SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego County public health officials said Wednesday that coronavirus cases have increased 82% in the past week, prompting renewed calls for residents to get vaccinated.
The county said on Wednesday that 3,465 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the past seven days, bringing the region's total to 288,681 cases. Hospitalizations are also trending up, rising above 100 on July 6 and remaining above that threshold ever since. Wednesday, 200 current hospitalizations were reported, with 52 of those cases in the ICU.
The county said the rise in cases and hospitalizations are happening, "primarily in San Diegans who are not vaccinated," and that these residents are being impacted by the alpha, gamma, and delta mutations of COVID-19.
"The best protection we have against COVID-19 is getting vaccinated," said Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. "The vaccines are extremely effective at preventing serious illness from COVID-19. If you have not gotten immunized, do it now."
While there has been a slight increase in breakthrough cases reported, Wooten said this was expected and these cases typically have mild symptoms. Since Jan. 1, 2021, there have been 1,534 COVID-19 cases in fully vaccinated residents and the majority of break-through cases — 109,181 cases — in residents who were only partially vaccinated:
"This does not mean the vaccine is not working. Quite the opposite, the vaccine is doing what it’s supposed to do: keep most people from being hospitalized, or worse, dying," Wooten said.
San Diego County's case rate as of July 20 was 7.6 cases per 100,000 residents — enough to place the county in California's red tier if the color-coded reopening system was still in use. One week earlier, the county reported a case rate of 3.7 cases per 100,000 people.
The previous tier system listed the red tier as a 4.0 - 10.0 case rate when a state has more than 2 million vaccinations in the state's vaccine equity quartile:
California is now well above those vaccine equity thresholds of 2 and 4 million.
The county has also reported 22 new community outbreaks from July 14 through July 20, including 10 in restaurant/bar settings, four in business settings, two in day camp settings, one in a campground setting, one in a restaurant setting, one in a construction setting, one in a government setting, one in a retail setting, and one in a faith-based setting. A community outbreak is classified as three or more COVID-19 cases in one setting and in people of different households in the past 14 days.
One new death was reported between July 14 and July 20 in a man in his 60s and with underlying medical conditions on June 12. The region's death toll was at 3,787 as of Wednesday.
San Diego County has vaccinated 2,246,276 residents (80.2% of the eligible population) with a least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 1,940,232 residents (69.2% of the eligible population) are fully vaccinated.
The county's goal is to vaccinate 75% of eligible residents 12 and older, or 2,101,936 people, with at least one dose.