A coronavirus patient being treated
A medical staff member treats a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease COVID-19 in the Intensive Care Unit at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The number of COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals decreased by 18 to 322, according to the latest state figures released Saturday.

Of those patients hospitalized as of Saturday, 44 were being treated in intensive care, up four from the previous day’s total. There were 220 available ICU beds Saturday, down eight from Friday.

San Diego County public health officials are encouraging residents to join 540,000 other San Diegans and get a bivalent COVID-19 booster, even as the reported numbers of those falling ill dropped by more than 30% over the past week.

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. Check online for the days and hours sites will be open.

“It’s very important that San Diegans not let their guards down and continue to protect themselves by getting vaccinated if they haven’t been already,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. “The virus is still circulating in the region. We’re still seeing high percentages of positive COVID-19 tests and detecting high levels of the virus in wastewater.

“Vaccinations, including bivalent boosters, can help protect you from getting seriously ill or even dying,” she said.

On Thursday, the County Health and Human Services Agency reported 519,371 San Diegans chose to get the bivalent booster in the four months from when they were introduced September through the end of 2022. That included 126,772 in September, 178,256 in October, 123,450 in November and 90,893 in December. To date in January, 28,747 have obtained the bivalent booster.

In the past week, a total of 2,325 COVID-19 cases were reported to the county, down from 3,370 infections reported the previous week. The number of deaths increased by 22 — compared to 21 last week. Of those deaths, 21 were over the age of 65, 14 had been vaccinated and all 22 had underlying medical conditions.

The county’s cumulative totals increased to 972,887 cases and 5,703 deaths, according to the latest data.

San Diego County has the second-highest number of hospitalized coronavirus patients in the state, behind Los Angeles County’s 830.

According to the county department of Health and Human Services report, 80.5% of eligible San Diegans have received their two-shot primary vaccinations, and 22% of all eligible San Diego residents 5 years and older have received the new bivalent booster.

Flu numbers continue on a downward trend, with four additional deaths and 156 cases reported in the past week, compared to three deaths and 342 cases the previous week. The county’s cumulative total increased to 37 deaths and 20,542 infections — compared to 1,449 at the same time last season and a 5,223 prior 5-year average during the same week.

— City News Service



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Ellen Bullock