5,002 Deaths: San Diego County Marks Grim COVID Milestone

Fourteen more San Diegans died on Tuesday, a total of 5,002 county residents who have lost their lives to the coronavirus, which first arrived in San Diego in February 2020

Envían personal del Sistema Médico Nacional para Desastres a Sierra Vista para combatir aumento de COVID-19

Many San Diego County residents were relieved by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement last week that California would be moving to the next stage of the coronavirus pandemic, but a grim reminder of the pandemic’s deadly nature was recorded Wednesday

In a situation that seemed unthinkable a little more than two years ago, county officials on Wednesday confirmed there had been 14 more deaths due to COVID, now a total of 5,002 county residents who have lost their lives to the novel coronavirus, which first arrived in San Diego in February 2020.

The first San Diegan to die from the virus was a man in his early 70s who was diagnosed after a trip to Hawaii. His death was reported on March 22, 2020, and by the time the month was through, eight others had died. Since the pandemic began, 113,964 have died from complications related to COVID19.

The coronavirus patient was among those who landed at MCAS Miramar last week after traveling from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus outbreak. Plus, pets up for adoption for only $14 through the county of department of animal services starting tomorrow. NBC 7's Mark Mullen and Catherine Garcia have these stories and more on tonight's Nightly Check-In for February 10th, 2020.

To put that figure in context, compare it with the combined populations of the San Diego County communities of Del Mar and Julian, a little over 5,300; or twice the population of Rancho Santa Fe, where there are 2,510 residents, according to the US Census Bureau.

Tempering that sobering news is the fact that reported cases of coronavirus have dipped below 1,000 per day five days in the past week. In fact, officials said Wednesday that there were 659 cases reported in the latest count.

Although Newsom has lifted some pandemic restrictions, he does not plan to lift the state of emergency, reports NBC 7's Priya Sridhar.

One reason for the rapidly plummeting case counts, of course, is the availability of home test kits. Many people who test positive with the antigen tests are not sick enough to register with the county in an official capacity, and so their cases go unreported. In fact, back in January, during the worst of the omicron surge, San Diego County residents were being urged to avoid emergency rooms for COVID-19 testing amid increases in both hospitalizations and staffing shortages exacerbated by a surge in infections.

Since then, experts have been saying the way to accurately interpret the surge was to look at hospitalization numbers, since the omicron variant, while much more contagious, was not nearly so deadly as its delta brethren. In fact, some officials began to call the situation a pandemic of the unvaccinated, since those who had their shots typically experienced milder symptoms, though, there were so-called breakthrough cases within the vaccinated population and even some deaths.

Photos: Signs of the Coronavirus Impact in San Diego

A look at the county’s latest hospitalization and ICU patient metrics reveals similar downward trends. County officials said on Wednesday that there was a 37% decrease in COVID-19 confirmed ICU patients in the past14 days, and a 35% decrease in COVID-19 confirmed hospitalized patients over 14 days. In the past month, in fact, there had been a 57% decrease COVID-19 confirmed ICU patients, down to 100 from 232.

Nobody knows when the pandemic will end, but the situation with the coronavirus certainly seems to be heading toward an endemic — a disease reaches the endemic stage when the virus still exists in a community but becomes manageable as immunity builds — away from a pandemic, when emergency measure like face-mask and social-distance mandates are implemented.

The future, however, is entirely dependent upon whether omicron is the last significantly spread mutation of the coronavirus to emerge or a new variation of significance emerges.

Contact Us