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COVID-19 death toll tops 5,000 as county reports 659 cases, 14 deaths

take home covid test kits.jpg
Carlos Castillo / KPBS
Photo of the iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Tests were provided by the California Department of Public Health to students, Dec. 17, 2021

San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency reported 659 new COVID-19 infections and 14 additional deaths, bringing the cumulative death toll to 5,002 in it latest data.

There have been 734,656 infections in San Diego County since the pandemic began.

The number of San Diego County patients hospitalized with COVID-19 continued to fall, decreasing to 562 Wednesday — down from 574 on Tuesday — according to the latest state data. The number of those patients in intensive care decreased by six to 109. Available ICU beds increased by five to 211.


An average of 17,995 COVID-19 tests were recorded each day for the past week. Of those, 6.5% returned positive — down from 9.9% on Friday.

A total of 1,151,574 — or 54.3% — of San Diego County residents who are fully vaccinated have received a booster shot, according to the HHSA.

More than 2.9 million — or 92.6% — of San Diego County residents age 5 and older are at least partially vaccinated and more than 2.56 million, or 81.4%, are fully vaccinated.

  • The school board voted unanimously to enforce the vaccine mandate, which has already been challenged in court. Next, San Diego Housing Commission CEO Rick Gentry announced his resignation amid an effort by the city council to change how the commission operates.
  • Rick Gentry, CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission, will resign from his job at the end of March. That gives the City Council an opportunity to remake the agency. Meanwhile, we bring you an interview with one of the finalists for the San Diego Unified school district superintendent position. Plus, local civil rights hero Harold K. Brown reflects on his 1960s-era radio show.