San Diego grapples with unprecedented demand for COVID testing after the holidays

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The number of coronavirus cases continues to increase at an alarming pace, as the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 7,786 positive cases and 11 deaths Tuesday.

The new data increased the county’s cumulative totals to 457,504 cases and 4,487 deaths. The data follows the weekend numbers, which counted more than 17,000 confirmed cases over three days.

A total of 18,903 tests were reported on Tuesday, and the seven-day average positivity rate was 24.1%, up from 23.3% on Monday.

The number of COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals continues to climb at a pace not seen since August, according to the latest state figures. There were 682 people in the county hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, up from 664 on Monday, 628 on Sunday, 590 on Saturday, 510 on Friday and 475 on Thursday.

Of those patients, 121 were in intensive care, down one from the previous day. The number of available ICU beds increased by seven to 188. Some COVID-positive patients may have been hospitalized for other reasons and had their COVID status discovered by hospital-mandated tests, according to the state health department.

The San Diego County Office of Education will begin distributing more than 200,000 COVID test kits for public and charter schools Wednesday, part of around six million at-home antigen tests Gov. Gavin Newsom promised across the state on Dec. 22. Newsom said he intended they be distributed so students can test before they return to school from winter break.

Because the Office of Education has only received a partial allocation from the state, it will distribute test kits on a first-come, first-served basis to districts and charter schools. Families will be contacted by their district or school on how to receive the test kits, an SDCOE statement read.

San Diego County recommended that people worried about COVID-19 infection and others seeking COVID-19 testing only go to a hospital to be tested if they have severe symptoms.

Those with mild COVID-19 symptoms should contact their health care provider via phone or telehealth for guidance.

KUSI’s Hunter Sowards was live in City Heights with more information.

Categories: Coronavirus, Good Evening San Diego, Local San Diego News, Trending