SAN DIEGO – San Diego County public health officials Friday reported the first local pediatric fatality from COVID-19 with the death of a 10-year-old boy.
The boy had underlying medical conditions, according to Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. He was among the 39 new deaths tied the virus reported on Friday.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of this child,” Wooten said in a news release. “This boy’s death is a somber reminder that this pandemic impacts everyone in our community, regardless of their age, and we must do everything we can to protect each other and slow the spread of the virus.”
Wooten is urging residents to continue to take precautions, including washing hands, social distancing, wearing a mask and getting vaccinated whenever possible.
Officials Friday reported 1,453 new COVID-19 infections and 39 deaths from the virus, reversing a brief downward trend.
After Tuesday’s new case totals came in at 926, snapping a 63-day streak with more than 1,000 cases, it appeared the pandemic was ebbing. On Wednesday, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 968 new cases but 1,598 cases Thursday.
Friday’s report pushed the aggregate coronavirus numbers in the county to 244,069 cases and 2,777 deaths from the disease since the pandemic started.
Of the 23,259 tests reported Friday, 6% returned positive, nudging the 14-day rolling average up slightly to 7.7% from Thursday’s 7.5%. As recently as Jan. 22, the percentage was more than 10%.
The HHSA reported 1,183 patients with COVID-19 in county hospitals, 353 of whom were in intensive care units, a decrease of nearly 400 hospitalized people from two weeks ago and 621 fewer than the record 1,804 patients set Jan. 12.
ICU patients with COVID-19 decreased by 95 in that two-week window. There are 42 available, staffed ICU beds in the county.
The county health agency reported 16 new community outbreaks Friday, bringing the total in the past week to 68, tied to 367 cases.
While the two FDA-authorized vaccines have shown promising results in clinical trials, it takes several weeks for the immunizations to become fully effective. It is unknown whether a vaccinated person could potentially catch and spread COVID-19 to someone who has not been vaccinated.
“Even if some of your older relatives and friends have received their vaccination, we urge you to postpone visits with them until later this year when you are fully vaccinated and protected as well,” Wooten said.
“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, but we can only end this pandemic once herd immunity is achieved.”
Herd immunity refers to the stage in the pandemic when a majority of the population is immune to the virus, either because a person received the vaccine or because they developed antibodies after a COVID-19 infection.
Public health officials say vaccinating up to 80% of the U.S. population is needed to achieve herd immunity.
Nearly 12% of San Diegans age 16 and over have received at least one of the two shots required to develop antibody protection against the virus. Around 2.2% of the population over the age of 16 is fully vaccinated.
San Diego County coronavirus-inoculation sites have received 586,225 doses of vaccine and administered 411,565 doses, according to the HHSA.
The “vaccination superstation” at Petco Park administered its 100,000th dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher announced.
San Diego County has the capacity to administer more than 20,000 vaccines daily and expects to raise that to 30,000 next week, Fletcher said, but currently only has the supplies to administer around 10,000 vaccines a day.