Hospitalman Fred Otero administers a COVID-19 test swab on a patient in a car at Naval Medical Center San Diego. Navy photo

San Diego County public health officials reported a record 4,550 new COVID-19 infections Friday along with 33 deaths from the virus as hospitalizations again reached a new record.

Friday’s cases surpass the 4,478 cases reported last Friday and 4,427 on Saturday. They mark the 39th consecutive day with more than 1,000 new diagnoses.

Cases have crossed the 2,000 mark in 29 of the past 30 days after Tuesday’s 1,814 broke a 26-day streak. The 3,000-mark has been crossed 13 times since the start of the pandemic while the 4,000-mark has been crossed three times.

Hospitalizations resulting from the virus rose to a record 1,753 on Friday. Of those, 401 COVID-19 patients are in ICU beds. The number of available, staffed ICU beds in the county is 44, according to the county’s Health and Human Services Agency.

The county has surpassed 80% of its hospital beds occupied, a significant number due to the county reserving the last 20% of its licensed beds exclusively for COVID-19 patients. New patients, according to a plan developed by the county HHSA last year, could be turned away in some cases.

The county’s cumulative cases now number 185,062 and the death toll rose to 1,771. Of 28,952 tests reported Friday, 16% returned positive, increasing the 14-day rolling average to 14.3% from 13.8% Thursday.

— City News Service

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