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 COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals has dropped by five to 158, according to the latest state numbers released Saturday.

Of those patients hospitalized as of Saturday, 16 were being treated in intensive care, an increase of four from Friday. There were 209 available ICU beds, an increase of four from Friday.

Meanwhile, the statewide total of hospitalized patients fell below 2,000 for the first time since November, declining by 52 people to 1,974. Some patients were admitted for other reasons and learned they had COVID after a mandated test.

Earlier this week, the county’s Health and Human Services Agency reported 1,295 new COVID cases and 11 additional deaths. That brings the cumulative totals since the beginning of the pandemic to 987,594 cases and 5,810 deaths, the agency said.

A majority of people who die with COVID-19 are elderly or have an underlying health condition such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension.

The county releases its weekly COVID numbers on Thursdays.

Updated at 2 p.m. March 18, 2023

–City News Service