Hospitalizations driven by COVID-19 reaches nearly 600 cases according to San Diego County’s latest figures on Saturday. 

County health officials report a total of 590 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Saturday. This is an increase from the reported 510 hospitalizations on Friday and 475 on Thursday.  There were 114 patients in intensive care, up four from the previous day.

The county reported 5,976 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 11 additional deaths. This brings the cumulative totals to 420,089 cases and 4,461 fatalities since the pandemic began. 

As a result of these increasing figures, county health officials urged people to have small gatherings with family and close friends who are vaccinated and boosted. 

“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,” Dr. Cameron Kaiser, county deputy public health officer, said earlier this week.

Those who are concerned about the COVID-19 infection or those seeking testing are recommended to only go to a hospital if they have severe symptoms. Otherwise, people are recommended to contact a health care provider for guidance. 

The nation has reached an all time high of more than 386,000 new average daily infections as of Friday, according to the latest data from John Hopkins University. 

County health authorities continue to urge residents to receive their vaccinations and booster doses. The county reports San Diegans who are unvaccinated compared to those who have received vaccines are less likely to become infected. 

Death and hospitalization remains four times higher for those who are unvaccinated and death is seven times higher. 

The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) released data earlier this week that shows Omicron surpassing Delta as the dominant strain in the U.S. Although the hyper-contagious Omicron variant makes up nearly 59 percent of cases, the Delta remains as the more severe strain. 

County health officials report that Delta is the most commonly found strain with over 17,000 cases reported since mid-April. The Human Services Agency reported as of Dec.3, there are 91 confirmed cases of Omicron, one hospitalization and no deaths tied to the strain. 

The San Diego Library gave away more than 20,000 free COVID-19 test kits to the community in just a few days. The library system is completely out of the testing kits.

Antigen testing kits are available at retail stores, but have become more difficult to find as demand continues to grow.

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