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San Luis Obispo County COVID-19 cases rise with 38 hospitalizations this week


SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. -- The SLO County Public Health Department recorded 824 new COVID-19 cases since Tuesday, and 38 hospitalized residents with 7 in the ICU as of Friday afternoon.

The department said due to this surge in severe cases, hospitals are reporting increasing pressure on emergency departments and staffing.

According to the department's dashboard, this increase in COVID-19 cases brings the 14-day average to 228, SLO County's highest since January of 2021. Health officials say holiday gatherings and traveling may have ignited the surge.

“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,” Borenstein continued. "However, if you have trouble breathing, persistent pain in your chest or other severe symptoms, please take that seriously and get medical care."

The county health department said in a press release that the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 now represents about 70% percent of recently sequenced cases in SLO County, while the Delta variant continues to represent about 30% of sequenced cases.

“While it appears that fewer people are experiencing severe illness with Omicron, many are still getting very sick and even a smaller percentage of severe cases can mean a large number of people who need hospital care or die from this disease,” said Dr. Borenstein.

“Now is the time to use the tools we have to protect yourself and each other: diligent masking, vaccination, avoiding large gatherings, and even postponing smaller get-togethers," said Borenstein.

The department said local COVID-19 testing is available at local pharmacies, urgent cares, or Public Health community sites by appointment.

To schedule an appointment for vaccines, click here.

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Lily Dallow

Lily Dallow is a digital journalist and assignment editor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Lily, click here.

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