SD County slips to COVID purple tier limits

An unidentified student at Escondido's San Pasqual High School goes to class last week./

After posting a case rate of more than 7 cases per 100,000 residents for two consecutive weeks, the state is placing San Diego County in the Purple Tier, the most restrictive level of its system that limits activities based on risk of spreading COVID-19.

The County’s case rate increased to 7.4, then 8.9 over the past two weeks; therefore, the region must stop indoor operations at restaurants, gyms, churches and movie theaters starting Sat., Nov. 14. Retailers will need to keep customers at 25% of capacity.

“The key to decreasing cases is wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, avoiding gatherings and following other public health recommendations,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “We understand that people have COVID fatigue, but we have to do what we know works.”

The County will remain in the Purple Tier for at least three weeks. It won’t be able to advance to the Red Tier unless it posts a case rate below 7 cases per 100,000 residents two weeks in a row.

The state’s health equity metric also increased from 5.3 to 6.5 and remains in the Red Tier or Tier 2. This metric looks at the testing positivity for areas with the lowest healthy conditions and does not move counties to more restrictive tiers but is required to advance.

As the County has ramped up testing in the region, the testing positivity percentage decreased from 3.2% to 2.6%, placing it in Tier 3 or the Orange Tier, where it has been since the state adopted this level system.

“If we don’t continue to take proven, preventive precautions, we won’t be able to get out of the Purple Tier and loosen restrictions,” Wooten said.

The California Department of Public Health assesses counties on a weekly basis. The next report is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Community Setting Outbreaks:

  • Five new community outbreaks were confirmed on Nov. 9: one in a restaurant/bar setting, one in a business setting, one in a retail setting, one in a grocery setting and one in a TK-12 school setting.
  • In the past seven days (Nov. 3 through Nov. 9), 39 community outbreaks were confirmed.
  • The number of community outbreaks remains above the trigger of seven or more in seven days.
  • A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households over the past 14 days.


  • 9,325 tests were reported to the County on Nov. 9, and the percentage of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 5%.
  • The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 3.5%. Target is less than 8.0%.
  • The 7-day, daily average of tests is 12,541.
  • People with and without symptoms who are at higher risk for COVID-19 should be tested. Health care and essential workers should also get a test, as well as people who had close contact to a positive case or live in communities that are being highly impacted.


  • 483 new cases were confirmed among San Diego County residents on Nov. 9. The region’s total is now 61,053.
  • 4,084 or 6.7% of all cases have required hospitalization.
  • 944 or 1.5% of all cases and 23.1% of hospitalized cases had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.


  • Seven new deaths were reported in the County on Nov. 9. The region’s total is now 915.
  • Five men and two women died between Oct. 19 and Nov. 8. Their ages ranged from early 30s to early 80s.
  • All had underlying medical conditions.

More Information:

The more detailed data summaries found on the County’s website will be updated around 5 p.m. today.

— JOSE A. ALVAREZ, County of San Diego Communications Office

This is what coronavirus looks like/San Diego County News Service


COVID-19 Testing Center Opens In Vista To Get Kids Back In School

– 6:10 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020

A new COVID-19 testing center opened Wednesday in Vista at the Linda Rhodes Recreation Center in an effort to combat the spread of the virus. The opening of the new site is a collaborative effort from the County, City and school district, aimed at supporting the school reopening plan.

Vista Unified school district said in a statement that they “remain committed to working in collaboration with the community to find solutions and pathways for students to return to on-campus, in-person learning.”

The free testing center will be open to the public seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m starting Wednesday. No appointment is needed. Linda Rhoades Recreation Center is located at 600 North Santa Fe Avenue in Vista. Anyone 6 months and older can get tested. – Tania Thorne, KPBS North County Reporter

San Diego Gyms Prepare To Operate Outdoors Under Purple Tier

– 6:08 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020

Gyms, restaurants, churches and movie theatres will have to stop indoor operations by Saturday, due to a rising number of coronavirus cases San Diego county

“It hasn’t been easy — but in order to thrive you have to adapt,” said Point Loma Sports Club general manager Bryan Welch.

Point Loma Sports Club has more than 20,000 square feet of indoor exercise space that will sit dormant for at least the next three weeks. The club is moving all operations to their parking lot where more than 120,000 pounds of equipment is set up.

“Our mindset was let’s just assume we’re outside for a year,” Welch said.

The sports club has moved group classes outdoors too.

“We require masks basically throughout the facility even outdoors, and we’ve preached that mantra, like, ‘I’m not doing it just for me I’m doing it for you and for your family,'” Welch said. – Matt Hoffman, KPBS General Assignment Reporter

San Diego County Reports 401 New COVID-19 Cases As It Braces For State Announcement

– 9:07 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020

San Diego County health officials have reported 401 new COVID-19 infections, raising the region’s total to 60,570 cases as health officials await data from the state today which could send the county into the most restrictive “purple” tier of its four-tiered reopening plan.

State officials reported Wednesday that San Diego County had an unadjusted new daily coronavirus case rate of 8.7 per 100,000. The adjusted case rate dropped to 7.4 per 100,000, above the baseline of 7, qualifying the state for the purple tier. Last week’s unadjusted case rate was 7.8 per 100,000.

In recent weeks, the region had an unadjusted rate well above the purple tier guidelines, but a significant effort to increase the volume of tests had allowed for an adjustment to bring it back to the red, or substantial, tier. Testing has decreased slightly and case numbers are on the rise. It is likely the county will officially enter the purple tier this afternoon.

The state data reflect the previous week’s case data to determine where counties stand.

According to the reopening plan, a county has to report data exceeding a more restrictive tier’s guidelines for two consecutive weeks before being moved to that tier. A county then has to be in that tier for a minimum of three weeks before it may move to a less restrictive tier.

San Diego County has been in the red tier for months, skirting but ultimately avoiding the purple tier, which would necessitate the closure of almost all indoor operations of nonessential businesses.

If the county cannot drop its adjusted daily case rate below 7 per 100,000, indoor operations in locations such as restaurants, museums, places of worship, breweries and retail businesses will have to either close entirely, move to outdoor operations only or modify in other ways.


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