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Coronavirus

SLO County officials concerned about potential rise in COVID-19 cases following Thanksgiving holiday

Dr. Penny Borenstein
SLO County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein speaks at the county's weekly COVID-19 press conference earlier this month. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- San Luis Obispo County leaders are crossing their fingers history doesn't repeat itself when it comes to COVID-19 cases.

Soon after Halloween, the county experienced an unprecedented surge in case numbers.

Now, with the long Thanksgiving weekend having come and gone, they hope numbers won't spike again.

"We saw that after Halloween. We saw a lot of gathering around the Halloween period," said San Luis Obispo County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein. "That really hit home in the first and second week in November, and so similarly, we would imagine as early as this week, but more likely next week and the week thereafter."

On the last day of November, the county has seen 2,001 cases for the month.

It's a dramatic increase from the previous two months, when cases in October and September combined totaled 1,329.

Over the holiday weekend, there were 181 cases reported, which continued the month-long upward trend.

"Our cases have not really slowed," said Borenstein. "We're constantly seeing in the range of 50, 70, 90 plus cases per day. We are definitely seeing a downtick in Cal Poly cases, so that's good news, but unfortunately, there are other parts of the county that seem to be making up for that."

Now, county leaders are waiting to see what cases numbers will be like following the Thanksgiving period.

"It seems that a lot of people perhaps got together with a fewer numbers of people, but still maybe did have Thanksgiving celebrations," said Borenstein. "We'll have just to see how it plays out. We may start see the affects of that even as earlier as this later this week or certainly in the next couple of weeks."

Borenstein, as she has often pointed out during the pandemic, was happy to report that hospitalizations in the county remain low.

As of Monday, there are eight patients in the hospital due to COVID-19, with only one in intensive care.

"Overall, our county continues to do quite well, in respect to the severity of the disease," said Borenstein. "Largely because it is younger, healthier people being affected, but we're starting to see some more smaller outbreaks again in some of our nursing home or assisted living facilities, so I do have some level of concern."

Borenstein will speak publicly at this week's county COVID-19 press conference.

Normally held each Wednesday, this week's briefing has been pushed back one day to Thursday, Dec. 3 at 3:15 p.m.

NewsChannel 12 will livestream the press conference at keyt.com.

California / Health / Safe at Home / Safety / San Luis Obispo County
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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.

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