COVID-19 numbers continued to surge in San Diego County Thursday as county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and his wife, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, announced they will self-quarantine for two weeks after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive.
Fletcher announced the development on his Facebook page just after 5 p.m. Thursday, indicating that both he and his spouse tested negative for novel coronavirus infection but, after speaking to a county contact tracer, decided to heed a recommendation for a two-week self-quarantine at home out of an abundance of caution.
“As we see increases in positive cases, outbreaks & hospitalizations due to COVID-19, we all face higher potential for exposure & continue to encourage everyone to take seriously the risks associated with COVID and need for us all to follow public health guidance,” Fletcher and Gonzalez said in a joint statement.
The county’s growing army of contact tracers and case investigators, which Fletcher pushed hard to expand in recent weeks, has recently been engaged to its greatest extent in the three-month-long course of the current coronavirus pandemic.
For the second day in a row, the county health department announced the largest single-day total of positive cases Thursday, tallying 335 Wednesday, three more than were registered Wednesday. After months generally hovering in the low-to-mid 100s, daily totals have now surpassed 300 in four of the county’s past five daily reports. The percentage of tests coming back positive in recent days have generally been higher than the current 14-day rolling average of 3.1 percent.
And the number of people across the county sick enough to require a hospital stay is also increasing. The total reached 383 Wednesday after appearing to bottom out at 326 on Sunday. Five additional COVID-related deaths were also announced Thursday, bringing the total for the local pandemic to 352.
The upward trend is clearly visible in the recent experience of Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. Dr. Andres Smith, the South Bay hospital’s emergency director, said that the number of admitted COVID patients has gradually increased from 34 Monday to 40 Tuesday to 50 Wednesday. After weeks in the 30s, numbers are again pushing toward the previous record of 61 set in late May.
“Seeing us reach 50 again yesterday, it’s a concern, but it’s still a little early, I think, to determine the reason behind it,” Smith said.
Nationwide, and also in San Diego County, a larger percentage of new cases have been among younger residents. Though the overall pattern has not shifted dramatically at Sharp Chula Vista, Smith
said, the hospital did have a half-dozen COVID positive or suspected patients in their 20s Thursday.
“That is a little bit more than we have normally seen at one time,” Smith said. “It could be a coincidence, but I think in a week we’re going to know whether this is a sustained spike or if it’s just a little bump that goes back down.”
Scripps Health also reported increasing patient numbers at its two Mercy campuses in Hillcrest and Chula Vista.
Public health investigators identified an additional community outbreak — defined as three or more cases from different households exposed in the same location — Wednesday, keeping the total at 7 over the last seven days, a “trigger” threshold that indicates the virus is spreading at a faster clip through the community.
Health officials did not hold a press conference to discuss the building trend Thursday, but a briefing is on the docket for Monday at 2:30 p.m.