San Diego County reports 2,736 COVID-19 cases, 29 deaths as omicron declines
San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency reported 2,736 new COVID-19 infections and 29 deaths Friday as hospitalizations dropped by 91 patients.
Friday's data increases the cumulative case and death totals to 708,770 infections and 4,786 deaths. The latest state data for hospitalizations showed 1,014 patients in area hospitals with COVID-19, a decrease of 8.2% from Thursday.
The patients in intensive care beds decreased by seven to 199, and total ICU beds available declined by 14 to 157.
Along with a seven-day average positivity rate of 17.1% — down from 19.8% on Tuesday — there is evidence to believe the Omicron variant is on the wane.
Hospitalizations and deaths are considered a lagging factor, so the above-average deaths due to the virus may be a result of the Omicron spike in December and January, officials said. Additionally, actual case counts may be higher due to the increasing popularity and availability of home antigen tests, results of which are not reported to the county.
However, since the beginning of the year, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 225 San Diegans.
"There is a common misconception that the Omicron variant is not as deadly as prior strains of COVID-19," said Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, county public health officer. "The latest data show that since the Omicron variant was first identified, COVID-19 deaths are on the rise, both here in San Diego and across the country.
"While you can still get COVID-19 despite being vaccinated and boosted, the vaccine keeps most people out of the hospital and reduces the risk of virus-related deaths," she said.
A total of 1,072,823 (51.8%) of San Diego County residents who are fully vaccinated have received a booster shot, according to the HHSA. Boosters are currently available for everyone 12 years and older.
The county has more than 400 vaccination sites including pharmacies, medical providers, clinics and county locations. Appointments can be made and sites can be found by calling 833-422-4255 or visiting the MyTurn or coronavirus-sd.com websites.
Nearly 2.88 million, or 91.4%, of San Diego County residents age 5 and older are at least partially vaccinated and more than 2.53 million, or 80.4%, are fully vaccinated.