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

San Diego County public health officials Tuesday reported 1,814 new COVID-19 infections, 56 deaths, and a record number of hospitalizations.

It was the 36th consecutive day with more than 1,000 new infections, but the first time in 26 days that the number reported did not surpass the 2,000 mark. The 3,000 mark has been crossed 10 times since the start of the pandemic.

The number of deaths reported was the third-highest, after 62 deaths reported Wednesday and 58 reported on New Year’s Day.

County health officials are attributing the increasing number in deaths to gatherings over the holidays and the presence in the community of the new coronavirus variant — known as B.1.1.7.

“Each of the 56 people who lost their lives to COVID-19 during this reporting period was someone’s parent, sibling, friend or spouse, as well as a valued member of our community,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s public health officer. “These deaths are a sobering reminder that we must all do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

The county reported 62 new hospitalizations and 10 new intensive care admissions, bringing the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 to a record 1,609. The number of patients in ICU beds totaled 380.

The county’s ICU bed capacity is at 20%, according to county health officials.

— City News Service

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