San Diego County reports 1,498 new COVID-19 cases, rise in hospitalizations


SAN DIEGO (CNS) – As the Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to surge, San Diego County health officials reported another 1,498 COVID-19 cases, two deaths and 47 additional hospitalizations Saturday.

The county Health and Human Services Agency also said Saturday that the total number of people hospitalized with the virus increased to more than 750. One month ago, that number was 200.

Patients in intensive care increased by two to 145, but that still marked an increase of nearly 100 people since July 19, when 52 people were in ICU beds with COVID-19.

Saturday’s data brought the county’s totals to 322,620 cases and 3,848 fatalities since the pandemic began.

A total of 19,053 tests were reported Saturday, and the percentage of new positive cases over the past week was 8.7%.

Scripps Health announced Friday that it was facing “significant” workforce shortages amid the latest surge, with more open positions available than before the pandemic.

The health care system said patient numbers are rising, both in COVID- 19 cases and non-COVID care, but some medical procedures have had to be delayed due to staffing shortages.

“The COVID pandemic has taken a serious toll on health care workers across the nation, and many have decided to leave the field entirely for reasons such as fatigue and burnout,” Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder said. “We’re doing all we can to fill open positions and shifts, but options are currently limited across the board in health care, so we’re doing what’s necessary to ensure we have staff available for our most urgent cases.”

Scripps Health is seeking to fill 1,309 full- and part-time open positions, compared to 832 open positions in August 2019.

According to Scripps, there were 173 COVID-positive patients at Scripps’ five hospital campuses as of Friday, compared to 13 hospitalized COVID patients on June 15, when California pulled back on much of its pandemic restrictions.

While medical staff evaluates which procedures will be delayed based on clinical factors, the demand for services is growing, as Scripps is also seeing patients whose care was already delayed during the pandemic, according to Van Gorder.

“We are asking people to please get vaccinated. Wear masks. Do what you can to vanquish this pandemic,” Van Gorder said. “We in health care simply will not be able to continue to help this community and our patients in the way we need to if we are faced with an ever-increasing number of COVID cases on top of the large number of patients we are treating already and the level of staffing we have available.”

San Diego County’s case rate per 100,000 residents is 28.7 for the general population, but that can be parsed further to just six for fully vaccinated residents and 55.7 for those not fully vaccinated, data show.

That figure has multiplied more than tenfold since as recently as July 7, when the average daily case rate was just 2.7 per 100,000.

Officials expect the number of reported cases to keep increasing as more schools and businesses are requiring COVID testing.

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