Active COVID cases drop in SLO County despite more deaths

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After rocketing to a pandemic all-time high last week, the number of active COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County has retreated just as suddenly, as the Public Health Department reported two new deaths on Tuesday.

The latest deaths are among residents 85 and older and increase the county’s total to 380 since March 2020.

The number of active cases is at 2,225, down nearly 40% from a high of 3,573 on Friday, suggesting perhaps the worst of the omicron surge might be behind us. That’s a drop of 1,348 cases in four days.

That does come over a holiday weekend, however, and some positive cases could still be trailing, Public Health warned.

Also, despite that decline, the county is still seeing days with high numbers of new cases, including 673 on Saturday and 592 on Tuesday.

That has pushed the 14-day average of new daily cases to 383, another record, although that rate has leveled off from a quick acceleration just two weeks ago.

A total of 6,350 cases have been reported so far in January, compared to 7,437 for the entire month of January 2021.

The Public Health Department cautioned in a news release that cases continue to surge.

Hospital cases are also still rising, which is putting pressure on local facilities.

A total of 55 residents are now receiving inpatient care here, including eight in the intensive care unit. The all-time high was 67 on Aug. 31, including 20 in the ICU, at the peak of the delta variant surge.

“Our local health care system and hospital staff are under immense pressure driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant,” Dr. Penny Borenstein, county health officer, said in a news release Tuesday. “Please do not go to the ER for COVID-19 testing or mild symptoms. If you’re not up to date on your COVID-19 vaccination, please make an appointment today to get this protection.”

ICU capacity in SLO County now stands at 42%.

In total, 39,427 San Luis Obispo County residents have tested positive for coronavirus since March 2020.

Here’s how local coronavirus case numbers from the past four break down day by day:

Saturday: 673

Sunday: 124 Monday: 176 Tuesday: 592

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: 354

  • Atascadero: 268

  • Templeton: 67

  • San Miguel: 35

  • Santa Margarita: 14

  • Shandon: 10

  • Creston: 8

South County

  • Arroyo Grande: 180

  • Nipomo: 135

  • Grover Beach: 94

  • Oceano: 64

  • Pismo Beach: 52

  • Avila Beach: 5

SLO and North Coast

  • San Luis Obispo: 281

  • Morro Bay: 61

  • Los Osos: 51

  • California Men’s Colony: 27

  • Cambria: 13

  • Cayucos: 13

The locations of 36 cases were listed as “other.” A total of 338 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 2,584 total coronavirus cases among CMC inmates as of Jan. 18, with 103 active cases in custody and with all of them testing positive in the past 14 days. A total of 13 inmates have died due to COVID-19.

DSH reported on Jan. 14 that 272 patients have tested positive at Atascadero State Hospital since May 2020. The agency reports 25 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. 14 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 287 as of Jan. 18.

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

The clinics are open Monday and Wednesday, Thursday, Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed noon to 1 p.m. for lunch), and Saturdays for vaccines only from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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, visit

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