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County seeing spike in COVID cases following Thanksgiving gatherings

A COVID-19 testing site at San Diego State University. Jan. 15, 2021.
Alexander Nguyen
A COVID-19 testing site at San Diego State University. Jan. 15, 2021.

Despite weeks of warnings from San Diego County public health officials, a post-Thanksgiving spike in COVID-19 cases has hit the county and continued to climb Friday.

In the past week, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported 5,649 lab-confirmed cases, an increase of more than 63% over the previous week's 3,455 new infections.

However, influenza cases declined slightly from 2,721 cases last week to 2,583 new lab-confirmed cases of influenza this week. By this time last year, 539 flu cases had been reported for the entire season.


"Holiday gatherings, especially indoors, can increase the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19 and flu as we're seeing after the Thanksgiving holiday," said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, county deputy public health officer. "San Diego County residents know how to keep loved ones safe when gathering for celebrations, as they have done so in the past.

"Masking, home testing and vaccinations can help ensure you and your families don't spend this holiday season sick or worse," he said.

The bivalent COVID-19 booster and flu vaccinations are separate shots that are both effective at decreasing the chance of catching the targeted viruses, being hospitalized or dying. County officials strongly advise all eligible residents get both. Wearing a mask if able, particularly during indoor public gatherings, will help protect you and those around you, they say.

Other measures to stay healthy include washing hands thoroughly and often, staying away from sick people, staying home and avoiding contact with others when sick, home testing when exposed or when ill and regularly cleaning commonly touched surfaces.

"These steps will help protect our critical hospital capacity and your loved ones," Kaiser said. "I also want to remind everyone it's never too late to get a flu shot or a bivalent COVID booster."


The number of San Diegans in the hospital with COVID-19 declined by eight to 337 on Friday. Those in intensive care units with the virus increased by four to 37.

A total of 15 additional COVID-19 deaths were reported since the last report, increasing the region's cumulative total to 5,584. The cumulative infection number climbed to 947,909. Influenza deaths increased by five to 13 and the cumulative case count rose to 15,560.

Close to 2.69 million or 80.4% of eligible San Diegans have received the primary series of one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. The number of bivalent boosters administered is 449,633 or 18% of 2,493,367 eligible San Diegans.

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