Motorists wait in a long queue at Kaiser Permanente complex in La Mesa for COVID-19 testing on Monday, Jan. 3.
Motorists wait in a long queue at Kaiser Permanente complex in La Mesa for COVID-19 testing on Monday, Jan. 3. Photo by Chris Stone

The number of coronavirus cases in San Diego County skyrocketed over the weekend, with more than 17,000 new confirmed cases Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported.

A total of 8,313 positive COVID-19 cases were confirmed Sunday, following 4,608 reported Saturday and 4,227 on Friday. The county’s cumulative total increased to 450,198 since the pandemic began. With an additional seven deaths reported, the death toll increased to 4,476.

A total of 13,587 tests were reported on Monday, and the seven-day average positivity rate was 23.3%, up from 17.1% on Thursday.

No updates were provided over the holiday weekend. The latest numbers came in late Monday night.

The number of COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals continues to climb at a pace not seen since August, according to the latest state figures. There were 682 people in the county hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, up from 664 on Monday, 628 on Sunday, 590 on Saturday, 510 on Friday and 475 on Thursday.

Of those patients, 121 were in intensive care, down one from the previous day. The number of available ICU beds increased by seven to 188. Some COVID-positive patients may have been hospitalized for other reasons and had their COVID status discovered by hospital-mandated tests, according to the state health department.

UC San Diego began a planned two weeks of remote-only classes Monday in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Students and faculty, regardless of vaccination status, are required to complete a COVID-19 test on the day they return to campus for winter quarter. People who are not vaccinated and those who are vaccinated but have not received a booster shot are required to test for the virus two times per week, between three and five days apart.

Remote-only instruction also began Monday at other University of California campuses.

San Diego County recommended that people worried about COVID-19 infection and others seeking COVID-19 testing only go to a hospital to be tested if they have severe symptoms.

Those with mild COVID-19 symptoms should contact their health care provider via phone or telehealth for guidance.

–City News Service

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