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San Diego County Reports 1,863 COVID-19 Cases As First Vaccines Are Administered

A sign advising of coronavirus precautions on the San Diego State University campus. Dec. 8, 2020.
KPBS Staff
A sign advising of coronavirus precautions on the San Diego State University campus. Dec. 8, 2020.

San Diego County public health officials reported 1,863 COVID-19 infections Tuesday and 32 deaths, as the first doses of vaccine for the virus were administered.

Tuesday's reported cases marks the first time in a week the number did not exceed 2,000, but also marks the 15th consecutive day with more than 1,000 cases. More than 2,000 new infections were logged in the previous six days — including 2,206 on Monday and a record 2,867 on Friday.

The county's cumulative case total rose to 111,441 while the death toll increased to 1,194.

What's driving coronavirus surge? Check out the KPBS Trigger Tracker

Brittanee Randle, an emergency room nurse at Rady Children's Hospital, was the first non-military San Diegan to receive the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday. UC San Diego Health received 2,925 doses, while county health officials reported they had received 12,000 on Monday.

Rady was slated to get the remainder of the first batch of local doses — part of 28,000 allotted for the county from 327,000 doses California is expected to receive in the first distribution. The initial allotment will cover around 72% of what is needed for "all identified health care first-tier recipients," San Diego County spokesman Jose Alvarez said.

Naval Medical Center San Diego received an unspecified number of vaccines Monday, with front-line medical workers and essential mission personnel — such as EMS, firefighters and gate personnel — receiving the first dose of the vaccinations Tuesday.

Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton will take a portion of those doses for personnel north of San Diego and plans to administer vaccines beginning Wednesday.

Of 23,485 tests reported to the county Tuesday, 8% returned positive, lowering the county's 14-day average to 8.1%.

RELATED: UC San Diego Health Receives Nearly 3,000 COVID-19 Vaccines

The number of hospitalizations also continues to rise, with 32 newly hospitlized patients and five more people put in intensive care units. A total of 1,084 people are hospitalized in the county due to the virus, with 286 of those in ICUs — both records.

The county's hospitals have 16% of their ICU beds available, down from 17% Monday. The state estimates the ICU bed availability in the 11-county Southern California region at 1.7%, down from 2.7% on Monday.

In the San Joaquin Valley, 1.6% of ICU beds are full. The Greater Sacramento region has 14.9% of ICU beds available, the Bay Area 15.8%, with Northern California at 29.8%.

San Diego County has seen a 231% increase in COVID-19 related hospitalizations in the past 30 days and a 175% increase in ICU patients in the same time frame. The previous peak in hospitalizations, in mid-July, topped out around 400 patients.

Six new community outbreaks were reported Tuesday. A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households over the past 14 days.

The pandemic has worsened burnout and stress on caregivers for disabled veterans. Meanwhile, San Diego’s Rady Children’s hospital received their first round of COVID-19 vaccines for their frontline emergency nurses. Also, the population of California’s Monarch Butterfly is crashing.