County Reports Record 62 COVID-19 Deaths, 3,083 New Cases
San Diego County public health officials reported 3,083 new COVID-19 infections and a record 62 deaths due to the virus Thursday as they urge San Diegans to not gather in non-household groups for New Year's Eve celebrations.
Those cases marked the 31st consecutive day with more than 1,000 new infections, and the 22nd overall with more than 2,000 new cases. It is the sixth time the 3,000 case mark has been crossed.
San Diego County's cumulative totals are now 155,595 cases and 1,534 deaths.
Another 43 people with coronavirus were hospitalized Thursday and another three sent to intensive care units. The 1,580 people hospitalized with the virus are a record and the 386 in the ICU with coronavirus are the fourth- most since the pandemic began.
The county is reporting 18% of its ICU beds remain available, but staffing limitations may make that a considerably smaller portion.
Regional hospitals have reported a 120% increase in the number of patients with COVID-19 hospitalized and a 91% increase in the number of patients sent to ICUs in the same time frame.
A total of 12 community outbreaks were confirmed Thursday. There have been 59 community outbreaks confirmed in the last seven days with 254 cases associated with those outbreaks. 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.
Of the 28,183 tests reported Thursday, 11% tested positive. The 14-day average is 11%.
One individual tested positive Wednesday for a new, more contagious variant of the virus first discovered in the United Kingdom.
The variant, known as B.1.1.7, was first found in the United States Tuesday in Colorado. The San Diego case is in a man in his 30s with no history of travel who first became symptomatic Dec. 27 and tested positive Dec. 29. He has not been hospitalized and contact tracing is underway.
A new small business assistance program from the State of California started Wednesday, and in the New Year businesses will receive support from the Federal Government's economic stimulus package. The San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center, Supervisor Fletcher and the San Diego Foundation have partnered to make sure business owners and nonprofit leaders can access the available resources.
Businesses and nonprofits can sign-up to receive the funds by visiting www.CaReliefgrant.com. The deadline to apply is Jan. 8, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. All applications will start to be reviewed following the closure of the application period. These grants are to cover business expenses, specifically for small businesses hit by the pandemic.
The state's regional stay-at-home order, which covers an 11-county Southern California area, took effect at 11:59 p.m. Dec. 6 and was set to expire Monday. But with the region's intensive-care unit capacity at hospitals still officially listed at 0%, the order was extended indefinitely Tuesday.
The region is expected to remain under the order for weeks to come, as health officials anticipate case numbers and hospitalizations will keep rising throughout January based on gatherings that likely occurred for Christmas and will again for New Year's Eve despite warnings.
"If we don't change our practices, 2021 will bring the same misery as this year," Supervisor Greg Cox said Wednesday.
He said it was tempting to celebrate in groups to ring in the new year, but those actions would put lives at risk.