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San Diego sees an increase in COVID hospitalizations, likely due to Thanksgiving holiday

This recent surge is likely tied to Thanksgiving break gatherings because hospitalizations typically lag behind one-to-three weeks.

SAN DIEGO — UCSD and Scripps both report that they’ve had an increase in hospitalizations from COVID-19 and this isn’t from Christmas, this is likely from Thanksgiving gatherings. Testing sites in San Diego County and across the country are also seeing long lines and increased demand.

“We predicted this omicron variant would drive exceptionally high numbers and we’re seeing that now,“ said Christopher Longhurst, Chief Medical Officer, UCSD.

San Diego County is reporting an increase in hospitalizations. UCSD saw a 14% positivity rate over the last few days and Scripps currently has 119 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Scripps calls it a significant jump in just four days. 

“We’re seeing the whole range. It used to be with the last surge that we had it was mostly older patients that were getting into the intensive care unit, but sadly we’ve had younger deaths as well,” said Ghazala Sharieff, Chief Medical Officer, Scripps Health. 

This surge, health officials say is not from the Christmas holiday just a few days ago, the county hasn’t released those numbers. This surge is from Thanksgiving break gatherings because hospitalizations lag behind one to three weeks. 

Ebony Watkins brought her asthmatic daughter in for testing. “The week before break, I got a call from the nurse saying my daughter needed to be tested so come pick her up so she could get tested for COVID because a classmate did test positive,” said Watkins.

Just before school got out for winter break, several school districts reported COVID-19 positive cases. 

“Just to be safe, my youngest is asthmatic and it’s better for her to be tested and for me to be cautious than to not be cautious about it,“ said Watkins.

Health officials say the omicron variant is more contagious but symptoms have been less severe. Dr. Christopher Longhurst says this is the county’s fifth surge since the pandemic hit.

Credit: UCSD

“This is the largest surge of COVID that we’ve seen since the beginning of the pandemic. Our test rates are higher and we’re seeing more positive results on a daily basis than ever before,” said Dr. Longhurst.

There is concern out there from health officials again about not having enough staff to treat people. The best protection, the experts say is to be fully vaccinated, receive a booster and wear a mask in public. You can also buy an over-the-counter test rapid test if you have symptoms. 

WATCH RELATED: San Diegans face long lines at COVID testing sites 

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