coronavirus pandemic

San Diego Hospital Leaders Predict End of Omicron Surge Is Near

As the positivity rates in San Diego county have begun to plateau, hospital leaders in San Diego say that they expect hospitalizations to follow by mid-next week

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Hospital leaders in San Diego say that if the last few surges due to the epsilon and delta variants are any indication, the number of hospitalizations due to omicron will likely plateau by mid-next week and then decline shortly after. NBC 7’s Priya Sridhar reports.

The latest numbers from San Diego county show approximately 70,000 positive COVID-19 cases have been reported to the county over the last week. The previous week, the county saw 85,000 positive cases. In addition, the positivity rate in the county for the last week was at 23%, down from almost 40% a few weeks ago.

Hospital leaders in San Diego say that if the last few surges due to the epsilon and delta variants are any indication, the number of hospitalizations due to omicron will likely plateau by mid-next week and then decline shortly after.

"Now, we know hospitalizations lag a couple of weeks and so we're expecting to hit the peak of hospitalizations sometime this week and hopefully that will begin to drop as well. So things are easing up which is really promising and I'm cautiously optimistic," said Dr. Christopher Longhurst, Chief Medical Officer at UCSD Health.

"I’m thinking probably mid-next week we’ll start seeing at least if that number hasn’t definitively plateaued, I’m hoping that we’ll start to see the number of hospitalizations go down," said Dr. Tom Lawrie, Chief Medical Officer at Sharp Memorial Hospital.

While there are still 1,300 people hospitalized in San Diego, that number is significantly less than the all-time peak in San Diego County hospitals last winter when there were 1,800 people in the hospital due to COVID-19.

Lawrie says he's hoping the high case numbers due to omicron will give members of the community more innate immunity moving forward.

"My hope is that each successive wave from here will be lower. If we see another large wave, I suspect it would be from another variant altogether. My hope is that if we get a more infectious variant, which is possible, that it's less virulent like we’re seeing with omicron, and hopefully even though we may see a large spike in cases if the overall severity of the illness is lower than the impact to hospitals would be less as well," Lawrie said.