County Health officials, citing current infection numbers, said the coronavirus pandemic’s current surge shows signs of easing, even as the county passes a gruesome milestone in COVID-19 deaths.
County Health Public Information Officer, Michelle Shoresman, said in a Feb. 2 news release, “COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County increased by 3,852 over the past week, indicating the pace of the current Omicron-fueled surge, while still swift, may be slowing compared to previous weeks when totals rose by more than 5,000.”
The 14-day average in cases dropped from 649 on Friday, Jan. 28 to 621 on Feb. 2. However, in January they recorded over 14,659 cases of COVID-19, which is “more than 30% of total local cases since the pandemic began.”
And SLO County also passed 400 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic started in March 2020. The four latest deaths were among people 70 to 90-years old and brought the total to 402.
The County also reported a slowdown in the surge of COVID-19 cases in local care facilities. “County Public Health officials are currently responding to approximately 56 outbreaks of COVID-19 in congregate care, skilled nursing, and corrections facilities, down from 60 reported last week,” the news release said.
On Feb. 2, Shoresman said, there were 44 people in hospitals “because of severe COVID illness” and six in intensive care. But, “These numbers do not count those who need hospital care for other reasons and also have COVID-19.”
That clarification would seem to address the issue of how many people are hospitalized due to COVID-19 versus how many people are hospitalized for other illnesses or injuries and also have COVID-19.
The County cautioned that the COVID-19 case numbers are still very high and despite the slight downward trend, we’re not clear of the pandemic yet.
“We know hospitalizations and deaths tend to increase several weeks after a surge in cases,” SLO County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said, “so it remains critical that we do all we can to continue to safeguard our hospital capacity for those who are severely ill.”
The surge in hospitalizations has health officials asking people to stay away from the emergency rooms if you want to get a test, and not to come to the hospital if you have “mild” symptoms.
Vaccines are available at no cost at pharmacies, doctor offices, Public Health Department clinics, and mobile clinics countywide. To schedule an appointment, see: www.slopublichealth.org/vaccines or call (833) 422-4255.
Readers are reminded that the State has mandated everyone wear facemasks in all indoor public places.
For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, see: slopublichealth.org/COVID19 or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at (805) 788-2903. Phone assistance is available at (805) 781-5500 Mondays-Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.