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San Diego County's weekly reported COVID-19 cases increase 26%, HHSA reports

If you get COVID-19, you can get treated — for free. That’s the word county officials are putting out on the eve of the holiday weekend. KPBS reporter John Carroll says there are many places around the county where treatment is available, and you don’t need insurance.

San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency reported 1,897 new COVID-19 infections and four deaths Thursday, as the pace of new local infections continued to increase.

Tuesday was the only day on which the county saw fewer than 1,000 new infections in the past week, with 917. A total of 8,854 cases were reported to the county from May 19 to 25, compared with 7,008 the week prior — a 26% increase.

The numbers represent only the cases reported to county or hospital sites. As the proliferation of at-home tests has increased, the actual number of infections is likely higher.


Thursday's data increased the county's cumulative totals to 784,203 infections and 5,288 deaths.

Meanwhile, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in San Diego County increased by two, to 169 — 67 more than one month ago — according to the latest state data.

Of those patients, 22 were being treated in intensive care, the same as Wednesday. The number of available hospital beds was 228, a decrease of 11.

Elected officials on Thursday met at the Monoclonal Antibody Regional Center in Clairemont to highlight available treatment options for COVID-19.

"San Diego County is a national leader in vaccine distribution, and we have been recognized for our efforts to remove barriers to treatment for COVID-19," San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said. "Together with our partners at the state and city, we have established treatment centers that continue to serve San Diegans as we learn to live with the virus."


"As COVID-19 cases rise, we want San Diegans to know there are treatment options, and that our county remains committed to keeping them safe," he said.

National City's chief of Emergency Services, Frank Parra, shared his own story of getting COVID-19 and getting treatment.

“July of 2021, after traveling, I came home, became very ill with probably the worst flulike symptoms I’ve ever had," Parra said.

Parra knew what to do. He went to the Chula Vista treatment center.

“On day 3, I got in for treatment and started to see vast improvement, one or two or three days later," he said.

He got COVID-19 again in May, but with much milder symptoms. He got another monoclonal infusion and went home.

“And, for the next three days, probably had just mild cold and minor flu symptoms, but recovered and did very well," Parra said.

On February 9, 2021, the county delivered its first monoclonal treatment and is expecting to surpass the 10,000th treatment administered in the next few days. There are MARC locations in Clairemont, Vista, Hillcrest and Chula Vista open to the public. By making an appointment, patients can receive the most current antiviral pill, or the Monoclonal Antibody Treatment. To make an appointment, call 619-685-2500.

"With COVID cases rising again, San Diegans should know COVID antibody treatments are safe, free thanks to President Biden's American Rescue Plan and very effective at keeping COVID cases mild," San Diego City Councilwoman Jennifer Campbell said. "When we first opened this treatment center in Clairemont, I never imagined I would be a patient here, but it saved my life and I want every San Diego senior to know this effective, free treatment is available to them too."

More than 2.96 million San Diegans age 5 and older, or 94.1%, are at least partially vaccinated, and more than 2.62 million, or 83.4%, are fully vaccinated. A total of 1,330,530, or 58.5%, of 2,273,207 eligible San Diegans have received a booster shot.

The county only reports COVID-19 data on Mondays and Thursdays.