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COVID hospitalizations, active cases hit all-time highs as SLO County nears 400 deaths

Tribune - 1/28/2022

Jan. 28—San Luis Obispo County is on the brink of 400 total deaths due to COVID-19 as the omicron variant pushes hospitalizations and case counts to new records.

On Friday, the Public Health Department reported nine new deaths, bringing the county's pandemic total to 398.

The deaths range in people from their 40s to their 90s.

The continuing spike in cases is adding further pressure to SLO County hospitals, which are now treating 67 patients, including seven in the intensive care unit. That hospitalization total equals the pandemic high set on Aug. 31 amid the delta surge.

One notable difference however: On that day, 20 people were in the ICU, attesting to the difference in the severity of infection between delta and omicron.

"We need to do everything we can to safeguard our hospital capacity for those who are severely ill, not only with COVID-19 but also with other dangerous problems like heart attacks, strokes and injuries," said Dr. Penny Borenstein, county health officer. "If you feel well or have only mild symptoms, please do not go to the hospital for COVID-19 testing. Instead, stay home to rest and call your regular doctor if you need guidance on treatment and home care. If you have severe symptoms like trouble breathing or pain and pressure in your chest, that is the time to seek care at the hospital right away."

In just the last three days, 2,680 new daily cases have been confirmed in SLO County, including 1,169 on Wednesday. That's now the second-worst daily total over the past two years and the third above 1,000 in eight days.

Here's how the local case numbers from the past three days break down day by day:

— Wednesday: 1,169

— Thursday: 886

— Friday: 625

The high daily case counts continue to drive up the 14-day average, which has set a new all-time high every day this week and now stands at 649. That average passed 400 on Jan. 19, 500 on Jan. 21 and 600 on Jan. 26.

The number of active cases has likewise blown through successive records in recent weeks and as of Friday is at a pandemic high of 4,239 — more than six times what it was just one month ago. Last year's winter surge never got higher than 3,211 simultaneous active cases.

The county has now recorded 13,874 cases so far in January, which represents about 30% of all cases reported locally during the pandemic, Public Health said.

The vaccine remains the best protection against COVID-19, Public Health emphasized. County data shows that unvaccinated people make up about 65% of cases, 78.5% of hospitalizations and nearly 75% of deaths from the coronavirus since June 15, 2021.

New COVID-19 cases by city

Here is where new COVID-19 cases were added in San Luis Obispo County, according to the county public health department:

North County

Paso Robles: 495

Atascadero: 274

Templeton: 82

San Miguel: 63

Shandon: 23

Santa Margarita: 13

Creston: 10

Atascadero State Hospital: 4

South County

Arroyo Grande: 317

Nipomo: 260

Grover Beach: 177

Oceano: 114

Pismo Beach: 69

Avila Beach: 5

SLO and North Coast

San Luis Obispo: 430

Morro Bay: 104

Los Osos: 76

California Men's Colony: 54

Cambria: 41

Cal Poly (campus residents): 21

Cayucos: 19

San Simeon: 3

The locations of 43 cases were listed as "other." A total of 395 cases remained under investigation.

Outbreaks at the California Men's Colony state prison, Cal Poly and Atascadero State Hospital have been greater than indicated by county data, according to data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Cal Poly and the Department of State Hospitals.

CDCR had recorded 2,827 total coronavirus cases among CMC inmates as of Jan. 28, with 247 active cases in custody and 268 new cases in the past 14 days. A total of 13 inmates have died due to COVID-19.

DSH reported on Jan. 27 that 303 patients have tested positive at Atascadero State Hospital since May 2020. The agency reports 28 of those patients have tested positive within the past 14 days.

ASH has reported at least one but fewer than 11 deaths among patients who tested positive for COVID-19. The facility had no hospitalized coronavirus patients as of Jan. 27 and has not said how many were hospitalized in the past.

Cal Poly's documented total of coronavirus cases in the past seven days involving both on-campus and off-campus students was 111 as of Jan. 28.

SLO County coronavirus cases by the numbers

Here are the total number of COVID-19 cases in communities throughout San Luis Obispo County.

San Luis Obispo: 9,106

Paso Robles: 8,860

Atascadero: 4,984

Arroyo Grande: 4,148

Nipomo: 3,778

California Men's Colony: 2,629

Grover Beach: 2,240

— Templeton: 1,634

Oceano: 1,458

Los Osos: 1,437

Morro Bay: 1,301

San Miguel: 998

Pismo Beach: 988

Cal Poly (campus residents): 889

Cambria: 477

Shandon: 346

Santa Margarita: 345

Atascadero State Hospital: 270

Cayucos: 265

Creston: 192

Avila Beach: 99

San Simeon: 69

For a detailed look at local coronavirus cases by age, occupation and more, visit the county's COVID data portal.

Where to get a COVID-19 test and schedule a vaccine appointment

Free coronavirus testing is available at clinics in San Luis Obispo, Grover Beach, Paso Robles and Morro Bay. To make an appointment, visit or call 888-634-1123 to register by phone.

Testing is administered at 801 Grand Ave in San Luis Obispo, 1336 Ramona Ave #A in Grover Beach, 209 Surf St. in Morro Bay and 800 Pine St. in Paso Robles.

To make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine or booster, visit or call 833-422-4255. The county Public Health Department is also administering vaccines and boosters on a walk-in basis at clinics in San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles and Grover Beach. To find shots at pharmacies near you, visit

Vaccines are administered at the San Luis Obispo clinic is located at 2191 Johnson Ave., the Grover Beach clinic is located at 286 South 16th St. and the Paso Robles clinic is located at 800 Pine St.

For more information on clinic hours, visit

This story was originally published January 28, 20222:06 PM.


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