You might have noticed my update arrived later than usual Tuesday. That’s partially because we wanted to wait until after the state’s noon news conference when we were expecting new guidelines to be announced (theme parks, personal services and professional sports).
The state also makes county tier status adjustments on Tuesdays. San Diego’s case rate has been very close to the trigger of more than seven per 100,000 in population for weeks now. On Tuesday, the updated map showing the latest reported case rate had San Diego County at 7.1, putting us in the purple tier for that one metric. But the excel spreadsheet on the California Department of Public Health website listed our case rate as 7, which ended up being the correct number.
Yesterday the County of San Diego explained the data discrepancy that almost put us on the path to a lower tier and more restrictions. Certain populations are excluded from official case numbers, including prison inmates. This is because inmates are not in the community and therefore will not contribute to an increased spread of COVID-19. The state had inadvertently included two COVID-positive inmates in the original count. Removing them made the difference.
Your actions save lives This is the most recent example of how every individual case makes a difference in our ability to keep our economy on the right path and resume as many of our normal activities as possible. When asked why case numbers have been on the upswing, the county health officer explained that when people slack off on precautions just a little and gather with people outside their own households, case numbers increase.
The return of students to in person instruction is being closely watched. So far there has been a slight increase in cases among those ages zero to 19. The chart below shows how school related outbreaks compare to total community setting outbreaks so far:
Riverside back to purple Similar to San Diego County, Riverside County had been teetering on the edge of red and purple for weeks. On Tuesday, Riverside was, in fact, moved down to purple. This is not great news for San Diego County because people travel to and from neighboring counties all the time. Cases are recorded according to the county you live in, not necessarily where you contracted COVID-19. The map below shows the current status of all 58 counties.
- San Diego County’s state-calculated, adjusted case rate is currently 7.0 per 100,000 residents, again, right on the threshold of 7.
- The testing positivity percentage is 3.3%. We only need 8% or less to be in the red tier for this metric. This measure on its own would actually qualify San Diego County for the less restrictive orange tier. However, both measures must be in a new tier for two consecutive weeks before moving.
The California Department of Public Health’s next report is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Cases The City of Carlsbad had 14 new cases since my Tuesday update for a new total of 809. We estimate 48 are active.
County of San Diego
- 528 new cases were confirmed among San Diego County residents since my Tuesday report. The region’s total is now 53,263.
- 3,800 or 7.1% of all cases have required hospitalization.
- 879 or 1.7% of all cases and 23.1% of hospitalized cases had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.
- Six new COVID-19 deaths were reported in San Diego County on Oct. 20. The region’s total is now 863.
- Four men and two women died between Oct. 16 and Oct. 20, and their ages ranged from mid-50s to late 90s.
- All had underlying medical conditions.
Community Setting Outbreaks
- Six new community outbreaks were confirmed on Oct. 20: two in business settings, two in restaurant settings, one in a healthcare setting and one in a restaurant/bar setting.
- In the past seven days (Oct. 14 through Oct. 20), 32 community outbreaks were confirmed.
- The number of community outbreaks remains above the county’s trigger of seven or more in seven days.
What is a “close contact?”Yesterday the CDC updated its definition of “close contact,” based on a study that showed multiple brief contacts were just as risky as one 15-minute stretch. Before, the CDC warned against being within 6 feet of someone for 15 minutes or more. Now, it’s a cumulative total of 15 minutes within a 24-hour period. This new guidance comes from a prison study where guards became infected after multiple brief encounters with COVID-19 patients.
This definition is important because close contacts are those who get follow up communication during contact tracing. The study also shows that we need to continue to be very careful about keeping that minimum 6-foot distance from people not in our own households.
You can read about the study in the CDC’s Mobility and Mortality Weekly Report
TestingA few weeks ago, I reported that the City Council decided to allow businesses to operate in the western part of the parking lot of the Shoppes at Carlsbad (the Sears end). A company offering COVID-19 testing is one of the businesses that has applied for a permit to do this.
The clinic plans to operate from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., by appointment only. Some kinds of tests will provide results in 20 minutes and others in two to four days. The cost will range from around $125 to $475, and the company expects to be able to see 190 patients a day.
There are plenty of free testing sites around the county too. Get information about these on the county’s website.
Guidance on who should be tested has evolved over time. According to yesterday’s county news release, the current recommendation is that 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. Contact your health care provider or call 2-1-1 to talk to a public health nurse to find out the specific recommendation for your situation.
City Council meeting recap The new testing site was one of the announcements shared at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. We also had an update on how COVID-19 has affected the local economy and the city budget. You can watch the presentation here. Highlights include:
In terms of the city budget, the biggest impact so far has been revenue from hotel stays. Property tax is actually coming in higher than expected, but keep in mind that property tax is considered a “lagging indicator,” meaning economic impacts show up later in property tax revenue than in other sources like sales tax.
Voting reminder Even though the official deadline for voter registration was Monday, you can still conditionally register and vote provisionally. What does this mean?
- If you miss the registration deadline for an upcoming election, you can still vote by visiting:
- The Registrar of Voters office at 5600 Overland Ave., San Diego, CA 92123, during the 14 days prior to and including Election Day, or
- Your assigned polling place between Oct. 31 and Nov. 3.
- You will complete a conditional voter registration form.
- You will get a ballot and a green conditional voter registration provisional envelope.
- Mark your choices on the ballot and place it inside the provisional envelope and seal it. Print and sign your name, and date the envelope.
- Once your conditional voter registration form is verified, and it is confirmed that you did not vote elsewhere in the state for the current election, your registration will become active.
- Your ballot will be removed from the provisional envelope and counted.
- You will be considered registered for any future election if you are eligible to participate.
You can find out about other election information on our General Election website portal.
Grocery Grab going strong Early on in the pandemic, I shared the story of a local group of teens who started a free grocery delivery business for seniors. I am happy to report Grocery Grab is still going strong!
The venture was recently featured in The San Diego Union-Tribune, which caught up with founder Nolan Mejia. Nolan said he had become concerned about how COVID-19 presented specific challenges for seniors and other groups who are immunocompromised or disabled. His own grandparents have family members in the area who could do their grocery shopping for them, but he wondered about all the people who didn’t have anyone nearby to help.
Nolan and his classmates at Sage Creek High School started the free grocery shopping service in Carlsbad, and it has now expanded to a Carmel Valley branch. I am proud to say that one of the city’s Community Emergency Response Team members served as a mentor to the group, helping to get it up and running.
Reading about people in Carlsbad caring for each other always brightens my day. As we head into the holiday season, I’m going to be sharing more of these stories with you. Now more than ever, focusing on the good in the world (and in our very own community) can help us cope with daily challenges just a little more easily.
Back in April, our communication team started the hashtag #Care4Carlsbad on social media. Please join me in sharing all the ways people in Carlsbad care for each other – whether it’s the simple act of wearing a mask to protect others or volunteering to help those in need, Carlsbad residents are engaging in acts of kindness every day. You can post these stories to your own social media and we’ll find them with the hashtag, or just email our communication team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sweater weather (Carlsbad-style)As we head into the final week before the end of daylight savings time Nov. 1, the weather forecast shows lower temperatures and even a chance of light rain this weekend, with a low of 68 degrees on Sunday. So, bundle up! (Yes, we are spoiled by our temperate climate, but isn’t that one of the main things that makes living in Carlsbad so amazing?!)
I’ll be back Tuesday. Have a great weekend and remember:
- Avoid crowds.
- Wear a face covering when you leave home.
- Maintain at least a 6-foot distance from people not in your own household.
- Limit gatherings to no more than three households and stay outdoors.
- Wash your hands. A lot.
- Stay home and away from others if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.
Thank you for continuing to do your part to #Care4Carlsbad.
Scott Chadwick, City Manager
City of Carlsbad | 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008