San Diego County moved into a “high” coronavirus activity level on Thursday as case rates and hospitalizations increased. 

As of Thursday, the average daily rate of hospitalized COVID-19-positive patients in the county rose to 11.5 per 100,000 residents, placing the region under the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions threshold for “high'' virus activity. 

According to the County’s Health and Human Services Agency, the region’s total case rate of 383.01 per 100,000 residents does not include at-home tests. 

“San Diegans should take every precaution necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19,'' said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, county deputy public health officer. “Most San Diegans have been vaccinated, but with this virus, and with the prevalence and infectivity of the new variants, a booster is highly recommended, especially for people who are immunocompromised or have other comorbidities.''

The county reported 2,191 new infections and seven deaths related to the virus on Thursday, increasing the cumulative totals to 857,182 cases and 5,370 deaths. Most reported deaths occurred in people with at least one underlying health condition, mainly hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, county health officials reported. 

The HHSA has also reported an increase in re-infections. Officials have not announced a mask mandate in San Diego County. 

With a new wave of cases throughout the nation, the Biden Administration urged Americans to take precautions to protect themselves against the latest BA.4 and BA. 5 variants. The White House announced a strategy this week to manage the rapidly spreading variants by increasing the accessibility of testing, boosters, vaccines, treatments, and face masks. 

Biden’s strategy also calls for prioritizing immunocompromised individuals, encouraging building owners to improve indoor ventilation, and continued communication with the public regarding resources. 

Recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the BA. 5 variant makes up 65 percent of cases in the nation, while BA 4 makes up 16.3 percent of the cases. ​​

During a briefing, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha encouraged Americans to wear masks in indoor, crowded spaces and to take a COVID-19 test before attending a large gathering, such as a wedding or visiting a high-risk person, like a grandparent.

"We're at a point in the pandemic where most COVID-19 deaths are preventable," Jha said.

According to the county, ​​more than 3 million or 89.7 percent of San Diegans age six months and older are at least partially vaccinated. Nearly 2.65 million or 79.2 percent are fully vaccinated. A total of 1,396,563 or 57.8 percent of 2,418,004 eligible San Diegans have received a booster.

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