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San Diego County Reports 3,288 COVID-19 Infections, 33 New Deaths

A sign in front of a store in Encinitas advising customers that masks are req...

Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Above: A sign in front of a store in Encinitas advising customers that masks are required inside, Jan. 3, 2020.

San Diego County public health officials have reported 3,288 new COVID-19 infections and 33 additional deaths from the virus.

The county's cumulative cases now number 191,888 and the death toll stands at 1,857.

Sunday's reported cases mark the 41st consecutive day with more than 1,000 new diagnoses.

Cases have crossed the 2,000 mark in 31 of the past 30 days after Tuesday's 1,814 broke a 26-day streak. The 3,000-mark has been crossed 15 times since the start of the pandemic while the 4,000-mark has been crossed three times.

Hospitalizations resulting from the virus rose another 32 to a total of 6,238 on Sunday. There were four new intensive care admissions, bringing the total to 1,271.

The county has surpassed 80% of its hospital beds occupied, a significant number due to the county reserving the last 20% of its licensed beds exclusively for COVID-19 patients. New patients, according to a plan developed by the county HHSA last year, could be turned away in some cases.

The HHSA reported a 89% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the last 30 days and a 67% increase in ICU admittance in the same period.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said Wednesday it's likely the number of hospitalizations will continue to increase due to the 21-24 day "lag" period between rising cases and rising hospitalizations.

Another six community outbreaks were reported Sunday. There have been 43 outbreaks in the last seven days, tied to 178 cases.

County health officials attribute the increasing number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths to gatherings over the holidays and the presence of the new coronavirus variant known as B.1.1.7. first detected in the United Kingdom.

The county reported 24 confirmed diagnoses of the more virulent strain of the virus on Tuesday, bringing the county's confirmed cases of the variant to 28.

The cases were confirmed by whole genome sequencing and the four probable cases are directly linked to the confirmed cases and have positive diagnostic nucleic acid tests, but are not yet sequenced.

There have been no confirmed deaths locally connected to the variant.

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