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San Diego sees an uptick in COVID-19 cases

COVID-19 case numbers are nowhere near as high as they were at the height of the pandemic. But county data shows an uptick in cases. KPBS reporter Tania Thorne takes a look at what's happening.

As mask mandates are lifted, people are starting to lower their guard when it comes to the coronavirus.

Dr. William Tseng, Kaiser San Diego’s assistant chief of staff, said the loosening of intervention methods would bring an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

“We are gonna have more transmissions, we are going to see more case,” he said.

RELATED: California COVID-19 cases up, but no plans to add restrictions

COVID-19 San Diego County data show the numbers are going up, with more than 1,500 new cases reported this week.

Tseng thinks that we’ll see more cases, but, thanks to the vaccines, not as many hospitalizations.

“I think we're going to see more cases, and I'm hoping that the vaccines will be the firewall that prevents it from getting worse or people from dying,” he said.

That's why, he said, getting vaccinated and boosted is important.

“If you get the third shot, your chances, compared to someone who's not vaccinated, of ever ending up in a ventilator, in the hospital and dying, is decreased by 94%," he said. "So, really, that third shot is very, very important.”

He said San Diego was a leader in the nation when it comes to vaccination rates but is falling behind when it comes to boosters.

Though masks are no longer required in many places, Tseng said they were a sign of respect to one another.

"When you wear a mask, you're actually showing respect because most of transmissions are from people who are infected to people who are out in the community," he said. "So, when you wear a mask, you really are protecting others, more so than you're protecting yourself."

Tseng’s advice is for everyone to know their own bodies: If you’re sick, get tested to prevent transmissions, and people who are immunocompromised should continue masking.

"And then, lastly," Tseng said, "the best protection by far, no question, more so than any mask, more so than any sanitizers, is to get vaccinated."