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 the coronavirus has fallen by five to 238, according to the latest state data released Saturday.

Of those patients, 31 were being treated in intensive care, an increase of 10 from Friday’s total. Available ICU beds decreased by 17 to 191.

Some of the patients entered the hospital for other reasons and learned they had the coronavirus after a mandated test.

COVID-19 cases rose slightly over the past week. There were 1,916 COVID-19 cases reported to the county in the past seven days, increasing the region’s total to 981,076. Those cases were an increase from the 1,755 infections identified the previous week.

“The best way for people to protect themselves, their loved ones and friends from possibly getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19 continues to be getting up to date with your vaccinations and get a bivalent booster,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, county deputy public health officer. “Even though COVID-19 cases are far below historic highs, the virus is still widespread. And it remains a potentially deadly threat for many people.”

Additionally, 14 deaths were reported this week, increasing the region’s cumulative total to 5,759. Of those, 10 were older than 65, nine had been vaccinated and five hadn’t. All 14 had underlying medical conditions.

More than 2.69 million people — or 80.6% of San Diegans — have received the primary series of one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. Additionally, 572,085 or 22.8% of 2,514,110 eligible San Diegans have received the bivalent booster.

Both COVID-19 vaccinations and treatment remain widely available throughout San Diego County. COVID-19 primary series vaccines and bivalent boosters, as well as flu vaccines, are available at local pharmacies, medical providers’ offices and county vaccination sites.

The vaccine does not prevent people from contracting or spreading the virus, but health officials say it reduces the likelihood of severe symptoms or death for those who are infected.

Meanwhile, influenza cases declined over the past week, with 59 reported cases compared to 77 the previous seven days. The total lab-confirmed cases to date increase to 20,869 — compared to 1,549 at the same time last season and a 7,852 prior 5-year average during the same week.

–City News Service