County reports 3.2K new cases, 33 deaths ahead of vaccination super site launch

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SAN DIEGO – County health leaders reported 3,288 new COVID-19 infections and 33 additional deaths Sunday ahead of the launch of a new “vaccination super station.”

The county’s cumulative cases now number 191,888 and the death toll stands at 1,857.

Sunday’s reported cases mark the 41st consecutive day with more than 1,000 new diagnoses. The 3,000-mark has been crossed 15 times since the start of the pandemic while the 4,000-mark has been crossed three times.

An additional 32 people have been admitted to county hospitals with the virus and four more patients were sent to intensive care, according to Sunday’s data. A total of 6,238 people have required hospitalization because of the virus and 1,271 patients have been treated in intensive care units since the start of the pandemic.

The county has surpassed 80% of its hospital beds occupied, a significant number due to the county reserving the last 20% of its licensed beds exclusively for COVID-19 patients. New patients, according to a plan developed by the county HHSA last year, could be turned away in some cases.

The HHSA reported a 89% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the last 30 days and a 67% increase in ICU admittance in the same period.

San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher said Wednesday it’s likely the number of hospitalizations will continue to increase due to the 21-24 day “lag” period between rising cases and rising hospitalizations.

Another six community outbreaks were reported Sunday. There have been 43 outbreaks in the last seven days, tied to 178 cases. The 33 new deaths follow 53 fatalities confirmed by the county Saturday.

County health officials reported Tuesday 24 new confirmed and four probable cases of the more contagious strain of SARS-CoV2 that was first identified in the U.K. The region has now seen 32 suspected cases of the variant.

A new “vaccination super station” is slated to launch Monday near Petco Park. Healthcare workers can sign up to make an appointment to be vaccinated.

The decision to create the so-called super station came in the wake of a request from the State Health Department for counties to increase the rate they are vaccinating residents. The goal of the new super site is to vaccinate 5,000 healthcare workers per day.

The Padres offered their Tailgate Park lot along with internet infrastructure and logistics planning. 

UCSD Health said there are more than 500,000 healthcare workers in San Diego County and at least 200,000 or more still need to be vaccinated. UCSD Health is helping to lead the effort to vaccinate healthcare workers eligible for Phase 1A-Tier categories and will staff workers at the new hub.

Fletcher said the county is footing the bill for the super station, hoping financial aid will come. In the meantime, the county plans to administer as many vaccinations as possible. 

“If we move faster and use everything we have in our county, then we ought to be first in line to get more,” Fletcher said, adding, “There is a possibility we could stand up all his infrastructure and run out of vaccines.” 

He said the county plans to open another super site in the South Bay, an area that has been hit hardest by COVID-19

“We want to rapidly and quickly learn the lessons of this and then plan more,” Fletcher said. 

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