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San Diego County's COVID-19 hospitalizations increase by 17

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Jacob Aere
A Spanish COVID-19 vaccination information sheet lays on a table, March 25, 2022.

On Tuesday, San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency reported 897 new cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths, while hospitalizations increased by 17.

The new data increase the county's cumulative totals to 887,636 infections and 5,417 deaths since the pandemic began. Current hospitalizations now stand at 442, while those in intensive care units declined by two to 46. The number of available hospital beds decreased by six to 256.

Meanwhile, San Diego County residents are now able to get the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine.

Novavax, in use in other countries, is a more "traditional" vaccine, developed using protein-based technology, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been using for decades to treat diseases such as hepatitis B, shingles and human papillomavirus. The vaccine presents a specific portion of the virus which the body generates immunity against.

Novavax has been authorized as a two-dose primary series, given three to eight weeks apart, to people ages 18 and older. Clinical trials showed that the vaccine is 90% effective at preventing mild, moderate and severe COVID-19.

According to the HHSA, clinical trials showed Novavax does not cause severe side effects. Reactions were mild and like those rare effects seen from COVID-19 vaccines using the mRNA technology, such as pain, tenderness, redness and swelling at the injection site.

Novavax is expected to be available at local health care providers, retail pharmacies, community clinics and county public health centers and community vaccination events.

San Diego County's case rate per 100,000 residents 12 years of age and older is 54.35 for people fully vaccinated and boosted, 32.53 for fully vaccinated people and 93.86 for not fully vaccinated San Diegans.

According to the county's HHSA, lab-confirmed coronavirus cases remain near 10,000 per week, a number that does not include at-home tests. The HHSA also reported that it has also seen an increase in re-infections — San Diegans who have tested positive for COVID-19 several times throughout the pandemic. Prior infection does not necessarily prevent re-infection with some of the newer virus variants, according to national data.

More than 3 million or 89.9% of San Diegans age 6 months and older are at least partially vaccinated. More than 2.65 million or 79.3% are fully vaccinated. A total of 1,416,251 or 58% of 2,430,747 eligible San Diegans have received a booster.

The HHSA updates data on Monday and Thursday nights.