As COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations continue to increase, leaders of Scripps Health Wednesday urged caution heading into the Independence Day holiday weekend.
At Scripps alone, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients increased to 96 on Wednesday -- more than double the 45 COVID patients at its hospitals a month ago. Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 patients in its intensive care units is triple from what it was a month ago, increasing from four on May 29 to 13 on Wednesday.
Countywide, COVID-positive hospitalizations increased by eight to 300, up from 186 in late May, according to the latest state data. The number of COVID patients in county ICUs increased by eight to 36, compared to 24 on May 29.
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"Lots of people will be gathering to celebrate this weekend, and we urge them to not let their guard down," said Chris Van Gorder, Scripps Health president and CEO. "There's no doubt that COVID-19 is still very much with us. We've seen the impact grow since our last holiday, Memorial Day, and we certainly don't want to see that trend continue after July 4."
Van Gorder said Scripps' rate of patients testing positive for COVID- 19 increased by 51% for the 14-day period ending June 29 with 1,733 positive tests, compared to the 14-day period ending May 29 with 1,141 positive tests. Throughout Scripps' health-care system, 69% of its positive COVID-19 tests are breakthrough cases, of which 72% of patients had been boosted once and 16% had been boosted twice. The health system recorded eight COVID-related deaths this month, bringing its total to 1,335 since the pandemic began.
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Scripps urged people to continue adhering to safety measures such as choosing outdoor settings where possible and wearing a mask at large indoor gatherings, washing hands regularly and not attending events if feeling sick.
The San Diego County Human Health and Services Agency reported 1,267 new COVID-19 infections and four additional deaths linked to the virus on Monday, increasing the county's cumulative totals to 828,867 infections and 5,336 deaths.
The county's case rate per 100,000 residents 12 years of age and older is 43.99 for people fully vaccinated and boosted, 26.46 for fully vaccinated people and 76.42 for San Diegans who are not fully vaccinated.
The county only reports COVID data on Mondays and Thursdays.