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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

San Diego County reports new 1,052 COVID cases, eight additional deaths

It was the 16th consecutive day that more than 600 new cases were reported.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County reported 1,052 new COVID-19 infections and eight additional deaths Thursday, raising the region's totals to 76,357 cases and 996 deaths.

Local health officials also said 37 more people were hospitalized with the virus for a total of 4,507. Five more were placed in intensive care, increasing that number to 1,011.

It was the 16th consecutive day that more than 600 new cases were reported. A record-high 1,546 cases were announced on Tuesday.

A total of 20,738 tests were reported Wednesday and 5% of those came back positive, bringing the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 5.3%, according to San Diego Public Health Services.

A total of 10 new community outbreaks were confirmed Wednesday, four in business settings, two in restaurant/bar settings, one in a government setting, one in a distribution warehouse setting, one in a retail setting and one in a higher education setting. Over the previous seven days, 76 community outbreaks were confirmed. A community outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households over the past 14 days.

San Diego County fell deeper into the most restrictive purple tier of the state's four-tiered reopening plan Tuesday with an unadjusted 21.5 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. Even with an adjusted rate of 13.1 per 100,000 due to significant testing increases by local health authorities, that number far exceeds the strictest tier's baseline of seven daily cases per 100,000.

The testing positivity percentage is 3.1%, placing it in Tier 3 or the Orange Tier for that metric.

The county's health equity metric, which looks at the testing positivity for areas with the lowest healthy conditions, is 9.3% and is in the Purple Tier. This metric does not move counties to more restrictive tiers but is required to advance to a less restrictive tier.

San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten advised caution on the Thanksgiving holiday.

"There should be a small number of people and gatherings should be short in duration," she said. "We are asking people to please follow the public health guidance to provide a safe experience for everyone attending the gathering."

Meanwhile, Matt Doyle, superintendent of Vista Unified School District, announced Tuesday night his district will shift all middle and high schools to virtual instruction until after the winter break, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 18. In-person supplemental learning support for specific student populations based on individual needs will continue. The district will also maintain all athletic activities in preparation for the upcoming season unless otherwise adjusted by California Interscholastic Federation directives. All elementary schools will continue to provide in-person instruction.

"The reason for this period of pause is based on the recent escalation of the spread of the COVID-19 virus globally, nationally, regionally, and locally," Doyle said.

"Based on verifiable data, the pandemic is expanding at a dramatic pace in San Diego County and within the five zip codes of our own community. While Vista Unified has seen no evidence of the virus spreading within the school environment after 26 days of instruction in the Vista Classic learning model, the impact of the virus within our community is causing staffing challenges for teachers, instructional assistants, custodians, and other employees," he said.

The Vista Unified School Board will meet Dec. 15 to discuss future plans for the district.