SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — According to California's COVID-19 website, since right before Thanksgiving Day, the amount of reported new cases has risen 30%.
It is roughly 1,600 new cases every week.
“It was definitely scary how fast it came on," shares 57-year-old Paul Castro.
Castro has been hospitalized for 25 days. He tells 10News that on November 10 he felt sick and the next day he had a headache. He proceeded by taking two positive COVID tests.
“I think that it can happen to anybody," says Castro.
"And I think if you are not prepared to fight that battle when you do get sick health-wise, you may not make it, heck I may not make it.”
Castro has lost 35 pounds and has been working on regaining his lung strength.
Dr. Abisola Olulade with Sharp Health, says San Diego County has seen a 24% increase in hospitalizations and 12% in ICU stays.
She furthers that numbers are expected to continue rising, “Actually it’s concerning, so we see what is happening in other states for example in Michigan we see that they are getting really overwhelmed, and in NY for example, and that should be a warning for us here.”
Dr. Olulade states that so far only 20% of San Diego County residents have gotten booster shots. Her main concern is with the un-vaccinated.
“Well the chances for actually ending up in the hospital is 5 times higher in people who have been un-vaccinated," says Dr. Olulade.
"And certainly yes, we may see more breakthrough cases with this new variant, we have seen that there is a chance of reinfection, especially in those who have had COVID before.”
With peak season upon us, those still fighting, like Castro ask that others do their part in slowing the spread.
“Honestly it scares the bejeebers out of me," stated Castro.
"I don’t want to get sick again, I don’t want to see any of my friends get sick. The scary thing is you can still be vexed and end up in a scary situation.”
Castro says doctors tell him it could take a full year for his lungs to completely heal.
Right before the holidays, San Diego County saw roughly 250 positive patients. As of December 9, that number is closer to 350.
From November 21 to December 4, San Diego County has confirmed 7,688 new cases of COVID-19.
“We are seeing that the levels of community transmission have actually gone from moderate to high," says Castro.
"And that means you start recommending that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors and we really need to add that additional layer of protection plus the vaccine.”
Medical professionals like Olulade, are weary of the holidays and the potential for another peak season.
“You may want to consider not traveling at all, you may want to consider gathering outside only," says Olulade.
"Because this is a virus that has upped the ante. With this new variant, it does pose a threat to everyone.”
Even healthy individuals like Paul Castro who is un-vaccinated, as recommended by his doctor because of his medical history, has been hospitalized with COVID for the past 25 days.
“It’s kind of like a tornado. It can run through 10 of us, like 10 houses and take the third and seventh house and leave everything else," shares Castro.
"So you really don’t know how you are going to respond to it, till it happens.”
In the state of California, more than 3,000 patients are also hospitalized due to COVID, up 9% in the past two weeks.
“Somebody could have known that they were sick and say oh it’s just flu-like I’ll be okay, and then I’ll be sick and now I am here," Castro emphasizes.
"You know I have not seen my kids in 25 days, I have not been to work different things. So I think we need to be more careful.”
Dr. Olulade says across the country cases are expected to continue increasing. She believes the best prevention is a booster or vaccination.
“This is a time that is very very risky for everyone," explains Dr. Olulade.
"Even though it is a time that we want to forget that COVID is here. It is definitely still around and still causing issues.”