County Case Rate Increasing; Could Move to Lower Tier

Video by County News Center

The case rate for the region increased in the past week, placing the County at risk of dropping to Tier 1, the highest-risk level.

The region’s case rate rose to 6.9 cases per 100,000 residents after entering the state’s new monitoring system with a 5.8 case rate and being placed in Tier 2, also known as Red Tier.

Should the case rate continue to increase, the County could be moved to Tier 1, or Purple, which carries more restrictive COVID-19 measures.

“San Diegans should continue taking the necessary measures to keep COVID-19 from spreading and the case rate from increasing,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer.

Tier placement is also based on each County’s percentage of tests coming back positive for COVID-19.

The positivity rate also increased from 3.4 to 4.2%, but still well below the state’s goal of 8% or less.

Should the County positivity rate hit 8% and the case rate continue to increase to more than seven cases per 100,000 residents for two consecutive weeks, the region would have to be moved to the Purple Tier.

For those counties not testing their residents at the same rate as the state, new adjustment factors have been added, potentially increasing a region’s case rate. Counties that are testing above the state’s rate have had their case rates scaled down.

Based on the state’s testing data from the County, the region’s case rate is at 7.9 per 100,000 residents, but the region did not get penalized because the state has been having issues, going back several months, that prevent it from getting the County’s correct testing numbers.

“We’re working with the state to resolve the issue,” Wooten said. “Currently, the state has indicated that they will use the County’s data to calculate the case rate and positivity percentage over the next several weeks.”

Should the County’s case rate drop to under 3.9 for a consecutive two weeks, it would qualify to move into Tier 3, or Orange Tier. The region’s positivity percentage has been under 4.9% for over two weeks and would allow the region to move to the higher, less-restrictive Tier 3. However, both metrics will need to qualify for the Orange Tier for two weeks before the County could move into it.

The state will assess counties on a weekly basis, with the next report scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Six, No-Appointment COVID-19 Testing Sites Now Open

The County has increased the number of free, no-appointment testing sites to make it easier for San Diegans to get a COVID-19 test.

Six sites now provide free testing across the region. They are located at:

  1. California State University San Marcos – Viasat Engineering Pavilion
  2. University of San Diego Parking Lot
  3. San Diego State University Parking Lot 17-B (Moving to the Alumni Center on Monday, Sept. 14.)
  4. Tubman-Chavez Community Center
  5. Mar Vista High School (Drive-up site)
  6. San Ysidro Port of Entry PedEast

Appointments are necessary at other County testing sites. To make an appointment, visit or call 2-1-1.

New State Metrics:

  • Under the new state monitoring metrics, San Diego County is currently in Tier 2, also referred to as the Red Tier.
  • San Diego’s state-calculated, unadjusted case rate is 6.9. The testing positivity percentage is 4.2%.
  • The state will assess counties on a weekly basis, with the next report scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Community Setting Outbreaks:

  • Three new outbreaks were confirmed on Sept. 8: one in a restaurant/bar and two in business settings.
  • In the past seven days, 22 community outbreaks were confirmed.
  • The number of community outbreaks remains above the trigger of seven or more in seven days.
  • A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households over the past 14 days.


  • 4,556 tests were reported to the County on Sept. 8 and the percentage of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 5%.
  • The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 4.5%. Target is less than 8.0%.
  • The 7-day, daily average of tests is 6,339.


  • 247 new cases were confirmed among San Diego County residents on Sept. 8 for a total of 41,324.
  • 3,237 or 7.8% of cases have required hospitalization.
  • 773 or 1.9% of all cases and 23.9% of hospitalized cases had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.


  • 12 new COVID-19 deaths were reported in San Diego County on Sept. 8. The region’s total is now 721.
  • Six women and six men died between Aug. 29 and Sept. 7. Their ages ranged from mid-50s to late 80s.
  • All had underlying medical conditions.

More Information:

The more detailed data summaries found on the County’s website will be updated around 5 p.m. today.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact