COVID-19 hospitalizations on steady decline as 1.4K new infections reported

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County public health officials reported 1,415 new COVID-19 infections and 44 additional deaths from the virus Wednesday, as many businesses tentatively opened two days after the lifting of a state-imposed stay-at-home order.

A downward trend of positive case rates continued Wednesday as well, with just 9% of the county’s reported 16,250 COVID-19 tests returning positive for a 14-day average of 9%. As recently as Jan. 13, that average was north of 13%.

Both hospitalizations and intensive care admissions continued to drop, with 1,465 people hospitalized with the virus in the region — 7% fewer than one month ago and 14% fewer than two weeks ago.

Of those hospitalized with the virus, 408 are in ICU beds. Two weeks ago, there were 1,781 hospitalizations, and a record 438 ICU patients with the virus. Both numbers have been steadily declining since. There are 50 staffed ICU beds available in the county and the proportion of those in the hospital without the virus is increasing.

Despite the positive trends, Wednesday was the 58th consecutive day with more than 1,000 new cases, bringing the county’s cumulative COVID-19 case total to 231,481 and the death toll to 2,465.

It was announced Wednesday that a new Vaccination Super Station will open in North County on Sunday. The vaccine distribution site will open on the Cal State San Marcos campus, with the capability to vaccinate up to 5,000 individuals a day with appointments.

Appointments can be made at vaccinationsuperstationsd.com.

The UC San Diego Health Vaccination Super Station at Petco Park was reopened Wednesday. People who had appointments Tuesday were rescheduled for Saturday. Patients should check the county’s MyChart to confirm.

The site was closed Tuesday for repairs, and closed Monday due to inclement weather. People who were scheduled to receive a vaccination at the site on Monday had their appointments rescheduled for Thursday.

Eight new community outbreaks were reported Wednesday, part of 53 in the past week tied to 228 cases.

After more than six weeks of the stay-at-home order, California health officials rescinded the order Monday, citing improving conditions in hospitals. But San Diego County and the other 10 counties in the Southern California region remain subject to the tight regulations of the restrictive “purple” tier of economic reopening guidelines.

Based on the state’s action on Monday, San Diego County officials reopened, in an outdoor capacity, restaurant dining, gyms, places of worship, museums, zoos and aquariums, camping and outdoor recreation, bars, breweries and distilleries if they serve food, low-contact youth sports such as cross- country, swimming and diving, golf and track and field, family entertainment centers and movie theaters.

Personal-care services such as barbershops, hair and nail salons and tattoo shops once again can operate indoors, grocery stores can operate at 50% capacity and retail at 25%, and live sports can continue as long as fans aren’t in attendance. Amusement parks will remain closed. Schools can reopen for in- person learning only if they were already open before the stay-at-home order.

The county’s adjusted case rate is 49.6 new cases per 100,000 population. To be dropped into the more permissive red tier of the state’s four- level reopening plan, cases have to be fewer than seven per 100,000.

The regional stay-at-home order was imposed in Southern California on Dec. 7, after intensive-care-unit availability dropped below 15%. The regional availability subsequently dropped to an adjusted 0%.

State officials said Monday that with hospitalization numbers trending downward, four-week projections now indicate ICU space will rise above the 15% threshold.

Although the state order has been lifted, individual counties are still able to impose stricter restrictions than the state.

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