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San Diego County reports 578 new COVID-19 cases, four deaths

A sign reads "face mask required" in front of the McGill School of Success in the South Park neighborhood of San Diego, Calif. Oct. 13, 2021.
Lara McCaffrey
A sign reads "face mask required" in front of the McGill School of Success in the South Park neighborhood of San Diego, Calif. Oct. 13, 2021.

San Diego County public health officials Thursday reported 578 new COVID-19 infections and four additional deaths, increasing the region's cumulative totals to 396,307 cases and 4,399 deaths since the pandemic began.

The number of coronavirus patients in San Diego County hospitals remained unchanged at 359, according to Thursday's data. Of those patients, 92 were in intensive care, two fewer than Wednesday.

A total of 22,529 new tests were reported to the county on Thursday. A total of 4% of all tests returned positive over the past week.


In light of a statewide increase in cases and hospitalizations, and the spread of the Omicron variant, the California Department of Public Health implemented a renewed mask mandate Wednesday. It will remain in place until Jan. 15.

Among the indoor public spaces affected by the mask mandate will be retail stores, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers and government offices that serve the public.

According to a University of Hong Kong study released Wednesday, Omicron infects people around 70 times faster than the currently dominant Delta variant and the original COVID-19 strain, though the severity of illness is likely to be much lower.

RELATED: New California rules end distinction for vaccinated workers

As of Wednesday, more than 5.89 million doses of the three vaccines now available have been administered throughout the region.


More than 2.72 million San Diego County residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, around 86.5% of all eligible residents. More than 2.42 million San Diegans, or 76.9% of eligible residents, are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition, 601,951 booster shots have been administered in the region.

Also Thursday, an advisory panel to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unanimously voted to give a preferential recommendation to mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna over the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to rare but serious blood clots associated with the latter.

Dr. Isaac See of the CDC said health officials have confirmed 54 cases of the blood clots — nine of which have been fatal — and two additional deaths suspected to be related to the blood clotting issue.

The CDC temporarily suspended approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in April while initial reports of the blood clots were investigated, but decided at that time that the vaccine's benefit outweighed the risks.

The CDC's director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, is expected to decide whether to accept the panel's recommendation on Friday.