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Record-breaking COVID-19 numbers hit the Central Coast. How long will this surge last?

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-15 12:37:58-05

The 4th wave of COVID-19 infections surging across the globe has many people feeling exhausted, but health experts say this surge could be close to hitting its peak.

San Luis Obispo County health officials report the highest single-day COVID-19 case count since the beginning of the pandemic.

"This surge is the biggest I've seen," said Dr. Ross Michel, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center Intensive Care Unit Medical Director.

Leading to an increase in hospitalizations on the Central Coast.

"The emergency rooms are terribly impacted right now. We've been very busy in the ICU this week and we've had some COVID-19 deaths," said Michel.

The positivity rate of COVID-19 cases isn't slowing down.

"Today (Friday) we reported the highest number of cases that we've seen on any given day throughout the pandemic," said Michelle Shoresman, San Luis Obispo County Public Health Public Information Officer.

Significantly higher than the number of cases reported at about this time last year.

"We also have the highest 14-day average that we've seen, even in comparison to January of 2021," said Shoresman.

Though the pandemic is lasting much longer than most expected, people say they are still willing to do their part to keep themselves and those around them safe.

"Well while being sick of it, I don't want to get it and I don't want it to get worse so I'm willing to comply with the mask and having my vaccines," said visitor, Terry Porter.

"I'm sick of hearing it, but at the same time you gotta follow the rules and take precautions, so we are still doing that for sure- the N95 mask and things like that," said Santa Maria Resident, Tom Kerhulas.

Health officials say wearing masks, washing your hands and avoiding large gatherings will all help stop the spread of COVID-19 infections.

Dr. Ross Michel of Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center says doing these things could lead to the current COVID-19 surge ending sooner.

"We're hoping to hit the peak sometime this month, but we certainly haven't hit it yet," said Michel.

Healthcare experts say getting vaccinated is a good way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 in the meantime.

"If people get the COVID-19 vaccine, they get less sick when they get COVID-19. They're less likely to end up in our ICUs and in the hospital," said Michel.

Michel says they are also less likely to be infected if boosted.

"People that are boosted are less likely to get infections and less likely to get in the hospital," said Michel.

Dr. Michel says, though hard to predict, he is hoping this surge will hit its peak within the next week or two.