County warns of ‘significant spike’ in COVID cases, urges vaccination

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County health officials are sounding the alarm on a “significant spike in new COVID-19 cases” and urging residents to get vaccinated.

The county reported 1,264 new coronavirus cases Friday afternoon, the highest number on a single day since Feb. 5.

“The increase in cases is not a single-day phenomenon, but part of a larger trend in recent weeks,” a statement from health officials reads. “In the 30 days between June 21 and July 20, 6,572 San Diegans tested positive for COVID-19.”

Of that group, the county Health and Human Services Agency says the vast majority — about 89% — of sick residents are not fully vaccinated. An even higher rate, 98%, of cases resulting in hospitalizations in the last 30 days are in individuals who are not fully vaccinated.

“The vaccines are effective in preventing severe illness or death from COVID-19,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “If you have not gotten vaccinated, the time to get vaccinated is now. If you are late for your second dose, the time to get that second shot is now.”

There are close to 150,000 San Diegans who are overdue for their second shot, according to the county.

“My message would be to those been putting off the vaccination to go ahead and do it,” County Supervisor Jim Desmond said. “Now is the time to get vaccinated. That will help keep our numbers down, that’ll help.” 

Residents can make an appointment to get vaccinated on the county’s website. The shots are free of charge.

Community outbreaks, hospitalizations and ICU admissions have also increased. The county reported an additional two community outbreaks Friday, bringing the total number of outbreaks in the last seven days to 25. One month ago, on June 23, only five community outbreaks were reported.

Despite the increase in cases and hospitalizations, there was no word from county officials regarding a return to the mask mandate, as Los Angeles did earlier this month. Mayor Todd Gloria told FOX 5 Friday morning that the return of local requirements is possible, but that it would ultimately be up to county or state leaders.

“We are facing a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said in an emailed statement Friday. “A vast majority of the increase in cases are from those who are unvaccinated and they account for nearly all of the hospitalizations. The way to slow the increase and protect yourself is to trust your doctor and get a vaccine.”

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