Solena Aguilar | Mustang News
Solena Aguilar | Mustang News

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department reported more than 2,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the last week, officials announced Tuesday. This is the highest weekly total since January 2021. 

“We expected a surge across the county, the state and the nation after the holidays,” County Public Health spokesperson Michelle Shoresman, who is also on San Luis Obispo City Council, said.

According to County Public Health data, there have been 994 new cases reported in the first few days of January, compared to the 2,618 cases for all of December. There were 489 new cases on Monday, Jan. 3, alone.

“This is the fastest, steepest increase we have seen since the beginning of this pandemic, even compared to our biggest surge last January,” County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said in Tuesday’s press release.

In January 2021, the county had 7,437 total cases of COVID-19. 

The county’s data only includes cases reported by health agencies. Borenstein said that due to at-home testing, it is possible that the numbers do not represent all cases. Borenstein urged those who test positive through an at-home test isolate immediately, seek medical care and notify County Public Health to receive an isolation letter.

Cal Poly is requiring all students to be tested during the first week of instruction and has confirmed 468 total positive cases among on and off campus students during the past seven days, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard on Jan. 5

“I don’t think that Cal Poly in particular is creating that [county] surge,” Shoresman said. “We are not in conflict with what they are doing.”

Shoresman added that County Public Health is advocating for widespread testing of anyone who believes they have had a COVID-19 exposure, so they can isolate themselves to prevent further spread.

Both California and San Luis Obispo County have indoor mask mandates in place. County Public Health said it “intends on continuing to urge people to follow the mandate.”

“We must protect ourselves and our friends and family members by getting vaccinated and boosted, continuing to wear masks, avoiding crowds, and staying home and testing if we’re sick,” Borenstein said in the press release. “These measures will protect our most vulnerable and help end this surge.”

The county currently reports that 65.1% of residents are fully vaccinated, 72.1% are partially vaccinated and 27.9% are unvaccinated.

“We hope that it will go down as steeply as it has increased,” Shoresman said. “We don’t know if we’re at the peak, if it will continue to go up or if it will go down.”

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