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San Diego County reports 178 new COVID-19 cases

Of 8,659 tests reported Monday, 2% returned positive.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif — Vaccine eligibility expanded in San Diego County Monday, even as the Del Mar Fairgrounds COVID-19 vaccination super site prepares for a mid-week closure due to lack of vaccine supply.

While people with underlying health conditions are now able to sign up for vaccination appointments, Scripps Health said the number of vaccines it received this week necessitates shutting down the Del Mar site Wednesday, Friday and Saturday following a weekend shutdown that started Friday. The site is scheduled to be open Thursday.

Patients who had appointments at the super station on one of those days are being rescheduled automatically through the MyTurn online appointment system.

Medical guidance suggests patients can wait up to six weeks between doses of the vaccine without losing any efficacy.

So far, 709,220 -- or 26.4% of San Diego County residents over the age of 16 -- have received at least one dose of the two-shot vaccines and 430,379 people -- or 16% -- have been fully vaccinated.

Data from the California Department of Public Health set to be released Tuesday is expected to allow San Diego County to enter the red tier in the state's four-tiered Blueprint for a Safer Economy by Wednesday morning.

State officials modified the blueprint to shift tier thresholds to allow slightly higher case rates per 100,000 population once 2 million vaccines were deployed to the hardest-hit communities. That benchmark was hit last week.

The floor for the purple tier moved to 10 daily cases per 100,000 population. As of last Tuesday's state update, San Diego County has a case rate of 8.8 per 100,000.

Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said he was confident the numbers would allow San Diego County to post a sub-10 case rate on Tuesday, allowing the county to enter the red tier by as early as Wednesday.

Indoor dining, gyms, movie theaters and selected other businesses and services are allowed to operate at limited capacity in the red tier.

San Diego County public health officials reported 178 new COVID-19 infections Monday, increasing the total to 265,649. No new deaths were reported. The death toll remains at 3,452.

Of 8,659 tests reported Monday, 2% returned positive. The 14-day rolling average is 2.9%.

Hospitalizations on Monday increased to 300 from Sunday's 297, while patients in intensive care beds remained at 95. There are 69 staffed, available ICU beds in San Diego County.

There were no new community outbreaks reported Monday, with 15 reported in the last seven days. Cases associated with those outbreaks totaled 62.

On Sunday, the San Diego Unified School District and union representatives announced the next steps to prepare for a classroom reopening the week of April 12. Superintendent Cindy Marten sent an email Sunday night informing parents a tentative deal had been reached regarding reopening plans.

Every family in the district will have the opportunity to choose either an in-person/online hybrid or an online-only model.

Both elementary and secondary students will have the opportunity to be on campus for a six-hour school day, four days per week.

As the district continues to review reopening preference surveys sent to all families, it will begin working with principals this week to help set specific models and schedules for each school.

Families will receive details from their schools on March 22, asking them to select a specific model when classrooms reopen the week of April 12.

The district and San Diego Education Association, the union representing the district's teachers, also came to an agreement on steps which will make hybrid learning unnecessary in the fall, a district official said, committing to no layoffs and the creation of a specialized instruction model for students who do not want to return to campus.


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