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By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Coronavirus testing at San Diego State University. Courtesy of the university

November 23, 2020 (San Diego) - San Diego County public health officials Saturday reported a record-high 1,478 new COVID-19 infections and six new deaths, raising the region’s totals to 70,709 cases and 966 deaths.

Saturday was the 11th consecutive day more than 600 new coronavirus cases were reported by the county, and the most in a single day. Last Saturday, 1,087 cases were reported, 922 were reported Wednesday, 899 Thursday and 1,091 Friday.

County health officials are attributing the sharp increase in cases to a general fatigue of the pandemic and are urging San Diegans to avoid gatherings and take COVID-19 seriously over the Thanksgiving holiday week.

“The virus is widespread and every element of our community is impacted,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “Now more than ever it is vital that San Diegans avoid gatherings and crowds, wear a face covering when they are out in public and stay home if they are sick.”

Nationwide, the country recorded its 12th million COVID-19 case on Saturday, with more than 255,000 people dead of the disease.

The number of COVID-19 cases in San Diego County hospitals continues to rise, with 440 currently hospitalized in the county and 127 in intensive care — nearly double the numbers a month ago.

Wooten said anyone hosting a gathering should keep it small, short and safe.

Gatherings should be limited to a maximum of three stable households. Short meaning the gathering should last two hours or less. Safe meaning that people should stay outdoors as much as possible and wear a face covering when they are not eating or drinking.

San Diego and other California counties in the state’s “purple” tier are subject to a curfew prohibiting all “nonessential” activities and gatherings between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.