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

Hospitalizations Continue Descent As County Reports 1,670 New COVID-19 Cases

A sign at a CVS pharmacy reads

Photo by KPBS Staff

Above: A sign at a CVS pharmacy reads "The COVID-19 vaccine is NOT CURRENTLY available at CVS locations." at Target in the South Park neighborhood of San Diego County. Jan. 26, 2021.

San Diego County public health officials reported 1,670 new COVID-19 infections and 37 deaths Friday as hospitalizations related to the virus continue to decline.

Friday was the 60th consecutive day with more than 1,000 new cases, bringing the county's cumulative COVID-19 case total to 234,640 and the death toll to 2,571.

The number of people in local hospitals with the virus declined to 1,391 Friday, down more than 400 patients from Jan. 12's record 1,804. A record number of patients in intensive care units was set on Jan. 20 with 438, but has declined slowly since that date. There were 396 COVID-19 patients reported in ICU beds on Friday, with 40 staffed bed available.

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

Just 6% of the 28,595 tests reported Friday returned positive, bringing the 14-day rolling average to 9% from Thursday's 9.2%. As recently as Jan. 13, that average was north of 13%.

Eleven community outbreaks were reported Friday, part of 59 reported in the past week tied to 256 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."

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" will provide 250 COVID-19 doses both Saturday and Sunday. Appointments are necessary.

RELATED: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Is 66% Effective In Preventing Moderate To Severe COVID-19

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 will open in North County on Sunday. The vaccine distribution site will open on the Cal State San Marcos campus, with the capability to vaccinate up to 5,000 individuals a day with appointments. Appointments for that site can be made starting Saturday.

Fletcher said an East County Super Station is in the works for next 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 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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