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San Diego County crosses 600,000 COVID-19 cases, could be 'sliding down omicron slope'

The county reported 10,990 new cases on Friday, 8,991 on Saturday, 7,460 on Sunday and 8,013 on Monday for a total of 35,454 new cases over the holiday weekend.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego County recorded more than 35,000 new COVID-19 cases from Friday to Monday, pushing the county's cumulative cases over the 600,000 mark, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported in its most recent data.

The county reported 10,990 new cases on Friday, 8,991 on Saturday, 7,460 on Sunday and 8,013 on Monday for a total of 35,454 new cases over the holiday weekend.

The new data from the HHSA -- along with another three deaths reported over the same stretch -- increased the county's cumulative totals to 604,078 cases and 4,548 deaths since the pandemic began.

The county doesn't release information on tests, infections or deaths on weekends or holidays.

Numbers of COVID-positive patients in San Diego County hospitals increased by 29 people to 1,289, according to the latest state data. While still increasing, the hospitalizations spike appears to be becoming less steep, experts said.

Christopher Longhurst, UC San Diego Health's chief medical officer, posted on Twitter that there are "multiple signs we are sliding down the Omicron slope," with case rates and hospitalizations on the decline compared to a week ago.

Of the hospitalized patients, 196 were in intensive care, up three from the previous day.

San Diego County had the second-most COVID-positive hospital patients in California, behind only Los Angeles County.

Some of those patients may have been hospitalized for other reasons and had their COVID status discovered by hospital-mandated tests.

To date, 906,615 San Diegans have received vaccine booster shots. The CDC recommends a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot five months after the second dose. A Johnson & Johnson booster is recommended two months after the second dose. Pfizer boosters have been approved for everyone 12 years and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters are only available for adults 18 years and older.

More than 2.81 million San Diegans -- around 89.4% of those eligible -- have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 2.49 million -- or 79% - - are fully vaccinated.

To help alleviate the strain on local hospitals and prepare them for the expected surge in admissions, the HHSA recommends that only people needing emergency care should go to a hospital emergency department.

COVID-19 testing should be reserved for those at higher risk of serious illness and people who need it the most. People should not go to an emergency department for testing with no or mild COVID symptoms, officials said.

There were 40,017 new tests reported Friday, and the seven-day average positivity rate was 28.9%, up from 28.8% on Thursday.