By KAREN VELIE
The current surge in COVID-19 cases is straining San Luis Obispo County hospital emergency rooms and staffing. There are currently 38 residents hospitalized with the virus, seven in intensive care units, according to the county health department.
The current surge was likely ignited by holiday gatherings and travel as the highly-contagious Omicron variant took hold locally. The Omicron variant now represents about 70% percent of COVID-19 cases in SLO County, while the Delta variant continues to represent about 30%.
“We must now work together to get through this surge without a crisis to our health care system,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, county health officer. “Please, do not go to the ER for COVID-19 testing or mild symptoms. However, if you have trouble breathing, persistent pain in your chest or other severe symptoms, please take that seriously and get medical care.”
During the past three days, 824 SLO County residents officially tested positive for the virus. The county’s 14-day daily average has increased from 191 to 228.
San Luis Obispo leads with 262 new cases, followed by Paso Robles with 111, Atascadero with 101, Arroyo Grande with 70, Nipomo with 65, Morro Bay with 38 and Los Osos with 36.
In SLO County, 34,895 people have tested positive for the virus and 373 have died.
There have been 5,835,969 positive cases, and 77,257 deaths in California.
More than 60,464,426 U.S. residents have tested positive for the virus, and 858,346 have died.
In addition, the number of people infected with the virus worldwide continues to increase: 303,897,615 cases with 5,497,852 dead.