San Diego County moved to CDC’s ‘high’ virus activity category

On Thursday, the average daily rate of COVID-19 positive patients hospitalized in the county rose to 11.5 per 100,000 population.

SAN DIEGO – With the highly infectious BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants driving up the number of cases and hospitalizations, San Diego County moved into “high” COVID-19 activity on Thursday, but unlike in Los Angeles County, no indoor mask mandate has been announced.

On Thursday, the average daily rate of COVID-19 positive patients hospitalized in the county rose to 11.5 per 100,000 population. This exceeded the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “high” viral activity threshold.

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

The county continues to follow the California Department of Public Health’s SMARTER plan, which recommends vaccination, mask use, testing and treatment, among other things.

“San Diegans should take all necessary precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s deputy director of public health. “Most San Diegans have been vaccinated, but with this virus, and with the prevalence and infectivity of new variants, a booster is strongly recommended, especially for those who are immunocompromised or have other comorbidities.”

On Thursday, the total number of patients in county hospitals with COVID-19 fell by three to 395, and those in intensive care units fell by two to 43 – the highest number since early March. A total of 6.6% of all hospital beds in the county are occupied by people with COVID-19.

The total case rate for San Diego County is 383.01 per 100,000 population.

According to the county’s Health and Human Services Agency, lab-confirmed coronavirus cases remain near 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 Diegan residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 multiple times throughout the pandemic. According to national data, prior infection does not necessarily prevent reinfection with some of the new virus variants.

Additionally, hospitalizations for COVID-related illnesses are also on the rise, up 66% in the past 30 days, HHSA said last week. New intensive care admissions increased by 68% over the same period.

The county reported 2,191 new infections and seven virus-related deaths on Thursday, bringing the cumulative total to 857,182 cases and 5,370 deaths.

Health officials said the majority of deaths occurred in people with at least one underlying health condition, primarily hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

More than 3 million or 89.7% of San Diegans six months and older are at least partially vaccinated. Nearly 2.65 million or 79.2% are fully vaccinated. A total of 1,396,563 or 57.8% of the 2,418,004 eligible San Diegans received a recall.

The county only reports COVID data on Mondays and Thursdays.

Watch related: COVID cases, hospitalizations on the rise in San Diego County (July 8, 2022)

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