Flu cases also rise; 171 reported in past week, with several patients contracting both COVID-19 and flu.
Local hospitals are cancelling organ transplants and cancer surgeries due to COVID-patients filling up hospital ICU beds.
By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Dr. Kristian Anderson of Scripps Research speaks on the newly discovered UK strain
December 30, 2020 (San Diego) – A new, fast-spreading strain of COVID-19 first identified in the United Kingdom has been confirmed in San Diego County. A 30-year-old local man who has not traveled outside our county has tested positive for the new strain known as B.1.1.7., the County Health and Human Services Agency announced today.
Also today, the Governor extended the stay-home order for another three weeks with Southern California’s intensive care unit (ICU) bed availability at zero. The order will remain in effect until ICU availability is at least 15%.
Dr. Kristian Andersen, of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research, where the new virus was identified in lab testing, stated, “We need to prepare” in anticipation of the new variant spreading rapidly here as it has in Britain, where the new virus prompted other European nations to bar travelers from the UK.
San Diego-area hospitals are now postponing organ transplants and removal of cancerous tumors due to the strain on hospitals and ICU units.
"Going out to party on New Year’s Eve during a global pandemic is putting your life at risk and the lives of your friends and family,” said Supervisor Greg Cox in his final press conference, since he leaves office in early January due to term limits. He also urged everyone to get the flu vaccine to help ease the strain on hospitals.