman. Their ages ranged from 38 to 91 years old, and all but one had underlying medical conditions. Total deaths for the county was 288.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced plans to reopen popular parks and shorelines this month and in July.

On June 8, east and west Mission Bay Park will reopen for all park and water uses, and Fiesta island will be open to pedestrians, people walking their dogs, and cyclists, although cars will not be permitted to park there until July 6.

On June 9, all city piers and boardwalks would be able to reopen to the public, and by June 12, Balboa Park's central mesa would reopen, with parking lots at the landmark operating at full capacity.

June 3
There were 124 new positive COVID-19 cases in San Diego for a total of 7,798 cases since February. Seven people were reported Tuesday to have died from the disease, bringing the total number of deaths in San Diego to 283.

Following a vote by the Board of Supervisors to ask the state for more control on easing restrictions, county health leaders made clear that there are many "triggers" that could force the county to rollback reopening. Among them are:

  • If the county has 7 or more outbreaks in community settings in a seven-day period
  • If the number of beds available in the county's ICU system falls below 20 percent
  • If PPE supplies drop lower than half of the hospitals having a 15 day supply

If any of those criteria are triggered, the county could take industry-specific actions, pause reopening, or take a county-wide dial back on reopening

June 2
June 2 was the first time in months that many beaches reopened for "passive activities" which included sitting and sunbathing on the sand. Check with your individual city to find out what is allowed and where.

San Diego County reported 120 new positive COVID-19 cases out of 3,939 tests, which is a 3% positive rate. The total on Tuesday stood at 7,674 since the onset of the pandemic.

Seven additional deaths were reported -- five men and two women ranging from age 46 to 94. All but one had underlying medical conditions, the county said.

The County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to send another letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom to request that the state allow San Diego County to ease more stay-at-home restrictions like gymnasiums, hotels, wineries, breweries, churches, theme parks and more.

The board also extended the existing eviction moratorium for areas of unincorporated San Diego through June.

With the county deploying more than 400 contact tracers to notify individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19, local officials are urging residents to pick up the phone if an unfamiliar phone number calls because it may be regarding their health.

June 1
County officials reported 76 new positive cases out of 3,655 tests for a 2% positive rate. They credited the recent low positive rates to the public's adherence to safety measures.

Supervisor Cox reminded people this was the start of a new month and there would be changes. Starting June 2, passive activities would be allowed on beaches, but the final decision is up to the individual coastal cities.

No additional deaths were reported, holding the total local deaths linked to COVID-19 at 269.

To read what happened in May 2020, a month that county leaders called a month of "adaptation" for San Diego County in the fight against the novel coronavirus, click here.

To read what happened in April 2020, a month that county leaders called "critical" for flattening the curve, click here.

To look back at what happened in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic reached San Diego County, click here.

Text "COSD COVID19" to 468311 to receive updates and alerts from the county. Click here to find different ways to help your community during the pandemic.

San Diego County would like to remind everyone if you or someone you care about is experiencing a suicidal or mental health crisis, please call the Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240.

Pitching in During the Pandemic: Stories of San Diegans Doing Good: Read more stories about San Diegans finding creative ways to lend support. Have you heard about a story we should share? Let us know

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