SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego County is reporting an alarming surge in positive COVID-19 tests, as a winter surge in transmission driven by the omicron variant continues.
“What we are seeing is an overwhelming of all of our resources. So, emergency room visits, urgent care visits, all of these have increased as people start to test positive. And it’s real unfortunate that we are here again,” Dr. Abisola Olulade, a family medicine physician at Sharp Rees-Stealy, said.
The record cases include 12,563 new cases reported for Sunday, on Saturday 17,507 new cases, and 19,009 for Friday. The previous daily high in cases was 8,313 reported for Jan. 2, 2022.
This comes as cases continue to surge across the country.
“Every single metric that you can think of that is concern is just not going in the right direction,” Olulade said.
Although, the omicron variant continues to spread across the country, health experts said the record numbers seem driven in part by increased testing.
Because of a massive influx in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, San Diego County public health officials are urging residents to not only get all vaccinations and the booster shot, but to only seek testing for the illness if necessary.
"We're now seeing the highest local case counts of the pandemic. COVID-19 is everywhere," Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer, said last week. "The best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to have as much immunity as possible and to take other precautions that we know work."
It’s an amount that is certainly shocking and scary to some.
“I’m out here walking my dog and I feel like I should have a mask on, for sure. It’s just staggering how contagious this thing seems to be, this new variant,” Kate Cronin, who was walking in Downtown San Diego, said.
“I just think people have taken it for granted and kind of stopped doing the things we used to prevent COVID. You know, wash our hands, cover our mouths,” Justin Pangelinan, who was also walking in Downtown San Diego, said.
On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the activation the California National Guard to help provide additional testing facilities and capacity amid the national surge in cases driven by the Omicron variant.
Olulade said with our case numbers reaching higher levels, there needs to be better perspective when it comes to comparing the U.S. to other countries and their surges.
“There’s no grantee that this is going to peak at the same time as those other countries. There are many, many more people here in the United States as opposed to those countries. So, we can’t expect for it to behave in the same way that it did,” Olulade said.
As we see San Diego’s number hit new highs, it could get worse before it gets better.
“And we can’t be sure that this is going to peak in two weeks, three weeks. We don’t know that,” Olulade said.
“And so, we all need to do our part to wear mask indoors, to get vaccinated and boosted and distance when we can.”