San Diego County COVID-19 Hospitalizations At 465

A patient with COVID-19 is being treated at El Centro
A healthcare worker in protective gear treats a patient with COVID-19 at El Centro Regional Medical Center. REUTERS/Ariana Drehsler

The number of people hospitalized with a coronavirus infection in San Diego County doubled to 465 — the most since late February — according to the latest state figures Saturday.

ICU patients with COVID increased by five to 54. There were six more hospital beds available Saturday, for a total of 226.

Amid an increase in COVID-19 cases in San Diego County, health officials are reminding the public to seek treatment to help prevent severe symptoms from the virus.

Antiviral medications require a doctor’s prescription and should be started within five days of the onset of symptoms of COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies should not be given more than seven days after the onset of symptoms.

“If you’re already vaccinated, then treatment gives you extra protection and can reduce your risk of hospitalization or worse even if you’re not,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s deputy public health officer. “Treatment works best if started as soon as possible after infection, so get tested as soon as symptoms appear.”

Treatment centers and medical offices in the area offer both oral antiviral pills, such as Paxlovid, and monoclonal antibodies given as an intravenous infusion. A provider will determine which treatment option is best for each individual patient based on their symptoms, age, and possible underlying conditions.

County sites are prioritizing treatment for people who have been at the highest risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes throughout the pandemic, including adults 50 and older, people of color, people with underlying medical conditions, people of lower socioeconomic status, and non- vaccinated.

“Treatment helps,” Kaiser said, “but the best approach is always prevention.”

The county Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,007 new infections and 10 deaths Thursday night, bringing the county’s cumulative totals to 870,079 cases and 5,387 deaths.

The highly virulent BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants continue to lead the county’s number of cases and hospitalizations, keeping San Diego County in the “high” level of COVID-19 activity.

San Diego has been in the medium risk category since late May, but recent increases in hospitalizations and new cases have led the CDC to raise the risk level for the region.

The San Diego County case rate per 100,000 residents age 12 and older is 51.5 for fully vaccinated and boosted, 30 for fully vaccinated, and 89.6 for non-fully vaccinated San Diegans.

According to the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, confirmed cases of the coronavirus remain close to 10,000 per week, a number that does not include home testing. HHSA also reported that it has also seen an increase in reinfections — San Diegans who have tested positive for COVID-19 several times throughout the pandemic. Previous infection does not necessarily prevent re-infection with some of the newer variants of the virus, according to national data.

More than 3 million or 89.8% of San Diegans 6 months of age and older are at least partially vaccinated. Almost 2.65 million or 79.3% are fully vaccinated. A total of 1,406,860 or 58% of the 2,425,587 eligible San Diegans have received assistance.

The county only reports COVID data on Mondays and Thursdays.

— City news service

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