San Diego County health officials have been urging caution due to a concerning spike in COVID-19 patients at local hospitals. County health officials reported about 1,700 new infections Thursday and last week there were about 1,600 infections. It's important to note that these cases do not include people testing positive with antigen tests at home.
Officials have warned that case rate and community spread is likely much higher than what figures currently show.
On Thursday health officials reported there were 363 patients hospitalized with COVID in San Diego County. In comparison to three weeks ago, there were 226 patients, which makes for a 60% increase.
Health officials said in the past 30 days, ICU admissions have also gone up by 68%.
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Not only are hospitals seeing an increase in COVID-related hospitalizations, but their urgent cares have also gotten busier. Kaiser Permanente is one of several hospital systems that said that demand inside urgent cares is high.
The same trend is also noted in our wastewater surveillance testing.
"You see already there is this kind of increase of virus that is spreading within the population that we've seen over the last week or so, the [wastewater] coincides with that," said researcher Joshua Levy.
Levy is a researcher with the SEARCH team, which stands for San Diego Epidemiology and Research for COVID Health. The team has been instrumental in detecting COVID surges and rises way before case numbers reach those levels.
"We've seen a series of additional sweeps come through associated with this BA.2 lineage of omicron and then another BA.2 lineage and then most recently and somewhat threateningly, BA.4 and BA.5 kind of coming out of nowhere and taking over," explained Levy.
The county has also seen an increase in reinfections, something researchers said is more likely to happen due to this new BA.5 omicron subvariant.