SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego County is facing a vaccine shortage owning to a delayed Moderna shipment, as public health officials reported 817 new COVID-19 infections and 24 deaths Friday.
The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 20,533 tests Friday, 4% of which returned positive. The 14-day rolling average of positive tests declined from 6.4% Thursday to 6.3% Friday.
A milestone in case numbers was crossed Friday, as the county's cumulative cases crossed the quarter-million mark to 250,791. The death toll rose to 2,979.
The delayed vaccine shipment, expected Tuesday, forced some vaccination sites to dramatically slow the pace of inoculations or reschedule appointments altogether.
The interruption will affect the region's largest vaccination site, the UC San Diego Health Petco Park Super Station, with no vaccinations taking place on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Petco appointments will be automatically rescheduled through UCSD MyChart.
The Chula Vista and La Mesa super stations have supplies sufficient to get through Monday. The county's distribution sites and super station in San Marcos have sufficient supplies to meet second-dose appointments, along with a limited supply of first doses, county officials said.
It was unclear how long the super station opened Friday morning at the Del Mar Fairgrounds will be able to maintain its appointments. The Scripps Del Mar Fairgrounds Vaccination Super Station will provide drive-through and walk-through services on an appointment-only basis to anyone eligible to receive a shot under county guidelines.
Previous plans called for the station to open initially from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday. Longer hours and more days of operation will be added as more vaccine doses become available.
For those who may experience a delay in second doses, the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has advised that people can wait up to 42 days between doses and still achieve maximum immunity.
San Diego County coronavirus inoculation sites have received 651,450 doses of vaccine and administered 569,060 doses, according to the HHSA.
A total of 15.8% of San Diego County residents age 16 and over have received at least one of the two shots required to develop antibody protection against the virus. Around 3.6% of the population over the age of 16 is fully vaccinated.
Hospitalizations continued to decline, dropping to 876 on Friday from 945 on Thursday. The number of intensive care patients decreased by 19 to 287, and the HHSA said there were 48 available staffed ICU beds in the county.
State health officials notified COVID-19 vaccine providers across California on Friday that effective March 15, vaccines can be provided to anyone aged 16-46 with severe underlying health conditions such as cancer, chronic pulmonary disease, heart conditions or kidney disease that put them at risk of severe illness or death if they contract the virus.
The new guidance also allows vaccinations for people with developmental or severe disabilities that leave that at high-risk if they are infected.
University of San Diego instituted a stay-on-campus order through the end of the month due to a recent spike in coronavirus cases, which school officials largely attribute to off-campus parties and social events, university officials announced Friday.
Under the new directives, on-campus resident students are only permitted off-campus for essential reasons, such as "emergencies or essential purposes such as employment, medical care, religious services or to purchase groceries or other essential items," USD President James T. Harris III said.