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

San Diego County Reports 2,498 New COVID-19 Cases As Hospitalizations Decrease

Medical staff administer COVID-19 swab tests at the drive-through Aquatica Sa...

Photo by Jacob Aere

Above: Medical staff administer COVID-19 swab tests at the drive-through Aquatica San Diego testing location, Dec. 8, 2020.

San Diego County public health officials reported 2,498 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths Tuesday as hospitalizations continue a slow decline.

Tuesday marked the 50th consecutive day with more than 1,000 cases and the 27th time in the past 30 days with more than 2,000 new cases of the virus. Of the 12,675 tests reported Tuesday, 20% returned positive, raising the 14-day rolling average from 11.8% on Monday to 12.1%.

The number of hospitalizations related to COVID-19 has decreased from a high of 1,804 reported one week ago to 1,721 on Tuesday. Of those patients, 419 are in intensive care units. A total of 38 staffed ICU beds are available throughout the county.

Curious how the vaccine rollout is going in San Diego County? KPBS is tracking the progress.

The county's cumulative case total increased to 216,835 and the number of deaths to 2,109, including three women and three men who died between Dec. 28 and Jan. 9.

Of the six new deaths reported, five were of people 80 years or older and the other was in their 70s. All had underlying medical conditions.

Seven new community outbreaks were confirmed Tuesday — three in transitional kindergarten through 12th-grade school settings, two in business settings and one each in government and hotel/resort/spa settings.

The county Health and Human Services Agency on Monday expanded the eligibility to receive a vaccine to people 75 and older, citing a slowing of appointments at COVID-19 vaccination sites as one reason.

RELATED: California Sees Hopeful Signs As Counties Fight For Vaccines

The new requirements apply to the Petco Park Vaccination Super Station and other county distribution sites. Previously, due to a shortage of vaccines, the county had authorized only health care workers to receive the vaccines, despite federal guidance allowing for those 65 and older to receive them.

There are more than 620,000 people in San Diego County who belong in the Tier 1A vaccine distribution group. With the 65-and-older group, health officials are looking at another 500,000, for well over 1 million people eligible.

Both available vaccines are not effective without two doses.

The health agency hopes to have 70% of the county's population over the age of 16 vaccinated by the end of June.

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