San Diego County is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since June 15, the day California "reopened" and most pandemic-related health and safety protocols were done away with.
“We are seeing about double the number of cases that were being reported about a month ago,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, County public health officer on Tuesday.
The data suggests the increase could be even larger. On Wednesday, the county reported 275 new COVID-19 cases and has averaged about 271 per day over the last week. Between June 14 -20, the county saw about 71 cases per day.
And after weeks of daily positivity percentages hovering around 1%, that curve has been on a steady incline since June 15.
The region's reopening is a factor in the increase in cases, county health officials say, as is the relaxed mask policy and recent Fourth of July travel and gatherings.
Kaiser Permanente registered nurse Robyn Sarvis not only cared for patients with COVID-19 but, battled the disease herself. She is encouraging everyone to consider a vaccine, and says she's now seeing younger unvaccinated people be treated for the disease.
"Now there's a vaccine available, but the people coming to see us are largely unvaccinated and they're younger, in their 20s and 30s, coming into the hospital with COVID pneumonia," Sarvis said. "We're mindful that we're not where we were, we're grateful we're not there, but we don't want to see us come back to that."
Sarvis said the winter surge was a difficult time for healthcare workers.
"I think all of us are recovering slowly from the past year. It was very scarring to work through the pandemic and see the rapid condition from sort of OK to very, very ill, to even dying in a short period of time," said Sarvis.
The county said right now it isn't considering any changes to its current mask rules. Earlier on Thursday, L.A. County reverted back to requiring masks indoors in response to surging cases there.