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By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons by ND

January 9, 2021 (San Diego) – Faced with the grim reality of hospitals turning away ambulances and critically ill patients due to staggering numbers of COVID-19 cases, the state of California has ordered all elective and non-life saving surgeries cancelled for at least three weeks in 14 counties including San Diego. 

The state’s order does not impact surgeries for life-threatening conditions such as cancerous tumors or heart bypass procedures, but does require cancellations ranging from cosmetic surgeries to pain relief procedures.

Locally, 16% of people tested were positive for COVID-19, or about one in every eight people, according to the most recent San Diego county data. In Los Angeles, a staggering 20% - one in every five people – are testing positive.

Our region’s intensive care unit (ICU) bed capacity remains at zero percent. In Los Angeles County, TV news reports show hospitals with non-COVID-19 patients lined up in hallways, where some have waited days for beds to become available. Tents have been set up outside some hospitals and the National Guard called in to assist exhausted medical personnel.

San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency reported 4,550 cases on January 7, the worst day yet, including 28 confirmed cases of the fast-spreading variant first identified in the United Kingdom and another 13 suspected cases of it.

Another 33 deaths were reported Friday in San Diego County, bringing total local deaths to 1,771. The latest deaths include a person in their 20s and another in their 30s, with the rest ranging from their 50s to 80s.

“We anticipated that cases would spike after the holidays and they did. We need to do a better job following the public health guidelines, especially now that the more contagious variant of COVID-19 is in our communities,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “San Diegans should not be gathering with people outside their household and should stay home as much as possible.” 

A regional stay home order remains in effect for non-essential business and gatherings of all sizes with people outside your household are prohibited until our region’s ICU capacity reaches 15% or more.

Residents are urged to wear masks, socially distance from others if you must go out, wash hands, and if you are ill, get tested and then stay home and isolate from others.

For more information about COVID-19, testing locations and vaccine distribution, visit www.coronavirus-sd.com.


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