SLO Co. Health officials explain high COVID-19 death counts amid decrease in cases

Posted at 4:55 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 19:55:51-05

COVID-19 related deaths in San Luis Obispo County have been high in the past month even though every other COVID-19 statistic is going down.

In total, 470 San Luis Obispo County residents have died due to complications related to COVID-19. Since Feb. 9, in just one month 51 people have been declared dead due to COVID-19 in San Luis Obispo County.

With the number of patients in the ICU consistently being less than 7 during that time frame, KSBY reached out to San Luis Obispo County Public Health officials to see if they could explain the reason behind the higher number of deaths, and this is what they said:

With each surge of this pandemic, we have seen a trend in which cases peak, then hospitalizations peak a few weeks after that (as people become more severely ill) and then deaths peak a few weeks after that. That is what we believe we are seeing now. In other words, even though we may be several weeks past our peak in cases and hospitalizations seem to have stabilized at a lower number, we may continue to see high numbers of deaths for some time. We do not know when that will peak. Additionally, with the increase in at-home testing (which is resulting in fewer reported cases), we recognize that our case numbers do not capture all of the cases happening in the community. It would therefore follow that our deaths could also remain steady or even increase although, we certainly hope that will not be the case.

There is also an extended process in confirming deaths as caused by COVID-19 and this can cause some delay in reporting. Our staff is currently working through reports of additional deaths that attending physicians noted were caused by COVID-19.

For more information about the current COVID-19 data in San Luis Obispo County, click here.