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San Diego County reports 9,382 COVID cases, 5 deaths, expands testing sites

People stand in line to receive their COVID-19 test at Cal State San Marcos, Jan. 2, 2022.
Jacob Aere
People stand in line to receive their COVID-19 test at Cal State San Marcos, Jan. 2, 2022.

San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency reported 9,382 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths in its latest data as the county continues to expand testing locations amid increased demand because of the Omicron variant.

The county has a network of free testing sites, both walk-up and appointment-based. The newest testing center is a site at Palomar YMCA in Escondido, which can provide up to 800 tests a day, Monday to Friday. New appointments are made available daily and can be booked up to three days in advance.

RELATED: COVID-19 wastewater surveillance shows San Diego's case surge is slowing


Local health care providers offer testing to members who meet each systems' criteria and many neighborhood pharmacies offer same-day testing.

The federal government rolled out a program this week that allows every residential household in the United States to order up to four at-home COVID-19 test kits free of charge. Tests can be ordered online at Those ordering the test kits need only provide a name and address. No identification, credit card or health insurance information is required.

Wednesday's data increased the county's cumulative totals to 613,632 cases and 4,553 deaths.

The number of COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals increased by 14 people to 1,303 on Thursday, according to the latest state data. While still increasing, the hospitalizations spike appears to be becoming less steep, experts said.

Christopher Longhurst, UC San Diego Health's chief medical officer, posted on Twitter on Monday that there are "multiple signs we are sliding down the Omicron slope," with case rates and hospitalizations on the decline compared to a week ago.


RELATED: South Bay hospitals overwhelmed by patients, declare state of 'internal disaster'

A total of 69,151 COVID-19 cases were reported last week compared to 85,659 cases identified the previous week.

Of the hospitalized patients, 214 were in intensive care, up 18 from the previous day.

San Diego County had the second-most COVID-positive hospital patients in California, behind only Los Angeles County.

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

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 continues to be a lot of virus activity in our community and your best bet for preventing illness is to avoid large crowds, wearing your mask when out in public and getting a booster shot when you are eligible," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. "Boosters are available for fully vaccinated people ages 12 and older and provide protection against severe outcomes from the highly contagious Omicron variant."

RELATED: Expert: Pandemic could shift to 'endemic' phase soon

To date, 959,697 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 2.83 million San Diegans — around 90% of those eligible — have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 2.5 million — or 79.5% — are fully vaccinated.

There were 41,506 new tests reported Wednesday, and the seven-day average positivity rate was 29.3% up from 28.9% on Tuesday.

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