The continued increase of COVID-19 cases announced on Thursday prompts county health officials to urge San Diegans to keep New Year’s celebrations small. 

This anouncement comes as the county Health and Human Services Agency reports nearly 6,000 cases as of Dec.29. County residents are recommended to limit celebrations to family and close friends who are vaccinated and boosted if eligible.

The public and local businesses are asked to continue following the current state and local guidance to slow the spread.

“We get it. People are tired of the pandemic, but given the record number of cases, the brisk emergence of Omicron and the increased risks that come with gatherings, San Diegans must continue to make decisions to protect themselves and others,” said Cameron Kaiser, M.D., M.P.H., County deputy public health officer. “If you have New Year’s celebrations, limit them to people who live with you and make sure everyone present uses the strategies we know work.”

It is recommended for people who are worried about COVID-19 infection and others seeking COVID-19 testing only go to a hospital for testing if they have severe symptoms. This preserves hospital resources for patients who are critically ill. Hospitalization rates are closely monitored by the county amid recent large case increases.

“We all have the power to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Let’s use it,” Kaiser said.

Those with mild COVID-19 symptoms are recommended to contact their health care provider for guidance. 

Rapid antigen tests, which are available at many local pharmacies, are a good option if a testing site is unavailable. The County has a network of no-cost testing public sites that are both walk-up and can take appointments.

There are more than 400 vaccination sites that include pharmacies, medical providers, clinics and County locations; the region has the capacity to meet demand. You can also make an appointment or find a site near you by calling (833) 422-4255 or visiting the MyTurn or websites. County health officials who say vaccination is the best long-term protection against the COVID-19  hospitalizations and deaths. 

In addition to the County testing sites, many neighborhood pharmacies offer same-day testing. The county offers a list of other locations where people can get COVID-19 tests

Kaiser recommends the following for people who gather outside their household: 

  • Wear the right kind of mask and wear it correctly
  • Limit indoor activities, especially if not everyone’s vaccination status is known
  • If you have symptoms, stay home, get tested –whether you’ve been vaccinated or not– and isolate until you get a negative result and you’re feeling better
  • If you test positive, stay home, isolate in accordance with CDC guidance and seek treatment if necessary
  • Get CA Notifyto receive alerts if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

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