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 people hospitalized with a coronavirus infection in San Diego County was 370 with 53 being treated in intensive care, according to the latest state data.

Meanwhile, children as young as 6 months old can receive bivalent COVID-19 vaccination boosters following Federal Drug Administration approval.

The FDA has expanded the emergency use of the updated Pfizer and Moderna bivalent booster vaccines to young ages. The agency previously expanded availability to include 5- to 11-year-olds in October. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California Department of Public Health quickly recommended vaccinations for young children after the FDA approval.

“We can now provide additional protection for children as young as 6 months of age from COVID-19,” said County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma J. Wooten. “This is especially important with the high incidence of COVID-19 in our community. Please take advantage and have your children vaccinated to protect them and the rest of your family.”

The county Health and Human Services Agency is recorded high numbers of a triple threat of respiratory diseases this winter season, from COVID-19 to the flu to respiratory syncytial virus.

Public Health officials are still strongly urging people to get vaccinated for both COVID-19 and the flu.

The bivalent COVID-19 booster and flu vaccinations are separate shots, but they can be given at the same visit.

The updated boosters are intended to protect individuals from the worst outcomes of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death. Everyone 6 months of age and older who has had their primary vaccination series is eligible to get the updated booster two months following any COVID vaccine or booster dose.

Additionally, the Biden Administration has moved to make free at-home COVID-19 tests available again through the winter for a limited time. Households can order one pack of four free tests through the U.S. Postal Service.

Meanwhile, a post-Thanksgiving spike in COVID-19 cases continued but was trending downward. In the past week, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported 4,821 lab-confirmed cases, down from 5,649 infections the previous week.

A total of 24 deaths from COVID were reported since the last update. The region’s cumulative totals increased to 5,608 deaths and 952,752 infections.

Meanwhile, close to 2.69 million or 80.4% of San Diegans received the primary series of one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. The number of bivalent boosters administered increased to 474,245 or 19% of 2,494,254 eligible San Diegans.

Influenza cases also declined week-over-week from 2,600 cases the previous week to 1,603 new lab-confirmed cases of influenza this week. By this time last year, 696 flu cases had been reported for the entire season, compared to the county’s current count of 17,182.

Another seven San Diegans have died of the flu, increasing the season’s cumulative total to 20.

–City News Service



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Ellen Bullock