San Diego County Reports 519 COVID-19 Cases, 30 Deaths
San Diego County public health officials reported 519 new COVID-19 infections and 30 deaths Thursday as vaccine distribution sites continue to play catch up with storm-delayed vaccines which began arriving in the county earlier this week.
Nearly 80,000 vaccine doses delayed by storms in the east last week began arriving in the San Diego area Tuesday night, allowing for the rescheduling of all missed second doses and the widespread resumption of first- dose appointments, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.
Of 828,825 vaccine doses the county has received, 777,210 have been administered with more than 6,000 awaiting documentation and 45,330 yet to be administered. Of the county's population over the age of 16, 19.6% have received at least one dose and 7.3% — or 196,079 people — have been fully inoculated.
Thursday's data increased the cumulative totals in the county to 258,982 cases and 3,260 deaths.
Of 18,830 tests reported by the county, 3% returned positive. The 14- day rolling average dipped from 4.6% Wednesday to 4.4% Thursday.
Hospitalizations decreased from 602 on Wednesday with 187 people in intensive care beds to 569 hospitalized and 184 in ICU beds Thursday. One month ago, there were 1,465 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 408 of whom were in the ICU. There are 52 available, staffed ICU beds in the county.
There were seven community outbreaks reported Thursday, part of 30 in the past week tied to 120 cases.
School and child-care workers in San Diego County, as well as food and agriculture workers and non-medical emergency responders, can begin receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations this weekend, county officials said.
Starting Saturday, the vaccination pool will open for about a half- million more people, though Supervisor Nathan Fletcher cautioned that appointments would not be immediately available to everyone who qualifies.
"We need folks to be patient," Fletcher said Wednesday, adding that the county will prioritize K-12 schools in ZIP codes hardest hit by COVID-19.
RELATED: San Diego Health Care Professionals Worry About Vaccine Supply
As part of efforts to spur the reopening of schools, Fletcher said 20% of vaccine doses will be prioritized for teachers and school staff, as opposed to the 10% outlined by state leaders.
The county will set up appointments directly with K-12 school districts, Fletcher said, while all others who fall into phase 1B — including education and child care workers outside of K-12 campuses — can schedule appointments through typical public means such as the county's website.
County case rates have been declining at an encouraging rate, officials said, signaling a potential drop in the near future to the red tier of the state's reopening plan.
On Sunday, a site will open in Lemon Grove, operating from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sundays and Mondays. The site will be at the Lemon Grove Community Center, 3146 School Lane. When fully operational, the Lemon Grove clinic will be able to administer 500 doses daily.