San Diego County reopening status may be downgraded

The Grossmont Center outdoor shopping mall in La Mesa, Calif., is shown after its May reopening.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

San Diego County’s health officer says the region’s COVID-19 case rate needs to improve to avoid losing ground in the fight against the coronavirus.


San Diego County’s case rate is now high enough that it will cause the region to fall to the lowest tier of the state’s reopening system if it continues for another week.

That was the assessment of Dr. Wilma Wooten in a presentation to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said the rate of positive COVID-19 tests per 100,000 residents had reached 7.9, exceeding the maximum of 7.0.

Wooten’s evaluation came about an hour before the state was set to make its weekly tier report. T There was some hope that San Diego County’s case rate might be adjusted downward, if the rate of local tests eclipsed the statewide average. But Wooten did not appear to hold out much hope that such an adjustment would be forthcoming.

If in a week the county has another score exceeding 7, it would fall to the state’s lowest and most restrictive reopening tier. Color-coded purple, the lowest tier allows only hair salons and barbershops to continue operating indoors at full capacity. Indoor retail would have to be limited to 25% of capacity.

Restaurants, houses of worship, museums and gyms would only be allowed to operate outdoors. And movie theaters would have to stop indoor operations.