County reports 3K new coronavirus cases, 28 deaths

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Sunday update: San Diego County public health officials have reported 1,890 new COVID-19 infections and 38 virus-related fatalities.

SAN DIEGO — County health leaders reported 3,027 new cases of coronavirus and 28 deaths Saturday as Mayor Todd Gloria joined other mayors in their call for cities to receive the COVID-19 vaccine directly.

New data from the county Saturday shows 11% of 27,475 tests were confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The number of hospitalizations rose by 149 and the number of intensive care admissions increased by six. ICU capacity was at 10% with a total of 1,790 people hospitalized with the virus countywide and 428 in intensive care.

Seven new community outbreaks were confirmed, bringing the total to 44 outbreaks tied to 184 cases in the past week.

Saturday’s caseload followed 2,695 new cases and 32 deaths confirmed Friday. UCSD reported 245 of its students have tested positive for COVID-19 since the winter quarter began Jan. 4.

The state of California authorized immediate access to COVID-19 vaccines for all residents aged 65 and older this week, following new guidance from the federal government. But local officials said because of limited vaccine supply, the county cannot provide COVID-19 vaccinations for people 65 and older at this time.

The county said plans are underway to start vaccinating that population of Phase 1B next. There are more than 620,000 people in San Diego County that belong in the Tier 1A vaccine distribution group. With the 65 and older group, health officials are looking at another 500,000, for well over 1 million people eligible for vaccines.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria joined other mayors around the U.S. Saturday in asking President-elect Joe Biden to allow cities to receive the vaccine directly to speed up delivery. They are also seeking funding for distribution and outreach to disadvantaged communities.

Both available vaccines are not effective without two doses. UCSD Health said it began administering some vaccines to older San Diegans this week.

“This means the start of hopefully the end of this COVID-19 crisis,” said Donald Crawford, one of the first to get a vaccine at UCSD Health. “I got the vaccine because hopefully it will help me and others and we can eventually get back to normal.”

The health agency hopes to have 70% of the county’s population over the age of 16 — or 1,882,554 people — vaccinated by the end of June.

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