COVID-19 Positive Patients Dwindle, Case-by-Case


The number of COVID-19-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals has decreased by 20 to 441, according to the latest state figures.

Of those patients hospitalized as of Saturday, 46 were being treated in intensive care, down five from a day earlier.

There were 220 available ICU beds Saturday, down four from Friday.

San Diego Count has the second-highest number of coronavirus patients in the state, behind Los Angeles County’s 1,202.

Meanwhile, the number of new COVID-19 cases remained fairly steady this past week, but county officials warned that an influx from holiday gatherings was likely in coming days.

San Diegans must take caution over the winter months during indoor gatherings, including masking, washing hands often, staying home when sick and home testing.

COVID-19 vaccines, including bivalent boosters, and flu vaccines were widely available at local medical providers and pharmacies. The county continues to offer vaccinations throughout the region at its vaccination sites.

The COVID vaccines do not necessarily prevent people from contracting or transmitting the virus, but health officials say they offer protections against serious symptoms and possible death.

In the past week, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported 21 additional COVID deaths and 4,714 new infections — compared to 15 deaths and 4,537 the week prior. Thursday’s data increased the county’s cumulative coronavirus totals to 967,078 cases and 5,662 deaths.

According to an HHSA report, 80.5% of eligible San Diegans have received their two-shot primary vaccinations, and 21% of all eligible San Diego residents 5 years and older have received the new bivalent booster.

Flu numbers are on a downward trend, with one additional death and 643 cases reported in the past week, compared to two deaths and 906 cases the previous week. The county’s cumulative total increased to 30 deaths and 20,030 infections — compared to 1,253 at the same time last season and a 3,144 prior 5-year average during the same week.

But what about the new sub variant?

What about it? Don’t worry! It’s an Est-Coast exclusive.

XBB coronavirus subvariants — especially one tagged XBB.1.5 — are fast becoming the most prevalent types circulating in the United States. But that is not yet the case in San Diego County or most of the West.

San Diego’s latest readout of coronavirus genetic surveillance, posted this week by SEARCH, a consortium of local research labs, indicates that 8 percent of genetic material decoded from wastewater samples taken on Dec. 28 are XBB strains. That’s roughly the same number that has appeared in recent readings, with 5.5 percent recorded on Dec. 27 and 9.1 percent on Dec. 26.

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