For weeks, officials have been telling people that the omicron surge was ebbing, pointing to diminishing case counts.
On the day of San Diego’s apex, in January, more than 16,000 local residents tested positive for COVID-19 on just a single day.
To date, there have been 737,747 infections among San Diego’s approximately 3.3 million residents, a figure that includes reinfections.
Many have taken comfort recently in significantly lower case count, but until just a few weeks ago, the total recorded daily cases were still in the four-figure range. But the amount of people with officially recorded infections — not counting everyone at home taking rapid antigen tests with mild symptoms, but, rather, people who have had cases confirmed with PCR tests at hospitals or official testing centers — has been trending solidly downward.
On Friday, authorities said, 722 people tested positive for the illness. The following day, though, there was a large dip — down to 471. Then, on Sunday, almost remarkably, just 191 San Diegans were officially proven to be infected with the coronavirus.
Hospitalization and deaths, however worrisome they might be, are also on a downward trajectory. For example, the number of patients in intensive care decreased by two, down to 84, and available ICU beds increased by 10, to 212. On Monday’s county COVID dashboard, officials reported 11 new deaths and five new patients in ICU beds around the county. Sadly, the number of San Diegans who died of complications due to the coronavirus has now reached the staggering total of 5,029.
One huge factor coming into play regarding case counts and serious illness, of course, is the number of San Diegans who have had the jab. More than 2.9 million — or 92.6% — of San Diego County residents age 5 and older are at least partially vaccinated, and more than 2.56 million, or 81.4%, are fully vaccinated.
As of Tuesday, the state’s indoor mask mandate ended, but masks are still “strongly recommended” for everyone indoors, though many might have thought, walking around local supermarkets and stores over the weekend, that was already the case. Masks will also continue to be required for everyone at settings including health care facilities, transit centers, airports, aboard public transit, in correctional facilities and at homeless shelters and long-term care facilities — and schools, until at least March 12, though some district leaders, like those at San Diego Unified, plan on leaving the requirement in place at least for the short term.
Back in the days of delta and the original variant of the coronavirus, during the color-tier system of restrictions, the idea of the county opening up with more than 100 cases would have been unthinkable. In the purple tier, which indicated that the virus was widespread, counties could not advance to the lower, red tier till there were fewer than 7 cases per 100,000 residents (there was also a percentage-of-tests metric to meet; it was all somewhat complicated).
In other words, the county had to have fewer than 231 cases per day, on average, to move to the orange tier. To move to the red tier — which it did, by the way — San Diego County would have to record less than 132 cases for seven consecutive days to advance to the yellow tier. So you might say we’re back in the yellow tier, at least we were for one day this week so far.
And the green tier? We can’t remember ever making it there….