A new stay-at-home order due to dwindling capacity in Southern California's ICUs. A lawsuit that -- for a minute -- shook everything up for San Diego restaurants. The arrival of the coronavirus vaccine. A holiday season stranger than ever. Here's a look back at what happened in December 2020 in San Diego County as the coronavirus pandemic raged on.
COVID-19 Patients in San Diego County
San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) officials confirmed there have been 155,595 positive COVID-19 cases and 1,534 deaths since Feb. 14, 2020.
Here's the San Diego County Public Health Order as of Dec. 10, 2020:
Second Half of December 2020 in San Diego
As the world prepared for New Year's Eve, Mayor Todd Gloria's first executive order was in place to crackdown coronavirus enforcements. Under the order, he directed the San Diego Police Department and City Attorney's Office to pursue fines of up to $1,000 and "potentially other enforcement actions against public nuisances who choose to endanger the lives of others and blatantly and egregiously defy the provisions of state and county public health orders.''
As the evening progressed, San Diego County was mostly quiet as they anticipated the midnight countdown. However, defiant partygoers attended a warehouse party in Miramar, where a stage collapsed and injured three people. An investigation on the organization of the party was underway shortly after.
Case Data: The county reported 3,083 new COVID-19 cases out of 28,183 tests for an 11% positive rate, raising the total number of cases to 155,595.
In a grim announcement, San Diego County's ICU capacity at this point was at 18%. Sadly, a record-high 62 deaths were reported in the county, bringing the region's death toll to 1,534.
Community Outbreaks: A total of 12 community outbreaks were confirmed in the region on Dec. 30.
The UK’s COVID-19 Variant Detected in San Diego: San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced the COVID-19 variant found in the U.K. and in Colorado had been detected in a 30-year-old man in San Diego County with no travel history outside the county. The man was tested on Dec. 29 after two days of symptoms and a diagnostic test on the S gene dropout was confirmed to have B.1.1.7, said Kristian Andersen, Ph.D., Department of Immunology and Microbiology, at Scripps Research. As of Dec. 30, public health officials said the man was not hospitalized and contact tracing was underway. The man had contact with one person in his household and that person became symptomatic and was tested on Dec. 30. The man had little interaction with people outside his household while potentially contagious, public health officials said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Reopening Schools, in Person, in 2021: California Gov. Gavin Newsom encouraged schools across the state to resume in-person education next year, starting with the youngest students. He promised $2 billion in state aid to promote coronavirus testing, increased ventilation of classrooms, and personal protective equipment.
Case Data: A total of 2,448 cases were reported to the county out of 23,957 tests, for a 10% positive rate. The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases was 10.8% on Dec. 30, while the target remains less than 8.0%. The region’s total number of cases was now 152,512. Meanwhile, San Diego County public health officials reported 37 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing that grim tally to 1,472. Of the 37 reported on this day, there were 21 men and 16 women ranging in ages from mid-50s to early 100s; 30 had underlying medical conditions and the seven others had medical history pending.
Community Outbreaks: Eleven new community outbreaks were confirmed: four in business settings; four in daycare/preschool/childcare settings; one in a TK-12 school setting; one in a food/beverage processing setting; one in hotel/resort/spa setting. In the past seven days (Dec. 23 through Dec. 29), 55 community outbreaks had been confirmed. The number of community outbreaks remained far above the county’s original trigger of a maximum of seven in seven days.
Stay-at-Home Order, Extended: Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services, said Southern California's stay-at-home order would remain in place for the foreseeable future. The stay-at-home order had been in place nearly the entire month of December 2020 as the region continued to grapple with a dangerous decrease in ICU capacity straining the health care system.
Case Data: San Diego County public health officials said there were 2,534 positive cases of the coronavirus locally, and 31 new COVID-related deaths. Since the pandemic reached our region, there have been 1,435 deaths related to COVID-19.
Stay-at-Home Order: California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the stay-at-home order impacting San Diego County and the SoCal region, which was due to expire on Dec. 28, would likely be extended on Tuesday as ICU capacity for the Southern California region remained at 0%.
Case Data: Officials said 1,751 new COVID-19 cases were reported to the county and two new coronavirus-related deaths, including a man in his 30s.
Community Outbreaks: No new community outbreaks were confirmed on Dec. 27, but 59 community outbreaks had been reported in the past seven days.
Case Data: A total of 3,132 new COVID-19 positive cases were reported out of 11,744 tests, for a 27% positive rate. The total number of cases, at this point, stood at 145,779. No new deaths were reported keeping the total at 1,402.
Community Outbreaks: Ten new community outbreaks were reported; In the past seven days, 60 community outbreaks had been reported. A total of 250 cases are associated with those outbreaks, public health officials confirmed.
Case Data: A total of 2,686 new positive COVID-19 cases were reported on Dec. 25 in San Diego County out of 20,680 cases, for a 13% positive rate. The total number of cases tallied stood at 142,647. No new COVID-related deaths were reported locally, keeping the total at 1,402.
Community Outbreaks: Nine new community outbreaks were reported on Dec. 25. In the past seven days, 57 community outbreaks had been reported. A total of 221 cases were associated with those outbreaks.
Case Data: A total of 3,006 new positive cases were reported on Dec. 24 bringing the total number of cases to 139,961. Twenty additional COVID-related deaths were also reported bringing the total to 1,402. Due to the Christmas holiday, only certain data was updated on the county's website.
ICUs: ICU capacity remained at 0.0% in the region, and it was anticipated that the stay-at-home order would be formally extended the following week.
Case Data: According to the county, 30,045 tests were reported on Dec. 23, and the percentage of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 8%. Meanwhile, 32 new COVID-19 deaths were reported to the county; officials said there had been 1,382 deaths since the pandemic hit San Diego in mid-March.
ICUs: Officials said that 1,168 -- or 0.9% of all cases and 21% of hospitalized cases -- had to be admitted to an intensive care unit in San Diego County. ICU capacity remains at 0.0% in the county and region.
"We're asking you NOT to gather": With the Christmas holiday fast approaching, the county used their second to last media briefing of the year to urge San Diegans to avoid holiday gatherings that could lead to another surge like the one attributed to Thanksgiving gatherings.
"This year we are asking folks to do something that has countered everything that we normally do. We are asking you to not gather with them because you love them and because you care about them," said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
Hospitalizations: San Diego County only had 33 staffed ICU beds available. "33 in a county of 3.4 million," Fletcher emphasized. Other surgeries are being delayed so hospitals can make room for COVID-19 patients.
Chris Van Gorder, President and CEO of Scripps Health, said hospitals fear the worst is yet to come. They predict hospitalizations will peak on Jan. 10, 2021, with about 500 patients than they have currently.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday the Federal Medical Center with an additional 200 support beds at Palomar Medical Center was activated. The county did not provide details about when it would be up and running. More here.
Case Data: On Dec. 23, San Diego County public health officials said 1 in every 162 residents in San Diego County were reported to be COVID-19 positive in the last 7 days. There were 2,598 new COVID-19 cases for a total of 134,696. Dr. Wilma Wooten said 44% of the total cases were reported since Thanksgiving. Exactly 21 days after Thanksgiving, San Diego County counted a record number of COVID-19 cases with 3,611 in just ONE DAY. There were 39 new COVID-related deaths for a total of 1,350 since the start of the outbreak; 25% of those deaths had been recorded after the Thanksgiving holiday.
"At this pace, deaths are growing, our county is on track to record 600 more deaths by the end of January 2021," Wooten said.
Community Outbreaks: There had been 44 community outbreaks in the last 7 days, accounting for a total of 164 cases.
Case Data: The state of California reported a 10.9% seven-day positivity rate for San Diego County. For the bordering counties to San Diego, the state reported 20.4%, 21.3%, and 15.2% in positivity rates for Imperial, Riverside, and Orange counties, respectively. San Diego County public health officials said 2,381 new cases were reported, bringing the region’s total to 132,098. Officials said 28 new COVID-19 deaths were reported, bringing the county's tally there to 1,311 deaths.
Coronavirus Vaccine in San Diego: San Diego County's first non-military and non-healthcare staff civilian to receive Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine was a 72-year-old long-term care facility patient.
"They asked me if I wanted it, I said 'Sure, no problem," patient Carlos Alegre said about being the first to receive the vaccine. "The only problem is they wake up me very early to take a shower, put on clothes... But they gave me new shoes, so that's good."
Case Data: The county reported an 11% daily positivity rate with 3,252 new coronavirus cases out of 28,383 reported tests. The 14-day average positivity rate, now at 9.5%, continued pushing to new highs. At the beginning of the month, the two-week average was below 7%. The county has averaged more than 28,000 tests over the last week. Three new COVID-related deaths were reported, pushing the county's total to 1,283.
Community Outbreaks: One new community outbreak was reported, and 40 had been identified over the last seven days. Earlier this month, there were seven-day stretches with 80 or more community outbreaks reported.
Hospitalizations: San Diego's remaining ICU bed capacity improved, going from 19% to 22%, but the number of COVID-19-related ICU patients taking up those beds was increasing and had more than doubled since Thanksgiving.
Case Data: San Diego County reported a 15% daily positivity rate with 3,493 new cases out of 23,897 tests reported. No new deaths were reported, keeping the total to 1,280. Deaths are typically reported days or weeks after they actually occur, according to public health officials.
Community Outbreaks: Seven new community outbreaks were reported, bringing the county's 7-day total to 40. The county will consider modifying its public health order when the 7-day total is less than 7, which hadn't happened since June.
Case Data: San Diego County reported a 7% daily positivity rate with 2,509 new cases out of 34,250 tests reported. Meanwhile, 14 new COVID-related deaths were reported, pushing the total to 1,280.
Community Outbreaks: Eight new community outbreaks were reported, bringing the county's 7-day total to 37.
The Strip Clubs & Restaurants Lawsuit: The California Court of Appeals overruled a San Diego judge’s temporary injunction allowing county restaurants to reopen on-site dining, reducing them, once again, to takeout services only.
On Dec. 17, 2020, San Diego Superior Judge Joel Wohlfeil issued an injunction exempting two San Diego strip clubs from shutdowns, but surprised many, including the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, by extending the ruling to "All businesses that provide restaurant services."
The county said it would temporarily suspend pandemic-related public health order enforcement at restaurants and live entertainment businesses while it determined its next steps. Two supervisors went on record saying they were blindsided by the inclusion of restaurants in Judge Wohlfeil's order.
Case Data: This was a record-breaking day for case data in San Diego County. The county reported 3,611 new COVID-19 cases -- a new record -- out of 31,351 tests, for a 12% positive rate. The county's 14-day average positivity rate was at 9%, also an all-time high. Meanwhile, 14 additional COVID-related deaths were reported, bringing the total to 1,253 in San Diego County. San Diego County also reported a weekly record in deaths: from Dec. 12 through Dec. 17, the county tracked 102 deaths, making it the deadliest week of the pandemic so far. The county had also set a new weekly reporting record in the last three consecutive weeks.
Community Outbreaks: Four new community outbreaks were reported; in the past seven days, 32 outbreaks have been confirmed.
ICU Capacity: The remaining ICU capacity in the Southern California region -- which San Diego County was grouped into under the state's December 2020 stay-at-home order -- dropped to 0.0%, the state announced. The state's overall remaining ICU capacity was at 3.0%. The regional stay-at-home order had been triggered two weeks prior when Southern California's availability fell below 15%. It won't be lifted until the region's projected ICU bed availability 4 weeks in the future is above 15%. San Diego County's remaining ICU bed capacity was at 16%.
Case Data: The county reported a 9% daily positivity rate with 2,604 COVID-19 cases out of 28,696 reported tests. The county's 14-day average positivity rate was 8.7%, an all-time high at this point, and was showing no signs of reversal any time soon. In the month of November alone, the 14-day average jumped more than three percentage points to above 6%, and now, halfway through December, it was just shy of 9%. Twenty-two new deaths were reported, pushing the county's total to 1,239.
Between Dec. 5 and Dec. 11 (the county tracks weeks Saturday to Friday), 96 local COVID-related deaths were reported, making that the deadliest week of the pandemic in San Diego County at this point.
Through five reporting days of the new week, there had already been 88 deaths reported, meaning this week was on pace to surpass last week's grim record.
Community Outbreaks: Eight new community outbreaks were reported, pushing the 7-day total to 38. Those 38 outbreaks are responsible for 148 COVID-19 cases.
Coronavirus Vaccine in San Diego: At least four more San Diego County hospitals starting distributing vaccines to their health care workers on Wednesday, while others that began Tuesday continued their efforts.
San Diego County public health officials said 82,623 hospital staff members have been identified as critical care health care workers, but of those, only about 39,755 have been identified as top priority. Of that group, only 72% of staff members will be able to get the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine due to the county's limited supply (28,275 doses). Each person vaccinated, though, will be getting their second dose of the vaccine in three weeks, when the state ships 28,275 more doses to the county.
Restaurants: A judge ruled that San Diego County businesses with restaurant services, including strip clubs, are exempt from shutdown orders and bans on live adult entertainment. The county said it is temporarily suspending public health order enforcement while it, along with the state, analyzes the judge's ruling.
Hospitalizations: The remaining ICU capacity in the Southern California region fell to 0.5%, the state of California announced. The overall state ICU capacity was at 4.1%. In San Diego County, there were only 24 ICU beds remaining that could be properly staffed. Also, for the first time, San Diego County's hospitals are filled with more than 50% COVID-19 patients.
Case and Death Data: There were 2,807 new COVID-19 cases in San Diego County, the second-highest total to date. The county's 14-day positivity rate was 8.4%.
There were also 23 more deaths reported for a total of 1,217 this year. Wooten said that, since August, coronavirus has been the sixth-leading cause of death in San Diego County.
Community Outbreaks: There were 46 community outbreaks in the last week, accounting for 168 people infected with COVID-19. Six new outbreaks were reported yesterday -- four at daycare/childcare facilities, and one each in a health care setting and business.
The First Half of December 2020 in San Diego
Hospitals Begin Distributing Vaccines: In a historic moment for San Diego County's fight against the pandemic, a critical health care worker for the military became the first person locally to receive Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine outside of trials. Both Naval Medical Center San Diego and Rady Children's Hospital began distributing vaccines Tuesday with other hospitals expected to start distribution later this week.
Coronavirus in California: The state is expecting about 427,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of next week with 672,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine expected by the end of the month.
Following CDC guidelines, California also lowered its recommendation for quarantine from 14 days to 10 days for asymptomatic individuals and those who were exposed.
The state also made a grim announcement -- that 5,000 additional body bags have been purchased for various regions, including San Diego.
Hospitalizations: The Southern California region's remaining ICU bed availability has fallen to 1.7%, mostly due to the dire state of our staffing ability. As a result, the state adjusted its nurse-patient ratio to one nurse for every three patients.
In San Diego, hospitalizations continue to push to new highs. COVID-19-related hospitalizations are up 18% from a week ago, while ICU patients are up 25% over seven days.
Case Data: San Diego County reported an 8% daily positivity rate with 1,863 new cases out of 23,485 reported tests. The 14-day positivity average remained above 8%, nearly 2% higher than it was at the beginning of the month. Meanwhile, 32 new deaths were reported, continuing the most deadly period of the pandemic for San Diego County. The county's death total was at 1,194.
Tier data: The county's case rate, one of two metrics measured by the state every Tuesday and used to determine a county's placement in California's tiered reopening schedule, was 29.5 on Dec. 15, up from 27 on Dec. 8. The other metric, testing positivity percentage, was measured at 9%. The Purple Tier limit is 8%.
Community Outbreaks: Community outbreaks were falling from alarming highs et earlier this month when 7-day totals were in the high 60s. Six new outbreaks were reported on this date, for a total of 43. Though it's trending down, the 7-day total was still more than eight times the trigger of seven in seven days.
Coronavirus Vaccine in San Diego County -- It's Here: San Diego County received its first batch of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine alongside several municipalities across the country, which will be distributed to local hospitals. By the end of this week, San Diego County would receive about 28,000 doses of the vaccine, enough to cover about 70% of critical care health care workers.
The U.S. Navy in San Diego also received an undisclosed number of vaccines, which will be distributed first to medical military personnel. Their distribution is separate from San Diego County's and does not affect the 28,000 doses meant for San Diegans.
Long-term care facilities were also receiving vaccines through a distribution program with CVS and Walgreens. That distribution will also not affect San Diego County's numbers.
Case Data: There were 2,206 new cases of COVID-19 in San Diego County for a total of 109,578 cases since the pandemic began. The 14-day positivity rate was now at 8.2%. On average, there were nearly 25,000 tests conducted daily for the last 7 days. There were no new deaths reported but the county said there were 25 deaths in the 10-day stretch between Dec 2. to Dec. 11.
Hospitalizations: The county reported 1,035 people hospitalized in San Diego County; 569 of the county's 689 beds, or 83%, were occupied. There was a 213 increase in COVID-19 confirmed hospitalized patients over the last 30 days, the county said. ICU capacity for the Southern California region was critically low, with only 2.7% of beds remaining.
Community Outbreaks: There were 46 community outbreaks in the last 7 days. The newest outbreak was in a daycare/preschool/childcare setting.
Case Data: San Diego County reported a 10% daily positivity rate with 2,416 new cases out of 25,274 tests reported. Eleven new deaths were reported, pushing the total to 1,162. Deaths are typically reported days or weeks after they actually occur.
Stay-at-Home Order: The order is set to last a minimum of 3 weeks, and won't be lifted until the region's projected ICU bed availability 4 weeks in the future is above 15%.
Community Outbreaks: Four new community outbreaks were reported, bringing the county's 7-day total to 51. The county will consider modifying its public health order when the 7-day total is less than 7, which hasn't happened since June.
Case Data: San Diego County reported an 9% daily positivity rate with 2,490 new cases out of 27,599 tests reported. Fourteen new deaths were reported, pushing the total to 1,151. Deaths are typically reported days or weeks after they actually occur.
Stay-at-Home Order: The order is set to last a minimum of 3 weeks, and won't be lifted until the region's projected ICU bed availability 4 weeks in the future is above 15%.
Community Outbreaks: Three new community outbreaks were reported, bringing the county's 7-day total to 52. The county will consider modifying its public health order when the 7-day total is less than 7, which hasn't happened since June.
Case Data: San Diego County reported an 11% daily positivity rate with 2,867 new cases out of 25,002 tests reported. Thursday's cases push the total past the 100,000 mark to 102,466. Friday's report pushed our 14-day positivity average to 8%, an all-time high. Twenty-three new deaths were reported, pushing the total to 1,137. Deaths are typically reported days or weeks after they actually occur.
Stay-at-Home Order: The Southern California region's ICU bed availability fell from 7.7% Thursday to 6.2% on Friday. The regional stay-at-home order was triggered when availability fell below 15%. The order is set to last a minimum of 3 weeks, and won't be lifted until the region's projected ICU bed availability 4 weeks in the future is above 15%.
County Hospitalizations: COVID-19-related hospitalizations and ICU admissions in the county are showing no signs of slowing down. San Diego County as of Dec. 11 had 18% ICU bed availability.
The county is also reporting an increase in both COVID-19 syndromic patients and patients with influenza-like illness.
Community Outbreaks: Ten new community outbreaks were reported, bringing the county's 7-day total to 64. The county will consider modifying its public health order when the 7-day total is less than 7, which hasn't happened since June.
Case Data: San Diego County reported a 7% daily positivity rate with 2,050 new cases out of 28,814 tests reported. Thursday's cases push the total just shy of 100,000 (99,599). The county's 14-day positivity rate continues to push to record highs and is now at 7.7%. It was below 5% just 60 days ago. Fifteen new deaths were reported, bringing the total to 1,103.
Community Outbreaks: Thirteen new community outbreaks were reported, bringing the county's 7-day total to 68. The county will consider modifying its public health order when the 7-day total is less than 7, which hasn't happened since June.
Stay-at-Home Order: The Southern California region's ICU bed availability fell to just 7.7% The regional stay-at-home order was triggered when availability fell below 15%. The order is set to last a minimum of 3 weeks, and won't be lifted until the region's projected ICU bed availability four weeks in the future is above 15%.
County Hospitalizations: COVID-19 related hospitalizations and ICU admissions in San Diego County are still worsening, with 20% and 12% increases respectively from one week ago.
Vaccine Distribution: California is expecting to receive 327,000 doses after the FDA approved Pfizer's application for emergency use. San Diego is expected to receive 28,275 doses by next week. The state then anticipates a second round of vaccines to follow within three to four weeks.
Case Data: The county reported 2,104 positive COVID-19 cases out of 25,017 tests, for an 8% positive rate. The county reported the second-highest number of daily cases behind 2,287 cases reported on December 4. In the last seven days, there was a 22% increase in hospitalizations and an 8% increase in ICUs.
“From a month ago, when the daily count cases were in the low hundreds, we are now passed one thousand into the two thousand range,” Supervisor Greg Cox said. Fifteen new deaths were reported bringing the region's total to 1,203 deaths.
Community Outbreaks: Six new community outbreaks were reported on Dec. 8: two in business settings, two in daycare/preschool/childcare settings, one in a food/beverage processing setting, and one in a retailer setting. Sixty-seven community outbreaks have been reported over the last week. The number of community outbreaks remains above the trigger of seven or more in seven days.
Stay-at-Home Order: The Southern California region's ICU bed availability continued to fall on Dec. 9 to 9.0% from 10.1% on Dec. 8. The regional stay-at-home order was triggered when the percent fell below 15%. The order is set to last a minimum of 3 weeks, and won't be lifted until the region's projected ICU bed availability four weeks in the future is above 15%.
Case Data: The county reported a daily positivity rate of 6% with 1,276 cases out of 21,743 tests. The county's two-week positivity rate average is 7.2%, down slightly from an all-time high set Monday. Twenty-six new deaths were reported, pushing the total to 1,088. Deaths are typically reported days or weeks after they actually occur.
Case Rate: The county's case rate, which is calculated by the state every Tuesday and used to determined counties' placement in the state's tiered reopening plan, is 27. That's nearly four times the threshold for the state's most restrictive tier, the purple tier.
Community Outbreaks: Seventy-nine community outbreaks have been reported over the last week. County health officials will consider making changes to the local public health order when outbreaks reported in a week's time are less than seven.
Stay-at-Home Order: The Southern California region's ICU be availability fell to 10.1% on Dec. 8, falling further below the 15% mark that triggered the current stay at home order. The order is set to last a minimum of 3 weeks, and won't be lifted until the region's projected ICU bed availability four weeks in the future is above 15%.
Convention Center Case Surge: In less than a week, at least 80 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the San Diego Convention Center. The center has been used to house the homeless since early in the pandemic.
Case Data: The county reported a daily positivity rate of 9% with 1,998 cases out of 21,195 tests. No new deaths were reported. The total held at 1,062.
Hospitalizations: COVID-19-related hospitalizations continued their sharp increase, and are up 176% over the last 30 days.
Case Data: The county reported a total of 1,703 cases. The percent positive is 6% with 26,959 tests. Seven new deaths were reported to the county on Dec. 3. The region’s total is now 1,062.
Community Outbreaks: Five new community outbreaks were confirmed on Dec. 5: In the past seven days (Nov. 29 through Dec. 5), 88 community outbreaks were confirmed.
Stay-at-Home Order: Southern California's ICU bed capacity fell below 15% Friday and continued to drop Saturday prompting a stay-at-home order that will last three weeks for the region. It will go into effect on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 11:59 p.m.
San Diego County is included in the Southern California region, which stretches up the coast to San Luis Obispo County, and includes Mono and Inyo counties on the California-Nevada border.
Convention Center Positive Cases: On Saturday, the City of San Diego identified 55 homeless individuals and staff tested positive for COVID-19 at the emergency homeless shelter in the San Diego Convention Center.
Test results conducted at the Convention Center to date: 9,836 tests administered, 7,266 shelter clients, 2,570 staff or volunteers, 82 positive (cumulative total since April 1) – represents less than 1 percent positivity rate of all tests administered. All other test results have come back negative or determined inconclusive
Case Data: The county broke another record Saturday with 2,287 positive COVID-19 cases, surpassing Friday's record of 2,039. The county reported 24,159 tests for a 9% positive rate. Eight new deaths were reported to the county on Dec. 4. The region’s total is now 1,055. Six men and one woman died, their ages ranged from the early 50s to the early 90s. All had underlying medical conditions.
Community Outbreaks: Fifteen new community outbreaks were confirmed on Dec. 4: Six in business settings, three in daycare/preschool/childcare settings, one in a restaurant/bar setting, one in a fitness/gym setting, one in a hotel/resort/spa, one in a government setting, one in a health care setting and one in a distribution warehouse setting.
In the past seven days (Nov. 28 through Dec. 4), 92 community outbreaks were confirmed. The number of community outbreaks remains above the trigger of seven or more in seven days.
Case Data: The county set a record of daily cases Friday. A total of 2,039 cases were confirmed among San Diego County residents on Dec. 3. The county surpassed the past record-breaking number recorded on Nov. 27 of 1,859 cases. The percent positive is 8% with 25,289 tests. Seven new deaths were reported to the county on Dec. 3. The region’s total is now 1,047.
Hospitalizations: 1,061 or 1.2% of all cases and 22.1% of hospitalized cases had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.
Community Outbreaks: Fourteen new community outbreaks were confirmed on Dec. 3: six in business settings, two in food/beverage processing settings, two in distribution warehouse settings, one in an emergency services setting, one in a government setting, one in a faith-based setting and one in a healthcare setting. In the past seven days (Nov. 27 through Dec. 3), 93 community outbreaks were confirmed. The number of community outbreaks remains above the trigger of seven or more in seven days.
Regional Stay-at-Home Orders: Governor Gavin Newsom introduced a plan to implement 3-week stay-at-home orders in regions that fall below 15% remaining ICU bed capacity. The state was divided into five regions: Northern California, Greater Sacramento, Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California.
San Diego County is included in the Southern California region, which stretches up the coast to San Luis Obispo County, and includes Mono and Inyo counties on the California-Nevada border.
No regions currently meet the trigger, but all except the Bay Area could within a day or two, Newsom said.
Here is the data for the five regions as of Dec. 3:
Case Data: County health officials reported a 6% daily positivity rate (1,504 new cases out of 26,611 reported tests). The county's two-week average positivity rate is above 6%. Five new deaths were reported, pushing the county's total to 1,040.
Hospitalizations: Hospitalizations reached another new highs yet again. The county reported 718 confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations and 208 ICU patients, a 193% and 131% increase respectively over the last 30 days.
Community Outbreaks: Twelve new community outbreaks were reported. There have been 88 over the last seven days.
Case Data: There were 1,217 new cases reported Wednesday out of 18,237 tests, bringing San Diego County's 14-day positivity rate to 6.3%. The Latino population accounts for 58% of cases and the 20 to 49 age group accounts for 57% of cases. Sixteen new deaths were reported Wednesday, for a total of 1,035.
Hospitalizations: There has been a 208% increase in hospitalizations and an 129% increase in ICU hospitalizations over the last 30 days.
Christopher Howard, the president and CEO of Sharp HealthCare, said San Diego medical centers have nearly 740 people hospitalized with COVID-19, with another 50 suspected cases. Just over a month ago, that number was 180.
He urged people to wear masks. "It kills people and it makes people show up at our hospitals, and when our staff sees this -- someone not wearing a mask or not staying socially distant -- it's beyond frustrating,” Howard said. “You know what’s more of a pain? Being one of our COVID patients at one of our hospitals.”
Community Outbreaks: Out of the 286 active outbreaks in San Diego County, 225 of them are in community settings. Community outbreaks have almost doubled from October to November and in the last 7 days alone, there have been 89 community outbreaks. The majority of outbreaks occurring in four settings: businesses, grocery stores/retail, healthcare facilities and restaurants or restaurant/bars.
County health officials also notified members of three Awaken Church locations of outbreaks that account for a total of 64 cases.
Vaccine Distribution: The county anticipates receiving 28,000 vaccines by mid-December with a second round coming about 3 weeks after that. During Phase 2, vaccines will be prioritized for teachers and other school and childcare staff and for essential workers. The next phase will focus on children and Phase 4 vaccines for everyone else will likely start sometime in the Spring.
Vaccine Distribution: A CDC panel voted 13-1 to give health workers and long-term care facility residents the first COVID-19 vaccine doses once it's cleared for public use.
Case Data: County health officials reported a 9% daily positivity rate (1,378 new cases out of 15,377 reported tests), pushing the 14-day average positivity rate further past 6%. At the beginning of November, the two-week average was around 3%.
Case Rate: The county's case rate was measured at 15.3, down from 15.6 last week, and is still more than double the limit to move out of the purple tier.
Deaths: After a few days with zero deaths reported, the county reported 22 new deaths. Tuesday's addition broke the grim milestone of 1,000 deaths and pushed the overall total to 1,019. Death data often lags, meaning they are reported days or even weeks after the deaths occur. San Diego and other cities throughout the country are currently experiencing an alarming coronavirus case surge that could force another round of aggressive shutdowns similar to what we saw in the spring. This also means that death data could soon begin a sharp incline.
Hospitalizations: COVID-19-related hospitalizations and ICU admission continue their steep climb. Through the month of November, confirmed COVID-19-related daily hospitalizations increased more than 200%, according to county data.
Community Outbreaks: Seventeen new community outbreaks were identified, bringing the seven-day total to 81.
The Coronavirus Pandemic in San Diego County, Month by Month
For a look back at what happened in San Diego County in November 2020, click here.
For a look back at what happened in San Diego County in October 2020, click here.
For a look back at what happened in San Diego County in September 2020, click here.
To read what happened in April 2020, a month that county leaders called "critical" for flattening the curve, click here.
Mid-March 2020: The Coronavirus Pandemic Reaches San Diego County
A lot happened in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic reached San Diego County and COVID-19 cases surged. Here's a quick look back the month that changed everything in our county -- and took us into what would soon become our "new normal" of the pandemic era.
This included quarantine operations at a 151-room Ramada hotel in Kearny Mesa that was chosen to house quarantined patients held at MCAS Miramar (March 18).
More than 480 passengers from a coronavirus-ridden cruise ship that docked at the Port of Oakland were flown to MCAS Miramar March 10 to March 12 to complete a mandatory 14-day federal quarantine. On March 27, Dr. Eric McDonald, Medical Director with the County Epidemiology Immunization Branch said all but three of the passengers had returned home after 14-days of quarantine, including those who had been at the Ramada Hotel.
Training Support Command at Naval Base San Diego was temporarily closed on March 14 due to three Sailors testing positive for COVID-19.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the stay-at-home order and, soon, the springtime shutdown across San Diego County began.
Schools Shut Down
On March 13, San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten shut down the second-largest school district in California. All other school districts in San Diego County followed suit. San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy closed all schools within the San Diego Catholic Diocese, too.
We later learned schools across the state would be closed for the remainder of the academic year.
Local colleges and universities also canceled classes and events and moved their operations online. This included: UC San Diego; San Diego State University; California State University San Marcos; Point Loma Nazarene University; University of San Diego; San Diego Community College District; Southwestern College; Palomar College; Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.
Church Services Canceled
As gatherings were banned, all daily and Sunday masses in the San Diego Catholic Diocese were canceled. Rock Church San Diego services were also canceled and moved to streaming online.
Beaches & Parks Closed
On March 23, San Diego’s beaches, parks, boardwalks, and other open spaces across the county were ordered to close to restrict gatherings over 10 people prohibited by state and local laws.
Restaurant Dinings Rooms & Bars Close
Bars and restaurant dining rooms were ordered to close in March, too. Shopping malls closed. Some retailers – like clothing stores Urban Outfitters and Brandy Melville USA – temporarily closed their stores, and more would follow.
Sports, On Hold
Sports agencies – both college-level and professional – suspended their games and seasons. MLB’s Opening Day – including the San Diego Padres big Home Opener at Petco Park – were scrapped, but in June, the MLB made plans to return to the field, without fans. The 2020 MLB season will return in late July.
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