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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Continue Decline In San Diego County

A man gets the COVID-19 vaccine at San Diego County's

Photo by Roland Lizarondo

Above: A man gets the COVID-19 vaccine at San Diego County's "Vaccination Superstation" in Chula Vista, Calif. Jan. 21, 2021.

San Diego County public health officials are reporting 1,274 new COVID-19 infections and 16 deaths, as hospitalizations related to the virus continued to decline.

The county's cumulative COVID-19 case total is now 238,042, and the death toll is 2,619.

Of the 18,990 tests reported, 7% were positive COVID-19 cases, dropping the 14-day rolling average to 8.8%. As recently as Jan. 13, that average was north of 13%.

Saturday was the 61st consecutive day with more than 1,000 new cases.

The number of people in local hospitals with the virus declined to 1,344 Saturday, down from 1,375 a day earlier. A record number of patients in intensive care units was set on Jan. 20 with 438, but has declined slowly since. There were 380 COVID-19 patients reported in ICU beds on Saturday, with 47 staffed beds available.

Ten new community outbreaks were reported Saturday, part of 56 reported in the past week tied to 263 infections.

The county has received more than 485,900 vaccines and more than 269,000 have been administered. Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said there is a normal lag in reporting these numbers, but 1.6% of the county's population over the age of 16 have been fully vaccinated and demand remains high.

"We're trying to make it easier for people to make an appointment and get vaccinated when it's their turn," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer. "The vaccine is safe and effective and it's the best tool we have to slow the pandemic."

RELATED: Live Blog: CDC Says US Cases Down, But 3 Variants Detected

To make an appointment or see a map of where vaccines are being distributed, go to www.vaccinationsuperstationsd.com.

In Borrego Springs this weekend, a CAL FIRE team as part of "Operation Collaboration" provided 250 COVID-19 doses Sunday.

Operation Collaboration is a consortium of local fire agencies using county vaccines. CAL FIRE and other groups will also be going to other communities soon, especially to vaccinate people in nursing and long-term care homes.

Fletcher announced Thursday the Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District will immediately begin offering free transit rides on buses and trolleys to get people to and from their vaccination appointments. Riders will only need to show a confirmation email of their vaccine appointment that day. This can be a printout or on a smartphone.

A Vaccination Super Station opened on the Cal State San Marcos campus on Sunday, with the capability to vaccinate up to 5,000 individuals a day with appointments.

Fletcher said an East County Super Station is in the works for this week, but he didn't name a date or location.

After more than six weeks of a regional stay-at-home order, California health officials rescinded the order last Monday, citing improving conditions in hospitals. But San Diego County remains subject to the tight regulations of the most restrictive "purple" tier of economic reopening guidelines.

The county's adjusted case rate is 49.6 new cases per 100,000 population. To be dropped into the more permissive red tier of the state's four-level reopening plan, cases have to be fewer than seven per 100,000.

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