1,095 COVID-19 cases reported as county encourages employers to require vaccines

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County reported 1,095 new COVID-19 cases and one additional hospitalization, but no new virus-related deaths, as county leaders Monday encouraged employers to require employees to either show proof of vaccination or get weekly testing.

The recommendation comes one day before the county will begin collecting vaccination proof from its 18,000 employees before the requirement goes into effect next Monday. County employees unwilling or unable to receive the vaccine will be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing and are required to wear masks while indoors.

Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher mentioned the possibility of penalties attached to fraudulent proof, but said the county is still in negotiations as to what that might be.

The Delta variant of the virus is considerably more contagious than previous strains and now comprises 95% of the virus’ genome, Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said at a news conference Monday.

“We are in the middle of the surge right now,” she said, referring to a spike in coronavirus infections in recent weeks far outpacing last summer’s surge and matching the early trajectory of last fall and winter’s spike.

“It will get worse before it gets better,” Wooten said.

Monday’s data bring the county’s total case count to 315,348 since the pandemic began. The death toll remained at 3,824.

In the last 30 days, 92% of all COVID-19 cases have occurred in those not fully vaccinated. Of the remaining 8%, San Diego County Chief Medical Officer Eric McDonald said, few are showing symptoms and those which are showing are relatively mild.

One additional patient was in intensive care as a result of the virus, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.

Of all those hospitalized in the past 30 days, 98% are unvaccinated, with 13 people fully vaccinated sent to a hospital and 521 of those without the jab have been hospitalized.

While San Diego County is not experiencing the immense strain as other parts of California and other states, Fletcher reminded people to continue to take the pandemic seriously, as many hospitals in the region were facing staffing shortages — at least partially attributed to burnout and fatigue.

“We know the vaccine is the safest and most effective way to avoid becoming sick,” Fletcher said. “The risk to those fully vaccinated is exceedingly low.”

A total of 15,095 tests were reported Monday, and the percentage of new positive tests over the past week was 8.6%.

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