A UC San Diego Health nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Courtesy UC San Diego Health

San Diego County public health officials said Wednesday local hospitals are now “maxed out” as a near-record 2,807 new coronavirus cases and 23 more deaths were reported.

Cases numbers on Wednesday were second only to Friday’s 2,867. It was the 16th consecutive day with more than 1,000 cases.

“Our region’s hospitals are maxed out with patients and we need to do what we can to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system,” said Supervisor Greg Cox at a media briefing.

There are currently 301 COVID-19 patients being treated in local ICUs compared to 282 for all other medical situations.

Officials reported 16% ICU capacity — compared to 0.5% overall in Southern California — but said that is because hospitals are postponing serious non-COVID operations such as cancer treatment and organ transplants.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said infections during Thanksgiving “really hit us hard” and pleaded with residents not to make Christmas a repetition.

He said that even if you don’t believe you will get COVID-19, “If you get in an automobile accident, you’re going to want that ICU bed available.”

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said first priority for the new vaccines are 82,623 healthcare workers at acute care and psychiatric hospitals. The county began administering 28,275 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday, and expects both another Pfizer shipment plus shipments of the new Moderna vaccine soon.

Since the first local case in March, there have been 114,248 coronavirus cases in San Diego County and 1,217 deaths.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.