SAN DIEGO, CA (KGTV) — In San Diego County, 405 new COVID-19 cases were reported on the 19th, nearly doubling from what we saw just one day before.
"If you think about two weeks before then, we had already noted that there was an increase in the wastewater, so that was a signal that there was going to be more cases," said Dr. William Tseng, assistant medical director of Kaiser Permanente in San Diego and Kaiser's vaccine lead locally.
The uptick we're seeing now is nowhere near the Omicron surge during the winter, but new subvariants are contributing to the rise in cases across the country. Cases may be higher than the data shows due to some at-home tests not being reported.
Dr. Tseng, says right now in San Diego County hospitalizations are still low. He said there are currently about 91 total COVID-19 positive hospitalizations across all health systems in the county, attributing the lower number to high vaccination rates.
"The vaccine is probably the firewall that’s preventing us from getting worse and coming to the hospital. We truly believe that's what's preventing it from getting a lot worse than it can," said Tseng.
The uptick in cases comes as mask requirements have been lifted on local buses, trains, and at the airport. Masks are now optional.
"There will be more cases, I expect that'll be the case in the upcoming weeks, just because of relaxing of these mandates," said Tseng, adding that he hopes hospitalizations don't also rise after an increase in cases.
Tseng said people shouldn't let their guards down, thinking that new subvariants aren't as serious as the ones before.
"Certainly with the vaccine, it looks like it's less virulent but in the case of children who have never been vaccinated, it's actually the worst time," he said.
"A virus doesn't discriminate between 'I'm going to kill my host less or kill my host more', it just mutates, so it's very hard to say that the next variant is going to get easier."
He continues to encourage getting a booster shot and masking in crowded public areas if you are immunocompromised or just want to protect those around you.