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Number Of COVID-19 Deaths In San Diego County Nears 4,000

Registered nurse Celene Salazar, left, closes her eyes as she receives a COVID-19 vaccine following her training at a San Diego County public health center, Jan. 14, 2021.
Matthew Bowler
Registered nurse Celene Salazar, left, closes her eyes as she receives a COVID-19 vaccine following her training at a San Diego County public health center, Jan. 14, 2021.

San Diego County public health officials reported 530 new COVID-19 infections and 11 deaths Thursday, saying it remains a "pandemic of the unvaccinated," as the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths have occurred amongst the less-than-fully vaccinated population.

Thursday's data increases the totals to 347,474 cases and 3,994 deaths.

According to the latest county Health and Human Services Agency COVID- 19 Watch report, since March 1, more than 96% of hospitalizations — 2,150 — and nearly 89% of deaths — 208 — have occurred in people who are not fully vaccinated. In comparison, the report, which covers data through Sept. 11, shows that 75 fully vaccinated San Diegans have required hospitalization and 26 have died.

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Furthermore, 81.3% — or 65,635 — of the COVID-19 cases in that time frame have occurred in San Diegans who are not fully vaccinated compared to 19.7%

— or 15,138 — cases in people who were fully vaccinated.

As of Wednesday, 21,741 cases and 548 hospitalizations have occurred in those not fully vaccinated, in the last 30 days, compared with 5,587 cases and nine hospitalizations for those fully vaccinated.

"While we've seen a higher number of breakthrough infections, almost all of the deaths and hospitalizations are occurring in San Diegans who are not fully vaccinated," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. "The COVID-19 vaccine is the best tool we have to get out of this pandemic. Protect yourself and others. Get vaccinated now."

San Diego County's case rate per 100,000 residents is 33.6 overall, 13.9 for fully vaccinated people and 59.3 for not fully vaccinated San Diegans.

A total of 57 COVID-19 deaths were reported in the past week, the highest weekly total during this current surge of the pandemic — more than triple the 18 COVID-19 deaths reported the previous seven days and more than the 49 announced the week before that.

The new deaths occurred between Aug. 19 and Sept. 13, and 11 of the 57 people who died were fully vaccinated. The deceased were 34 men and 23 women; 54 had underlying medical conditions, one did not and two had medical history pending.

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Of the 57 deaths, 15 were 80 years of age or older, 11 were in their 70s, 22 were in their 60s, four were in their 50s, two were in their 40s and three were in their 30s.

"These deaths are very unfortunate. Our condolences go out to their family and friends," Wooten said. "COVID-19 vaccines are widely available and can prevent San Diegans from getting seriously ill, getting hospitalized or, worse, dying."

The number of COVID patients in county hospitals, meanwhile, decreased from 495 on Wednesday to 478 on Wednesday, with 165 of those patients in intensive care, according to state figures.

A total of 14,473 new tests were logged, and the percentage of positive cases over the past seven days was 4.4%.

A total of 56 new community outbreaks were confirmed in the past seven days: 17 in school settings, 10 in business settings, eight in restaurant/bar settings, four in faith-based settings, three in distribution warehouse settings, three in government settings, two in restaurant settings, two in hotel/resort/spa settings, two in daycare/preschool/childcare settings, one in a fitness/gym setting, one in an emergency services setting, one in a health care setting, one in a retail setting and one in a day camp setting.

Nearly 4.7 million vaccine doses have been administered in the county, with around 2.5 million — or 87.1% of county residents — having received at least one dose. Fully vaccinated county residents now number more than 2.16 million, or around 77.2% of the county's eligible population.

No-cost COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. They can be found at medical providers, pharmacies, community clinics and county public health centers for people who do not have a medical provider.

A list of locations and more information is available at coronavirus- sd.com/vaccine.