Bay Area COVID-19 Surge Tapering Off Despite Continued Spikes: Officials

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COVID-19 hospitalizations and case rates continue to climb across the Bay Area, with notable numbers in San Francisco and Sonoma County, but health officials see signs the omicron surge is beginning to fade.

As of Monday, the Bay Area had 1,881 COVID-19 hospital patients, with 309 in intensive care units. By comparison, the region's highest number of hospitalizations was last January, when there were 2,210 patients.

In San Francisco there were 256 COVID-positive patients on Monday, only three fewer than its all-time high just over a year ago. And Sonoma County is seeing a significant spike, with more than 18,000 active cases confirmed. A year ago in the county, there were just 4,900 active cases.

Overall in California, COVID-19 cases surpassed a milestone of 7 million.

But despite the rise in numbers, state and local health leaders believe the omicron surge is tapering off. Just last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom told residents the surge is expected to last "just a few more weeks." That sentiment was shared by UCSF infectious disease specialist Dr. Monica Ghandhi, who said in the endemic phase, where a virus reappears and has no end, it's treated like the flu.

Scientists studying the Bay Area's waste water also say their research signals a decline in the concentration of the virus. Researchers at UC Berkeley reported seeing a sharp decline in the coronavirus RNA in sewage samples from San Francisco, Marin and Contra Costa counties.

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