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San Diego County sees slight drop in COVID hospitalizations

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Brooke Ruth
Cars line up in San Marcos as Kaiser Permanente patients wait to be tested for COVID-19, Dec. 28, 2021.

COVID-19 related hospitalizations in San Diego County have decreased by 17 people to 1,206, according to the latest state data.

Of those patients, 191 were in intensive care, up 10 from the previous day. The number of available ICU beds declined by four to 160.

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COVID-19 hospitalizations have more than tripled in the past 30 days, from 354 to 1,206.

Some COVID-positive patients may have been hospitalized for other reasons and had their COVID status discovered by hospital-mandated tests.

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San Diego County reported 9,878 new COVID-19 infections and five additional deaths Friday.

Friday's data from the county Health and Human Services Agency increased the county's cumulative totals to 568,212 cases and 4,545 deaths since the pandemic began.

The county doesn't release information on tests, infections or deaths on weekends or holidays.

To date, 906,615 San Diegans have received vaccine booster shots. The CDC recommends a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot five months after the second dose. A Johnson & Johnson booster is recommended two months after the second dose. Pfizer boosters have been approved for everyone 12 years and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters are only available for adults 18 years and older.

More than 2.81 million San Diegans — around 89.4% of those eligible — have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 2.49 million — or 79% - - are fully vaccinated.

To help alleviate the strain on local hospitals and prepare them for the expected surge in admissions, the HHSA recommends that only people needing emergency care should go to a hospital emergency department.

COVID-19 testing should be reserved for those at higher risk of serious illness and people who need it the most. People should not go to an emergency department for testing with no or mild COVID symptoms, officials said.

There were 40,017 new tests reported Friday, and the seven-day average positivity rate was 28.9%, up from 28.8% on Thursday.