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 in San Diego County with a COVID-related illness fell by 39 patients to 242, according to the latest state data released Saturday.

A total of 29 coronavirus patients, up three from Friday, were being treated in intensive care Saturday and ICU available beds decreased by three to 203.

The statewide total of COVID-positive patients decreased by 72 people Saturday to 2,404. Some of the patients entered the hospital for other reasons and learned they had the coronavirus after a mandated test.

The San Diego City Council voted last week to end the city’s COVID-19 emergency declaration and a city employee vaccine mandate at the end of February.

Mayor Todd Gloria, City Attorney Mara Elliott and Councilwoman Marni von Wilpert released a joint statement proposing to end the emergency declaration — which had been in effect since March 17, 2020, under then-Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s administration. Since that date, it has been renewed and extended multiple times by the city council.

“Consistent with the state of California’s decision to lift the COVID- 19 state of emergency effective Feb. 28, 2023, the city of San Diego will look to take similar action as the conditions requiring a local emergency declaration have steadily improved,” the statement said.

“As part of this action, we will also sunset our vaccine mandate for city employees due to a decrease in COVID-19 positive cases and hospitalizations, and 91% of city employees having been vaccinated. We find ourselves in this improved state because, by and large, San Diegans did their part in the fight against the pandemic by getting vaccinated and following public health guidance,” the statement added.

Board of Supervisors Chair Nora Vargas said that while the state of emergency will officially end later this month, the pandemic is not over and “the county will adjust as we need to.”

Updated at 10:25 a.m. Feb. 3, 2023

— City News Service