A San Diego firefighter gets a COVID-vaccine. Image from HHSA video

San Diego County public health officials reported 685 new COVID-19 infections and 12 deaths Tuesday, as the region’s hospitals continue to prepare for a possible “fifth surge” of the virus.

Tuesday’s data brought the county’s cumulative coronavirus totals to 350,267 cases and 4,021 fatalities since the pandemic began.

According to state figures, the number of COVID patients in county hospitals decreased from 456 on Monday to 446, with 148 of those patients in intensive care.

San Diego City Councilwoman Marni von Wilpert announced on Tuesday she had tested positive for the virus and encouraged residents to get vaccinated.

“I am very symptomatic but I am EXTREMELY lucky that although I am feeling ill, I am not in the hospital or on a ventilator because I am vaccinated,” she wrote.

“This illness is real and scary, and I want to speak directly to residents of San Diego: I know there are those of you who have been hesitant to get your vaccine, and I understand that you are scared. But billions of people around the world have been safely vaccinated and let me tell you — this virus is not to be messed with,” von Wilpert wrote.

“Please — get vaccinated. Encourage your friends and family to get vaccinated. I hope that those of you who were waiting for full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine now have confidence it will save your life,” she added.

San Diego County’s case rate per 100,000 residents is 33.6 overall, 13.9 for fully vaccinated people, and 59.3 for those not fully vaccinated.

Nearly 4.67 million vaccine doses have been administered in the county, with around 2.44 million or 87.1% of county residents receiving at least one dose. Fully vaccinated county residents now number more than 2.16 million, or about 77.2% of the county’s eligible population.

A list of locations and more information is available at coronavirus-sd.com/vaccine.

Updated at 5:32 p.m. September 21, 2021

City News Service contributed to this report.

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