County Reschedules Vaccine Appointments As 810 Cases, 36 Deaths Reported
San Diego County rescheduled hundreds of COVID-19 vaccine appointments due to weather-related shortages Thursday as public health officials reported 810 new viral infections and 36 deaths.
The massive winter storm gripping much of the nation has frozen supply lines for the vaccines, prompting county officials to reschedule approximately 1,000 first-dose appointments at its sites on Thursday and Friday. Those affected are being notified they will be rescheduled for next week, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.
Moderna produces the bulk of its vaccines in Massachusetts, while Pfizer makes its in Michigan. Sub-freezing temperatures across much of the United States have delayed shipments of the vials around the country.
As of Thursday, of the 765,500 vaccine doses the county has received, 684,278 have been administered, more than 4,000 are awaiting processing and 77,000 are yet to be administered. Nearly 18% of San Diego County's population over the age of 16 have received at least one dose and 5.5% are fully inoculated.
The county has five vaccine super stations and 15 smaller neighborhood distribution sites. Despite the supply chain problems, Fletcher said the county has allocated its vaccines efficiently enough that he believes teachers, food and agriculture workers and law enforcement officers will be able to begin receiving vaccines by as soon as the first week of March.
Additionally, the HHSA anticipates it will complete vaccinations in the county's skilled nursing facilities this week, freeing up mobile teams to provide more shots around the county.
The county is reserving a portion of available COVID-19 vaccination appointments each day for a pilot project that aims to equitably distribute the novel coronavirus vaccine.
Scheduling Assistance for Vaccine Equity sets aside appointments for people who are in the currently eligible groups and at high risk for complications from COVID-19.
"We need to make sure that communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 have easier access to the vaccine," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. "This project is making it easier for people who qualify to make appointments and get vaccinated."
Thursday's data increased the number of COVID-19 infections to 254,990 since the pandemic began, while the death toll increased to 3,135.
It is also the seventh consecutive day with cases below 1,000 and 10th of the past 11 days to fall beneath that metric.
The number of hospitalizations decreased by 32 patients to 772, while intensive care patients decreased by 11 to 245 from Wednesday's numbers. There are 55 available, staffed ICU beds in the county.
Hospitalizations have declined by 56% from 30 days ago, on Jan. 19, when 1,648 people were hospitalized with COVID-19. ICU patients have declined 45% in that same time frame, from 427 on Jan. 19.
Of 19,845 tests reported Thursday, 4% returned positive, decreasing the 14-day rolling average of positive tests to 5.2% from Wednesday's 5.5%.
Six community outbreaks were reported Thursday, part of 33 in the past week tied to 136 cases.