Weekly reported COVID-19 infections increase by 40% in San Diego County

Posted at 7:29 AM, May 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 20:45:43-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency has reported 1,579 new COVID-19 infections, the most since early February, and part of a larger trend as infections continue to increase.

A total of 7,008 cases were reported during the past week compared to 4,996 cases identified the previous week, a 40% increase. These are only the cases reported to county or hospital sites. As the proliferation of at-home tests has increased, the actual number of infections is likely a considerably higher number.

In addition, the HHSA reported five deaths Thursday, increasing the county's cumulative totals to 775,369 infections and 5,282 deaths.

“We don't want to be in a situation 3-4 months down the line where we should've, would've, could've," said Dr. Jyotu Sandhu with Sharp Rees-Stealy.

"We should have been more vigilant or we should have done more. This is the time to do that.”

Dr. Sandhu also says the rise in COVID-19 cases should be taken seriously. Across the country, COVID hospitalizations are up by 22% compared to last week.

Pending approval from the Western States committee, booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine may soon be available for San Diego children ages 5 through 11, the HHSA announced on Thursday.

The COVID-19 Pfizer boosters should be given five months after receiving the final dose of the primary vaccine series.

"Some parents have been anxiously waiting to give their children extra protection against COVID-19 and the shots may be finally approved," said Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, San Diego County Public Health Officer.

"COVID-19 boosters for everyone who is eligible are easy to get because we have plenty of vaccine available in the region."

The CDC points out they’ve seen a decrease in the effectiveness of the vaccine after two doses in children during Omicron. And studies have shown after a booster dose, the effectiveness went up to 71% in the weeks and months after receiving the third dose.

“You don't want to risk and have your kid go unvaccinated it's sad to see less than a third of children in society aren't vaccinated who are eligible," said Dr. Sandhu.

Additionally, the Omicron variants have been making more San Diego children sick, the HHSA reported, with some requiring hospitalization and others developing multi-system inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C. From November 27, 2021, to May 7, 2022, 90% of the pediatric hospitalizations for the syndrome occurred in not-fully-vaccinated children.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 98 MIS-C cases in the county. Of those, 53% have been reported in children ages five to 11, and 60% have been Hispanic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "MIS-C is a rare, but serious, post-infectious hyper-inflammatory condition occurring about 2 to 6 weeks after infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus."

Symptoms of MIS-C include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, skin rash, inflammation, and multi-organ dysfunction. In severe cases, children can experience hypotension (low blood pressure) and shock. Approximately 60-80% of the early cases of MIS-C patients required intensive care admission.

"MIS-C can often be so severe that children require life-saving interventions," Wooten said.

"Parents should contact their doctor immediately if their child develops any of these symptoms. The best thing parents can do is get all the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for themselves and their children."

More than 2.96 million or 94% of San Diegans age 5 and older are at least partially vaccinated, while more than 2.62 million or 83.3% are fully vaccinated. A total of 1,323,824 or 58.5% of 2,264,730 eligible San Diegans have received a booster shot.

A total of 9,611 tests were reported to the county on May 14, and the percentage of new positive cases was 7.3%. The 14-day rolling percentage of positive cases, among tests reported through May 14, is 5.8%.

The number of people hospitalized with a coronavirus infection in San Diego County increased by 14 to 134, once again surpassing Santa Clara County for the second-highest hospitalization numbers in the state, according to the latest state data.

Of those patients hospitalized as of Thursday, 24 were being treated in intensive care, two more than. The number of available hospital beds was 219.

The county only reports COVID-19 data on Mondays and Thursdays.