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County Sees Slight Increase in COVID Hospitalizations as Total Remains High

HealthCounty Sees Slight Increase in COVID Hospitalizations as Total Remains High

COVID-19 hospitalizationsMedical staff treat a coronavirus patient in their isolation room on the Intensive Care Unit on January 4, 2022. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The number of people hospitalized with a coronavirus infection in San Diego County increased by two to 438, according to data released by the state Saturday.

ICU patients with COVID as of Saturday increased by four to 49. There were five more hospital beds available Saturday, totaling 229.

Meanwhile, San Diego County residents will be able to get the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine this weekend, the county Health and Human Services Agency announced.

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.

“This is yet another vaccine we have to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially now that we’re seeing an increase in cases and hospitalizations,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, county deputy public health officer. “San Diegans now have another safe choice to prevent serious complications from COVID.”

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.

The county Health and Human Services Agency reported 1,678 new infections and 10 deaths Thursday, increasing the county’s cumulative totals to 881,729 cases and 5,409 deaths.

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 county does not report COVID data on weekends.

— City News Service

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