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Health

San Diego County Sees Slight Uptick In COVID-19 Hospitalizations

A nurse preparing the COVID-19 vaccine at San Diego State University's Viejas Arena, March 23, 2021.
Roland Lizarondo
A nurse preparing the COVID-19 vaccine at San Diego State University's Viejas Arena, March 23, 2021.

San Diego County reported 290 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and a slight uptick in the number of county residents hospitalized with the coronavirus.

According to San Diego County Health and Human Services data, hospitalizations increased to 198 from the previous day's 190. Of those, 68 were being treated in intensive care units, unchanged from Sunday's count.

The latest infections increased the county's cumulative caseload to 269,770, about 19% of county residents. The death count remained unchanged at 3,547.

Of 6,676 tests reported Monday, 4% returned positive.

Among those who tested positive this week were 70 teenage asylum seekers being housed in the San Diego Convention Center, a U.S. Health and Human Services representative announced.

About 723 girls aged 13 to 17 have been transferred to San Diego from a U.S. Border Patrol facility in Texas. As of Tuesday, just less than 10% of them had tested positive, some before they left Texas and others after they arrived in San Diego.

An HHS spokesperson said the cases aren't serious, but all of the teens are symptomatic. HHS Acting Regional Director Bonnie Preston said the girls who tested positive are being sheltered away from the rest of the migrant teens, and those who have been exposed to COVID-19 are kept in yet another separate group.

Meanwhile, two new vaccination sites were set to open Tuesday, including a clinic that will operate from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at North Inland First United Methodist Church, 341 Kalmia St., in Escondido. Appointments are required for the walk-thru clinic, which will have the capacity to vaccinate 250 people daily.

Vaccinations will be administered during the same hours and days at the Mountain View Educational Cultural Complex, 4343 Ocean Blvd. in southeastern San Diego. The appointment-based walk-up clinic will have the capacity to administer 500 doses initially but can ramp up to 1,000 each day. The new clinic replaces the Central Region Immunization Clinic at 3177 Ocean View Blvd., which had a capacity for 100 vaccinations each day.

COVID-19 vaccines will also be available Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at a one-day walk-up clinic at the Sherman Heights Community Center, 2258 Island Ave. A total of 300 doses will be administered that day on a first-come, first-served basis exclusively to residents of the 92102 and 92113 ZIP codes. Proof of residence such as a driver's license or utility bill will be required.

Officials announced the Del Mar vaccination site would close Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday due to a vaccine supply shortfall. It was closed last Sunday for the same reason.

More than 1.73 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered to San Diego County, according to the county HHSA, and more than 1.64 million have been logged as administered. This number includes both county residents and those who work in San Diego County.

The HHSA on Sunday reported more than 890,000 people — or 33.8% of San Diego County residents over the age of 16 — have received at least one dose of the two-shot vaccines, and 554,555 people — or 20.6% — have been fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines will be made available to everyone in the state age 50 and older beginning Thursday, then to everyone age 16 and up on April 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week.