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 increased by one to 133, according to the latest state data out Saturday.

Of those patients hospitalized as of Saturday, 23 were being treated in intensive care, the same number as Friday. The number of available hospital beds was 220, an increase of two.

On Thursday, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 1,579 new COVID-19 infections, the most since early February and part of a larger trend as infections continue to increase.

A total of 7,008 cases were reported during the past week compared to 4,996 cases identified the previous week, a 40% increase. These are only the cases reported to county or hospital sites. As the proliferation of at-home tests has increased, the actual number of infections is likely higher.

The HHSA reported five COVID-related deaths Thursday, increasing the county’s cumulative totals from throughout the pandemic to 775,369 infections and 5,282 deaths.

Health officials have said that the majority of people who die of COVID complications have underlying conditions, mainly hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

Pending approval from the Western States committee, booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine may soon be available for San Diego children ages 5 through 11, the HHSA announced Thursday. The Pfizer boosters should be given five months after receiving the final dose of the primary vaccine series, officials said.

“Some parents have been anxiously waiting to give their children extra protection against COVID-19 and the shots may be finally approved,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County public health officer. “COVID-19 boosters for everyone who is eligible are easy to get because we have plenty of vaccine available in the region.”

Omicron variants have been making more San Diego children sick, the HHSA reported, with some requiring hospitalization and others developing multi- system inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C. From Nov. 27, 2021 to May 7, 2022, 90% of the pediatric hospitalizations for the syndrome occurred in children who were not fully vaccinated.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 98 MIS-C cases in the county. Of those, 53% have been reported in children ages five to 11.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “MIS-C is a rare, but serious, post-infectious hyper-inflammatory condition occurring about 2 to 6 weeks after infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

Symptoms of MIS-C include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, skin rash, inflammation and multi-organ dysfunction. In severe cases, children can experience hypotension (low blood pressure) and shock. Approximately 60-80% of the early cases of MIS-C patients required intensive care admission.

“MIS-C can often be so severe that children require life-saving interventions,” Wooten said. “Parents should contact their doctor immediately if their child develops any of these symptoms. The best thing parents can do is get all the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for themselves and their children.”

More than 2.96 million or 94% of San Diegans age 5 and older are at least partially vaccinated, while more than 2.62 million or 83.3% are fully vaccinated. A total of 1,323,824 or 58.5% of 2,264,730 eligible San Diegans have received a booster shot.

A total of 9,611 tests were reported to the county on May 14, and the percentage of new positive cases was 7.3%. The 14-day rolling percentage of positive cases, among tests reported through May 14, is 5.8%.

The county only reports COVID-19 data on Mondays and Thursdays.

City News Service