Outbreaks of COVID-19 in community settings continue to pop up throughout the region, prompting County health officials to remind San Diegans to take precautions to slow the spread of the virus.
Five new community outbreaks were confirmed July 7, bringing the seven-day total to 24, the highest number over the seven-day period. The new outbreaks represent 137 cases, but since the outbreaks are still active, the figure might increase.
An outbreak in a community setting is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in people of different households. One of the County’s “triggers,” or metrics that could lead to additional restrictions, is that there be no more than seven outbreaks over a seven-day period. That measure has been mostly in the red since it was hit June 17.
“Community outbreaks occur when people don’t follow the public health guidance,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “We can’t be complacent and think that we can go back to living our lives before COVID-19. The pandemic is not over. The virus is still here.”
A lower number of COVID-19 community setting outbreaks was being reported at the beginning of the pandemic. During the first three months of the pandemic, 27 outbreaks were reported in the region.
More community outbreaks began to be confirmed as the economy reopened. Thirty-four outbreaks were reported in June, and 23 during the first week of July.
The great majority of community outbreaks have been reported in restaurants with bars. The County Department of Environmental Health continues to work with restaurants to make sure they are following the public health guidelines. County strike teams will soon be deployed to other businesses and worksites where outbreaks are confirmed.
County health officials continue to urge San Diegans to follow public health guidance to protect themselves and others. People should:
Wear a face covering
Keep six feet apart
Practice good hand hygiene and sanitation
Not have house parties or gatherings
Stay home if they are sick
“When people gather at home, they tend to put their guard down because they are with family and friends,” Wooten said. “If they follow the guidance given, we can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and can save lives.”