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Weekly reported COVID-19 infections increase by 40% in San Diego County

A total of 7,008 cases were reported during the past week compared to 4,996 cases identified the previous week, a 40% increase.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency has reported 1,579 new COVID-19 infections, the most since early February and part of a larger trend as infections continue to increase.

A total of 7,008 cases were reported during the past week compared to 4,996 cases identified the previous week, a 40% increase. These are only the cases reported to county or hospital sites. As the proliferation of at-home tests has increased, the actual number of infections is likely a considerably higher number.

"I don't anticipate this wave is going to be as big as previous ones because lots of people have partial immunity either from vaccination or from already having been infected once with COVID," said Dr. Mark Sawyer, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Rady Children's Hospital. 

"I think you can expect things to improve over time, but how quickly and whether we'll ever get to a point where we don't see any cases is really hard to predict," he added.

The HHSA reported five deaths Thursday, increasing the county's cumulative totals to 775,369 infections and 5,282 deaths.

"I know people are getting tired of this, but you know, it's a serious infection. This virus has surprised us over and over again with its capability. You really shouldn't get complacent," said Dr. Sawyer.

Pending approval from the Western States committee, booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine may soon be available for San Diego children ages 5 through 11, the HHSA announced on Thursday.

According to a spokesperson for Rady's, the hospital is planning to begin administering booster doses for that age group next week. An appointment is required.

The COVID-19 Pfizer boosters should be given five months after receiving the final dose of the primary vaccine series.

"Some parents have been anxiously waiting to give their children extra protection against COVID-19 and the shots may be finally approved," said Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, San Diego County Public Health Officer. "COVID-19 boosters for everyone who is eligible are easy to get because we have plenty of vaccine available in the region."

Additionally, the Omicron variants have been making more San Diego children sick, the HHSA reported, with some requiring hospitalization and others developing multi-system inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C. From November 27, 2021 to May 7, 2022, 90% of the pediatric hospitalizations for the syndrome occurred in not-fully-vaccinated children.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 98 MIS-C cases in the county. Of those, 53% have been reported in children ages five to 11 and 60%- have been Hispanic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "MIS-C is a rare, but serious, post-infectious hyper-inflammatory condition occurring about 2 to 6 weeks after infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus."

Symptoms of MIS-C include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, skin rash, inflammation and multi-organ dysfunction. In severe cases, children can experience hypotension (low blood pressure) and shock. Approximately 60-80% of the early cases of MIS-C patients required intensive care admission.

"MIS-C can often be so severe that children require life-saving interventions," Wooten said. "Parents should contact their doctor immediately if their child develops any of these symptoms. The best thing parents can do is get all the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for themselves and their children."

More than 2.96 million or 94% of San Diegans age 5 and older are at least partially vaccinated, while more than 2.62 million or 83.3% are fully vaccinated. A total of 1,323,824 or 58.5% of 2,264,730 eligible San Diegans have received a booster shot.

A total of 9,611 tests were reported to the county on May 14, and the percentage of new positive cases was 7.3%. The 14-day rolling percentage of positive cases, among tests reported through May 14, is 5.8%.

The number of people hospitalized with a coronavirus infection in San Diego County increased by 14 to 134, once again surpassing Santa Clara County for the second highest hospitalization numbers in the state, according to the latest state data.

Of those patients hospitalized as of Thursday, 24 were being treated in intensive care, two more than. The number of available hospital beds was 219.

The county only reports COVID-19 data on Mondays and Thursdays.

WATCH RELATED: FDA confirms some at-home COVID tests are still accurate after expiration date (May 18, 2022)

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