What to Know for May 15
- San Diego County reported 138 new cases of COVID-19. The region’s total is now 278,990.
- Five new COVID-19 deaths were reported on May 12. The region’s total is 3,737.
The coronavirus pandemic reached San Diego County in mid-March 2020. Each day, local health officials give us updates on the spread of the novel coronavirus in our region. We will bring you the latest news here, every day. You can count on us.
COVID-19 Patients in San Diego County
San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) officials have reported 278,990 positive COVID-19 cases and 3,737 deaths since Feb. 14, 2020.
After a holiday season case surge clamped nationwide hospital capacity and forced California under a second stay-at-home order, coronavirus case data in San Diego County is continuing a months-long downtrend.
But the pandemic is far from over -- COVID-19 hasn't taken its last victim and many San Diegans are still suffering from its physical and emotional impacts, not to mention the effects of months of economic downturn.
The county continues to test and vaccinate thousands of citizens every day as part of its effort to flatten the curve and advance through the state's tiered reopening blueprint.
Helpful Data: County vaccination demographics; Map of case rates by city and ZIP; COVID-19 case totals by age and gender; Map of case totals by city of residence; Case totals by race/ethnicity; Tests reported by day; Statistics regarding hospitalized patients; Statistics regarding deceased patients.
NBC 7 will track daily COVID-19 developments in San Diego County throughout May 2021 here.
For now, to catch up on what happened in April 2021 in San Diego County during the pandemic, read this.
May 2021 Updates
Cases/Deaths: San Diego County public health officials reported 138 new COVID-19 cases out of 13,105 tests reported, a 1% positive rate. Five deaths were reported bringing the total toll to 3,737. The region's total number of COVID-19 cases is now 278,990.
Hospitalizations: A total of 130 people were hospitalized, a decrease from Friday's 136. Patients in intensive care units declined to 39 Saturday from Friday's 40. There are 49 available, staffed ICU beds in the county.
Vaccines: Starting Saturday, youths ages 12-17 who want to get a COVID-19 vaccination in San Diego County without a parent present will have to provide a signed form to show their parent or legal guardian has given permission, officials said.
Cases: Officials reported 261 COVID-19 cases were reported to the County on May 13. The region’s total is now 278,852. A total of 14,758 tests were reported to the County on May 13, and the percentage of new positive cases was 2%.
Deaths: Three new COVID-19 deaths were reported on May 13. The region’s total is 3,732. One woman and two men died between Sept. 20, 2020, and April 20, 2021.
The deaths from 2020 were just added to the list after a rigorous review of death certificates that were incorrect or incomplete and required the analysis of the patients’ medical records to determine if they were COVID-19 deaths.
One of the deceased was 80 years of age or older, one was in their 50s and one was in their 40s. All had underlying medical conditions.
Pfizer Vaccine for Youths: San Diego County public health officials started offering Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to kids ages 12-15 on Thursday after the approval of the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people on Thursday, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.
The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools, and other venues — even removing the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.
NBC 7 reached out to both the California Department of Public Health and to San Diego County to find out whether the CDC guidelines apply here. A spokesman for the county sent an email that said, “The County, as always, will follow CDC and CDPH guidance.” The spokesperson added that the county is still waiting to hear how the CDPH plans to handle the situation.
Cases/ Deaths: Health officials reported 190 COVID-19 cases on May 12. The region’s total is now 278,591. A total of 15,749 tests were reported to the County on May 12, and the percentage of new positive cases was 1%.
No new COVID-19 deaths were reported on May 12. The region’s total is 3,729.
Pfizer Vaccine for Youths: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday signed off on expanded usage of Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, clearing the way for pediatricians to start giving out the shots across the U.S. as early as Thursday.
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said they fully expect 12-to-15 year old to be able to start getting vaccinated Thursday, pending the expected approval Wednesday night by the Western States Scientific Safety Review and California Department of Public Health.
“We will be in a strong position to meet the needs of 12-to-15-year old’s as we move forward. And we have plenty of vaccines available at this point," Fletcher said.
CA Coronavirus Update: California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the nation’s most populous state would stop requiring people to wear masks in almost all circumstances on June 15, describing a world he said will look “a lot like the world we entered into before the pandemic.”
“We’re not wearing face coverings. We’re not restricted in any way, shape or form from doing the old things that we used to do, save for huge, large-scale indoor convention events like that, where we use our common sense,” Newsom said in an interview.
When asked in the county briefing Dr. Wilma Wooten said San Diego will follow the state guidelines but it will have to depend on the regions case rate.
Cases: County officials reported 94 new COVID-19 cases, the first time new cases dipped below 100 in nearly a year, Fletcher said. It marked the lowest number of new cases since the County reported 73 cases on May 31, 2020, according to the county.
“This is encouraging. We continue to see our case counts trending in a positive direction," Fletcher said.
A total of 12,693 tests were reported to the County on May 11, and the percentage of new positive cases was 1%. The region’s total is now 278,401.
Deaths: Four new COVID-19 deaths were reported on May 11. The region’s total is now at 3,729. Three women and one man died between April 28 and May 8. Two of the deceased were in their early 80s; one was in their late 70s and one was in their late 50s.
All had underlying medical conditions.
San Diego County reported 125 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths as hospitalizations and case rates remained steady.
Of 10,120 tests reported Tuesday, 1% returned positive and the county's 14-day rolling average remained 1.5%.
Coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the county increased by one, to 156 from Monday, while patients with COVID-19 in intensive care units increased by 3, to 46 from Monday's 43. There were 55 available, staffed ICU beds in the county..
Tuesday's data increased the county's cumulative total to 278,307 cases with the death toll remaining at 3,725.
The county has received 3,680,575 doses of coronavirus vaccine and has administered 3,204,616 of them.
A total of 1,740,571 people have received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, 86.3% of the way toward reaching the county's goal of vaccinating 75% of San Diego County residents 16 and older, or 2,017,011 people.
A total of 1,270,808 -- or 63% of the county's goal -- in the 16-or-older age range are fully inoculated with either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines will be available Wednesday at three San Diego Unified School District high school campuses for anyone age 16 and over. Sharp Health will offer Pfizer vaccines at Clairemont High School on Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. UC San Diego will administer Pfizer vaccines on Wednesday and Thursday at Morse and San Diego high schools.
The schools hosting the clinics have notified families about the free vaccines and provided them with a parent consent form that must be signed for students younger than 18 to receive a vaccine, according to the SDUSD.
California Comeback Plan: Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $100 billion economic recovery plan that includes $600 checks for two-thirds of Californians -- those who make up to $75,000 a year. Families making up to $75,000 combined with at least one child will get an extra $500.
The proposal also includes $5.2 billion to pay back rent and $2 billion for overdue utility bills for people who fell behind during the pandemic. Details of the California Comeback Plan will be released all week ahead of releasing his revised state budget.
Vaccine for Kids: The FDA has approved a request from Pfizer and BioNTech to give their vaccine to kids age 12 to 15 on an emergency use basis, which would allow states to get middle school students vaccinated before the fall.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine advisory commitee must review the approval, which is scheduled for Wednesday, and, if approved, doses for adolescents could be distributed as soon as this week.
The companies said in late March that the vaccine was found to be 100% effective in a clinical trial of more than 2,000 adolescents. They also said the vaccine elicited a "robust" antibody response in the children, exceeding those in an earlier trial of older teens and young adults. Side effects were generally consistent with those seen in adults, they added.
Cases and Deaths: San Diego County reported 233 new coronavirus cases, pushing the otalt to 278,182. No new new deaths were reported, keeping that total at 3,725.
Community Outbreaks: Sixteen outbreaks have been reported over the last seven days, as San Diego inches closer to getting below the trigger of seven in a week's time. Once there, public health officials will modify the public health order.
- Received at least one shot: Close to 1.74 million or 64.5% of San Diegans 16 and older.
- Fully vaccinated: About 1.26 million or 46.9%.
- The goal: fully vaccinate 75% of residents 16 and older. To date, 86.0% of the goal population has received at least one vaccine and 62.5% are fully vaccinated.
Cases: Officials reported 190 COVID-19 cases on May 8. The region’s total is now 277,949. A total of 9,203 tests were reported to the County on May 8, and the percentage of new positive cases was 2%.
Deaths: No new COVID-19 deaths were reported on May 8. The region’s total is still at 3,725.
Cases: Officials reported 226 COVID-19 cases on May 7. The region’s total is now 277,759. A total of 11,265 tests were reported to the County on May 7, and the percentage of new positive cases was 2%.
Deaths: Seven new COVID-19 deaths were reported on May 7. The region’s total is 3,725.
Vaccine Efforts: San Diego County leaders unveiled a new program Friday that will allow local establishments to host pop-up COVID-19 vaccine sites to make it more convenient for workers to get their shots.
Yellow Tier?: While other major cities in California have shifted to the state’s least restrictive yellow tier in its color-coded reopening system, San Diego will remain in the more restrictive orange tier and it may stay that way until the state’s targeted reopening date.
In a coronavirus county briefing on Thursday, San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said that he is “not optimistic” San Diego will move tiers before June 15, when Gov. Gavin Newsom plans for a wider reopening of the state.
Cases, Deaths: Officials reported 210 COVID-19 cases on May 6. The region’s total is now 277,533. A total of 14,864 tests were reported to the County on May 6, and the percentage of new positive cases was 1%.
Two new COVID-19 deaths were reported on May 6. The region’s total is 3,718. A woman in her 80s and a man in his 50s died between Jan. 26 and May 6. Both had underlying medical conditions.
Vaccination Efforts: San Diego County has surpassed 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered. Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said now 63% of the eligible population of San Diego residents have received at least their first COVID-19 vaccine dose and more than 44% have received their second COVID-19 vaccine dose.
Vaccine Sites: Three vaccine sites will now offer evening hours. The first one is in Oceanside, the second is in Chula Vista El Cajon. These sites will now be open from 1 to 8 p.m.
The County also announced it was extending appointment windows for its sites, from two-to-three days to seven days, to give people a wider time to set vaccination appointments.
Cases, Deaths: Officials reported 226 COVID-19 cases . The region’s total is now 277,323. A total of 15,412 tests were reported to the County on May 5, and the percentage of new positive cases was 1%.
No new COVID-19 deaths were reported May 5. The region’s total is 3,716.
Vaccination Efforts: Walmart, Sam's Club, and CVS announced a shift to walk-up appointments this week, meaning an appointment is no longer required for a patient to get the shot at their pharmacies nationwide.
That's about 1,115 CVS Pharmacy locations and 308 Sam's Club and Walmart pharmacies in California now opening up their availability -- on top of some local health sites that have also switched to a walk-up approach.
Cases: Officials reported 219 COVID-19 cases. The region’s total is now 277,097. Of all cases, 15,276 or 5.5% have required hospitalization.
Deaths: Three new COVID-19 deaths were reported May 4. The region’s total is 3,716. Two women and one man died between Jan. 29 and April 27. The deceased were all 80 years of age or older. They had underlying medical conditions.
Cases: Officials reported 186 COVID-19 positive cases. The region’s total is now 276,878.
On Twitter, a rep for UC San Diego Health said the facility reported zero new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours -- a first since testing launched there more than a year ago.
Deaths: One new COVID-19 death was reported, bringing the county's total to 3,713.
National Vaccination Effort: President Joe Biden on Tuesday set a new vaccination goal to deliver at least one shot to 70% of adult Americans by July Fourth. Biden also called for states to make vaccines available on a walk-in basis and said he will direct many pharmacies to do likewise. Details here.
Cases: Officials reported 154 COVID-19 positive cases. The region’s total is now 276,520.
Deaths: Six new COVID-19 deaths were reported. The region’s total is 3,712.
Cases: Officials reported 210 COVID-19 positive cases on April 30. The region’s total is now 276,366.
Deaths: Four new COVID-19 deaths were reported on April 30. The region’s total is 3,706.
Community Outbreaks: Three new outbreaks were reported. In the last seven days, 24 community outbreaks were reported.
The Coronavirus Pandemic in San Diego County, Month by Month
For a look back at what happened day by day in April 2021 in San Diego County during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.
For a look back at what happened day by day in March 2021 in San Diego County during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.
For a look back at what happened day by day in February 2021 in San Diego County during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.
For a full look back at what happened day by day in January 2021 in San Diego County during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.
For a look back at what happened in San Diego County in December 2020, click here.
For a look back at what happened in San Diego County in November 2020, click here.
For a look back at what happened in San Diego County in October 2020, click here.
For a look back at what happened in San Diego County in September 2020, click here.
To read what happened in April 2020, a month that county leaders called "critical" for flattening the curve, click here.
Mid-March 2020: The Coronavirus Pandemic Reaches San Diego County
A lot happened in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic reached San Diego County and COVID-19 cases surged.
This included quarantine operations at a 151-room Ramada hotel in Kearny Mesa that was chosen to house quarantined patients held at MCAS Miramar (March 18).
More than 480 passengers from a coronavirus-ridden cruise ship that docked at the Port of Oakland were flown to MCAS Miramar March 10 to March 12 to complete a mandatory 14-day federal quarantine. On March 27, Dr. Eric McDonald, Medical Director with the County Epidemiology Immunization Branch said all but three of the passengers had returned home after 14-days of quarantine, including those who had been at the Ramada Hotel.
Training Support Command at Naval Base San Diego was temporarily closed on March 14 due to three Sailors testing positive for COVID-19.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the stay-at-home order and, soon, the springtime shutdown across San Diego County began.
Schools Shut Down
On March 13, San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten shut down the second-largest school district in California. All other school districts in San Diego County followed suit. San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy closed all schools within the San Diego Catholic Diocese, too.
We later learned schools across the state would be closed for the remainder of the academic year.
Local colleges and universities also canceled classes and events and moved their operations online. This included: UC San Diego; San Diego State University; California State University San Marcos; Point Loma Nazarene University; University of San Diego; San Diego Community College District; Southwestern College; Palomar College; Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.
Church Services Canceled
As gatherings were banned, all daily and Sunday masses in the San Diego Catholic Diocese were canceled. Rock Church San Diego services were also canceled and moved to streaming online.
Beaches & Parks Closed
On March 23, San Diego’s beaches, parks, boardwalks, and other open spaces across the county were ordered to close to restrict gatherings over 10 people prohibited by state and local laws.
Restaurant Dinings Rooms & Bars Close
Bars and restaurant dining rooms were ordered to close in March, too. Shopping malls closed. Some retailers – like clothing stores Urban Outfitters and Brandy Melville USA – temporarily closed their stores, and more would follow.
Sports, On Hold
Sports agencies – both college-level and professional – suspended their games and seasons. MLB’s Opening Day – including the San Diego Padres big Home Opener at Petco Park – were scrapped, but in June, the MLB made plans to return to the field, without fans. The 2020 MLB season will return in late July.
Text "COSD COVID19" to 468311 to receive updates and alerts from the county. Click here to find different ways to help your community during the pandemic.
San Diego County would like to remind everyone if you or someone you care about is experiencing a suicidal or mental health crisis, please call the Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240.
Pitching in During the Pandemic: Stories of San Diegans Doing Good: Read more stories about San Diegans finding creative ways to lend support. Have you heard about a story we should share? Let us know