Locals Change Holiday Plans Because of Increasing COVID-19 Cases

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Coronavirus cases are continuing to increase in San Diego County and many residents are altering their holiday plans to help protect loved ones from the virus.

“We’re from Chicago, Illinois, so we had plans to go back actually, but we canceled our flight a couple of weeks ago because of the rising number in COVID cases,” said Chin LoBue, from La Mesa.

LoBue joins many others who said they have relatives considered “high risk.”

“Both my parents are susceptible, especially my mom who’s a cancer survivor, so we’re just trying to be smart and diligent about who we’re around,” said Brian Behan, from La Mesa.

“My dad’s battling cancer so we try to, you know, keep distance between family members,” said Efren Sicat, of Chula Vsta.

According to county data, the majority of positive cases are patients between the ages of 20 and 29, followed by 30 to 39-year-olds.

“And now we’re seeing more and more asymptomatic positive patients. Those are the people who are going to go on and of course spread the virus everywhere,” said Paul Schalch Lepe, M.D., a local Otolaryngologist.

He said he attributes the spike in cases to the cooler weather and holiday season, when more people are inclined to gather with distant relatives and friends indoors.

Lepe said, while a COVID-19 vaccine is on its way, he doesn’t expect it to be available to the general public soon enough to stop the surge. 

Several coronavirus vaccines are now in final stages for approval, but doctors are already worried that the public won't want to take them. Dr. Paul Biddinger, who sits on the Massachusetts governor's advisory group for COVID-19 vaccines, joined LX News to explain the many safety steps required for the vaccines to be approved for the general public and when to expect the first doses to be available.

“Let’s not forget our hospital capacity. Our healthcare capacity is limited. We need to have that buffer and if we’re not careful we’re going to exceed that and we’re going to be in a lot of trouble,” warned Lepe.

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