Health care
Health care providers gather at the nurses’ station in the intensive care unit at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

The number of COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals decreased by 12 people to 1,276, according to the latest state data released Wednesday.

Of those patients, 224 were in intensive care, down eight from Tuesday.

Some patients may have been hospitalized for other reasons and had their COVID status discovered by hospital-mandated tests.

The number of available ICU beds decreased by four to 174 on Wednesday.

To help alleviate the strain on local hospitals, the county’s Health and Human Services Agency recommends that only people needing emergency care go to a hospital emergency department. COVID-19 testing should be reserved for those at higher risk of serious illness and people who need it the most.

People should not go to an emergency department for testing with no or mild COVID symptoms, officials said.

City News Service contributed to this article.

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