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County and Hospital Association Urge San Diegans to Have A Safe Holiday Season

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County and Hospital Association Urge San Diegans to Have A Safe Holiday Season

The County of San Diego and Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties are urging San Diegans to redouble their efforts to fight the growth in COVID-19 cases and the accompanying stress on the medical care system.

Unlike the surge this time last year, our region has a plentiful supply of vaccines and booster doses, which remain the best long-term protection against hospitalizations. The overwhelming number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 are those not fully vaccinated.

“For those unvaccinated or in need of a booster, please get vaccinated now as an early New Year’s resolution,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “I know many are weary of the pandemic, but we all need to pull together for one another and take the simple steps we know work, especially with the more transmissible omicron variant.”

San Diego County hospitals are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, so taking precautions is important for everyone.

“Our hospitals are able to provide care to those with the virus, but the damage it continues inflicting on patients and their families and friends is real and saddening,” said Dimitrios Alexiou, president of Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties. “For the sake of our families, the public health and hospital teams, please get vaccinated and take the measures we know will help protect us all.”

With more than 400 vaccination sites that include pharmacies, medical providers, clinics and County locations, the region has the capacity to meet demand. Waits for appointments and walk- in visits can fluctuate between minutes and days, so the public is encouraged to use all available resources, including their health care providers, My Turn, 2-1-1 and coronavirus-sd.com/vaccine.

With the omicron variant able to also infect and be passed along by the fully vaccinated, all San Diegans are being asked to recommit to the non-pharmaceutical measures shown to limit spread of the virus.

These include:

  • Wear the right kind of mask at all times in indoor public spaces and ensure it is the proper fit.
  • Limit the size of holiday indoor gatherings and open windows or use an air filtration system if possible.
  • Anyone with symptoms, no matter how mild, should get tested and isolate from others until results are known.
  • Because the omicron variant is so transmissible and incubation so short, individuals should download the CANotify app to their phones to learn if they have been around someone who tested positive.
  • Rapid antigen tests are a good option if a testing site is unavailable and can be purchased at local pharmacies.
  • If you test positive with an at-home Covid test and have mild Covid symptoms, contact your healthcare provider for further instructions.
  • The County of San Diego this week is distributing free rapid test kits to the public through libraries in rural communities and those in low health equity areas without nearby access to testing sites.
  • The Federal government has announced that more free test kits will become available in the future, which the County will distribute locally.
  • Those who are ill should call the Monoclonal Antibody Treatments line at (619) 685- 2500 to ask questions, see if they are medically eligible, or schedule an appointment.