There is optimism in San Diego that COVID-19 is finally declining, with positivity rates dropping and vaccines being distributed, but health experts want people to stay cautious.
“I feel so enthusiastic about the future,” Eliseo Parra said.
Parra is part of a growing group of people who hope that the spread of COVID-19 is on the wane.
“I know I've been worried about my gramma, and she got the vaccine, so it's no longer a weight on my shoulders,” Parra said.
Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.
The optimism comes as San Diego County's COVID-19 hospitalization rate and positivity rates are declining. As of Feb. 19-20, the county has a 4% positivity rate.
“The biggest sacrifice. really. has been not seeing the grandkids,” said Parra’s mom, Debbie Trujillo. “We were able to start Zooming, and soon this became the major, major thing that has kept us connected.”
Trujillo said that, while she's thankful they are closer to the pandemic finish line, she credits her family for listening to the health experts, including, Parra who is a biology professor at Diablo Community College in the Bay Area and created an internal website for their family to share credible information, write blog posts and share tips on how to help the most vulnerable.
“This was a plan so that we could basically have a really good idea of what to expect for the next year or two years,” said Parra about building the site.
Sharp-Rees Stealy family medicine doctor Abi Olulalde explained that what San Diego County is experiencing right now is the end of the holiday COVID-19 surge and urged everyone stays cautious.
“We don't want to reverse the effort and the sacrifices that we have made, and that other people have made, and there's a real risk of that,” Olulalde said.
There are also concerns about COVID-19 variants, strains of coronavirus, some of which are more contagious and spread more easily as a result.
“Which is a very dangerous situation, because then more people can get infected, more people can get hospitalized and more people can die from it,” Olulade explained.
Olulade said scientists are monitoring COVID-19 variants in California, another reminder to continue wearing masks, washing hands and physical distancing.
“I'm just looking forward to being able to have a family party and looking forward to hugging my grandma, hugging my grandpa," Parra said. "It’s been a year."