COVID-19 pandemic hospital
FILE PHOTO: An unidentified COVID-19 patient is treated in the ICU at Providence St Joseph Hospital in Orange, U.S. July 23, 2021. REUTERS/Omar Younis

The number of new COVID-19 cases remained fairly steady in the past week, but county officials warned Friday an influx from holiday gatherings was likely in coming days.

“It’s never been more important to get tested if you feel COVID-19 symptoms and to get the bivalent booster vaccination if you haven’t,” said County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten. “It’s still less than two weeks from Christmas and we don’t know what New Year’s celebrations could bring. So, take care of yourself and get tested if you feel sick. If you are not ill, get boosted to stay healthy.”

Wooten reminded San Diegans to take caution over the winter months during indoor gatherings, including masking, washing hands often, staying home when sick and home testing.

COVID-19 vaccines, including bivalent boosters, and flu vaccines are widely available at local medical providers and pharmacies. The county continues to offer vaccinations throughout the region at its vaccination sites. Check online for the days and hours sites will be open.

The COVID vaccines do not necessarily prevent people from contracting or transmitting the virus, but health officials say they offer protections against serious symptoms and possible death.

In the past week, the HHSA reported 21 additional COVID deaths and 4,714 new infections — compared to 15 deaths and 4,537 the week prior. Thursday’s data increased the county’s coronavirus totals to 967,078 cases and 5,662 deaths.

The number of COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals increased by 23 to 461, according to the latest state figures.

Of those patients hospitalized as of Saturday, 51 were being treated in intensive care, up from 47 a day earlier.

San Diego County’s total is the second-highest in the state, behind Los Angeles County’s 1,212.

According to a county Health and Human Services report, 80.5% of eligible San Diegans have received their two-shot primary vaccinations. They also report that 21% of all eligible San Diego residents 5 years and older have received the new bivalent booster.

Flu numbers are on a downward trend, with one additional death and 643 cases reported in the past week, compared to two deaths and 906 cases the previous week. The county’s cumulative total increased to 30 deaths and 20,030 infections — compared to 1,253 at the same time last season and a 3,144 prior 5-year average during the same week.

–City News Service