The number of COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals has dropped again by three people to 991, according to the latest state data released Sunday.
The number of those patients in intensive care dropped to 182 Sunday, six fewer than Saturday. Some patients entered hospitals for other reasons and only discovered
they had COVID after a hospital-mandated test.
Available ICU beds increased by eight to 161 as of Sunday. On Friday, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 2,736 new COVID-19 infections and 29 new deaths associated with the virus, increasing the cumulative totals to 708,770 infections and 4,786 deaths since the pandemic began.
The HHSA does not report COVID data on weekends. Along with Friday's seven-day average positivity rate of 17.1% -- down from 19.8% on Tuesday -- there is evidence the Omicron variant is on the wane.
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Hospitalizations and deaths are considered a lagging factor, so the above-average death report may be a result of the Omicron spike in December and January, officials said. Additionally, actual case counts may be higher due to the increasing popularity and availability of home antigen tests, results of which are not reported to the county.
However, since the beginning of the year, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 225 San Diegans.
"There is a common misconception that the Omicron variant is not as deadly as prior strains of COVID-19,'' said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. "The latest data show that since the Omicron variant was first identified, COVID-19 deaths are on the rise, both here in San Diego and across the country.
"While you can still get COVID-19 despite being vaccinated and boosted, the vaccine keeps most people out of the hospital and reduces the risk of virus-related deaths,'' she said.
A total of 1,072,823 (51.8%) of San Diego County residents who are fully vaccinated have received a booster shot, according to the HHSA. Boosters are currently available for everyone 12 years and older.
The county has more than 400 vaccination sites including pharmacies, medical providers, clinics and county locations. Appointments can be made and sites can be found by calling 833-422-4255 or visiting the MyTurn or SanDiegoCounty.Gov websites.
Nearly 2.88 million, or 91.4%, of San Diego County residents age 5 and older are at least partially vaccinated and more than 2.53 million, or 80.4%, are fully vaccinated.