Hospitalizations Down in San Diego County, But Variants Still Cause for Concern

A San Diego County hospital CEO says her staff is staying ready in case COVID-19 variants cause an uptick in hospitalizations

NBC Universal, Inc.

The number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations in San Diego County has been improving in recent weeks, but health care professionals say it's no reason to let our guards down.

As of Thursday night, there were 258 hospitalizations across the county. That’s down from 405 just two weeks ago.

“We’re very cautiously optimistic that we’re headed in the right direction,” said Susan Stone, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

It’s been a challenging year for healthcare workers and Stone said she and her colleagues are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

“For a healthcare worker who’s witnessed the worst of this pandemic, seeing the loss of family members and the losses across our community, that has been horrific," Stone explained.

Thankfully, Stone said COVID-related hospitalizations have been declining the past two months.

“At this point what we’re experiencing is similar to pre-COVID," she said.

Stone said she hopes San Diego County’s numbers continue on the right trajectory as the county enters the less restrictive red tier.

“What we’ve learned about COVID-19 is there’s so much we don’t know. And even in the U.S., We’re seeing resurgents due to different variants,” said Stone.

Stone referenced variants from the U.K., South Africa, Brazil and California.

“How effective will the vaccines be against them (variants) on a longer-term basis? I think that’s what we’re really keeping our eye on at this point and we certainly need the help of our community to not let your guard down and as long as we keep practicing our social distancing and wearing face coverings until everyone’s been vaccinated, we are very hopeful we will be able to keep this steady rate going,” said Stone.

Stone said she encourages people to get the vaccine once they become eligible.

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