SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A significant increase in COVID-19 cases has prompted San Diego County public health officials Thursday to renew their efforts to get county residents vaccinated from the virus.
In the past seven days, 3,465 COVID-19 cases were reported in San Diego County. That's 1,566 or 82% more cases than the previous seven-day period.
Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are also trending up. The daily total rose above 100 on July 6 and has remained above that threshold since. hospitalizations are likely to increase, a county spokesman said, since they typically do after increases in cases.
The rise in cases and hospitalizations is occurring primarily in San Diegans who are not vaccinated. These individuals are also being disproportionately impacted by the Alpha, Gamma and Delta COVID-19 variants of concern.
"The best protection we have against COVID-19 is getting vaccinated," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. "The vaccines are extremely effective at preventing serious illness from COVID-19. If you have not gotten immunized, do it now."
There has also been a very slight increase in post-vaccination infections, meaning people got infected with COVID-19 even though they were fully vaccinated.
Wooten said that was expected and that breakthrough cases typically have mild symptoms.
"This does not mean the vaccine is not working. Quite the opposite, the vaccine is doing what it's supposed to do: keep most people from being hospitalized, or worse, dying," she said.
A total of 521 COVID-19 cases were reported to the county in Wednesday's report. The region's total is now 288,681.
One new death was reported between July 14 and July 20. The region's total is 3,787. A man in his 60s and with underlying medical conditions died June 12.
San Diego County's case rate is 7.6 cases per 100,000 residents, and a total of 7,895 tests were reported to the county this week, and the percentage of new positive cases was 6.6%.
The 14-day rolling percentage of positive cases among tests is 5.1%. All these numbers mark a significant increase from even one month ago as the virus surges.
If California was still under its original color coded system, at 7.6, we'd be in the most restrictive purple tier.
At the adjusted rate, which was formulated once vaccines became available, we'd be in the red.
Both included closures and other restrictions.
Dr. Argentina Servin, an assistant professor at UC San Diego's School of Medicine says the recent uptick in Covid cases can be directly linked to two things.
"We're seeing a surge in Covid 19 cases due to the delta variant and vaccine hesitancy, so of course it is concerning," said Dr. Servin.
Dr. Servin and others are pushing to convince more people to get vaccinated, saying things won't get better until that happens.
“A lot of people are scared because they think the vaccine was rushed. It was not rushed in anyway and we used technology that's been around for 20 years, and we have clinical trials for the past seven years from individuals that used the same technology for another coronavirus and it was safe,” said Dr. Servin.
A total of 22 new community outbreaks were confirmed in the past week: 10 in restaurant/bar settings, four in business settings, two in day camp settings, one in a campground setting, one in a restaurant setting, one in a construction setting, one in a government setting, one in a retail setting and one in a faith-based setting.
WATCH RELATED: San Diego mother contracts COVID-19 after Moderna vaccine. (July 2021)