New Year Brings Record Number of COVID-19 Cases, 58 More Deaths

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A record number of cases and 58 more COVID-19 deaths were reported Dec. 31, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.

With 4,478 COVID-19 cases reported, the region’s total is now 160,073. This is the first time the daily total surpasses 4,000 cases in a single day and eclipses the previous record set Dec. 17, 2020 when 3,611 cases were reported.

Furthermore, 58 additional deaths were reported Dec. 31, and the total now stands at 1,592. This is the second highest daily total reported after a record 62 deaths were registered Dec. 30.

“The record number of cases and high death totals we are seeing means we must do better with following the public health guidelines, especially avoiding all unnecessary contacts with those outside our immediate households,” said Eric McDonald, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of the County Epidemiology and Immunizations Services branch. “With vaccines becoming more available, we anticipate turning the corner in our fight against COVID-19 in 2021, but it appears it’s going to be a very difficult January.”

With the recent local detections of the B.1.1.7. novel coronavirus strain first found in the United Kingdom, San Diegans should do the following now more than ever:

  • Wash your hands
  • Wear a mask
  • Keep your distance from others and leave your household only for essential activities
  • If you’re sick, get tested, and then stay home and isolate yourself

ICU Capacity and Stay Home Order:

  • The current intensive care unit (ICU) bed availability for the Southern California region is now 0.0% and will be updated by the state daily.
  • The Regional Stay Home Order is in effect and prohibits gatherings of any size with people from other households and adds restrictions for multiple sectors.
  • The order will last until the region’s ICU availability meets or exceeds 15%.

Community Setting Outbreaks:

  • Eight new community outbreaks were confirmed on Dec. 31: Four in business settings, two in grocery settings, one in a healthcare setting and one in a faith-based setting.
  • In the past seven days (Dec. 25 through Dec. 31), 53 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.


  • 31,602 tests were reported to the County on Dec. 31, and the percentage of new laboratory-confirmed cases was 14%.
  • The 7-day, daily average of tests is 21,726.
  • People at higher risk for COVID-19 who are with or without symptoms should be tested. People with any symptoms should get tested. Healthcare and essential workers should also get a test, as well as people who have had close contact to a positive case or live in communities that are being highly impacted. Those recently returned from travel, or who participated in holiday gatherings, are also urged to get tested.


  • 5,914 or 3.7% of all cases have required hospitalization.
  • 1,219 or 0.8% of all cases and 20.6% of hospitalized cases had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.


  • 58 new COVID-19 deaths were reported to the County on Dec. 31. The region’s total is now 1,592.
  • 37 men and 21 women died between Dec. 14 and Dec. 31, and their ages ranged from late 40s to early 100s.
  • 42 had underlying medical conditions and 16 have medical history pending.

More Information:

The more detailed data summaries found on the County’s website are updated around 5 p.m. daily.


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