SLO County smashes COVID all-time highs with 1,265 new cases in one day, 4 new deaths

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San Luis Obispo County recorded its single-worst day of new COVID-19 cases by a huge margin on Thursday as the Public Health Department reported four new deaths due to the virus.

Over the last three days, 2,710 new cases have been reported locally, including 1,265 on Thursday alone. That was by far the highest daily total of the pandemic. The next highest day was on Friday, when 787 cases were recorded.

The four new deaths involved people ranging in age from their 50s to 70s and bring the county’s total since March 2020 to 384.

“COVID-19 continues its onward march in San Luis Obispo County and is taking a toll on many of our community members who are sick in the hospital, recovering at home, or have recently passed away from this awful disease,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, county health officer. “Reporting the deaths of four more community members saddens all of us at Public Health, and we send our heartfelt sympathy to their loved ones as we work to curb this surge.”

The county’s 14-day average number of new daily cases has jumped by more than 150 this week, to a new all-time high of 517, as the omicron variant continues to set local infection records.

To put that in perspective, the 14-day average had never topped 400 over the course of the nearly 2-year-old COVID pandemic. It passed that threshold on Wednesday. Then it passed 500 on Friday.

Below is a breakdown of the daily new coronavirus cases for the past three days:

Wednesday: 658 Thursday: 1,265 Friday: 787

A total of 9,060 cases have been reported so far this month, with 10 days left to go. That makes it the worst of the pandemic, topping the 7,437 cases recorded last January.

After retreating briefly earlier in the week, the number of active cases also surged to a new high of 3,816, almost 1,400 more than just five days ago and more than double what it was less than two weeks ago.

There are now 48 county residents hospitalized with the virus, with 10 of those in the intensive care unit. It is the first time that number has been in double digits since September.

The number of people in the ICU has risen steadily this week, from 6 on Sunday.

Public Health also said Friday that its currently responding to 63 active outbreaks in congregate care, skilled nursing and corrections facilities, while warning that an increase in deaths is likely as local physicians and coroner staff work through pending records for more than a dozen recent deaths that attending doctors noted were caused by COVID-19.

The records must be reviewed and certified before they are officially reported through the county’s dashboard.

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: 392

  • Atascadero: 237

  • Templeton: 92

  • San Miguel: 45

  • Shandon:

  • Santa Margarita: 13

  • Atascadero State Hospital: 9

  • Creston: 8

South County

  • Arroyo Grande: 283

  • Nipomo: 254

  • Oceano: 73

  • Pismo Beach: 66

  • Avila Beach: 7

SLO and North Coast

  • San Luis Obispo: 651

  • Los Osos: 125

  • Morro Bay: 91

  • California Men’s Colony: 48

  • Cal Poly (campus residents): 32

  • Cambria: 27

  • Cayucos: 27

  • San Simeon: 8

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 2,493 total coronavirus cases among CMC inmates as of Jan. 21, with 163 active cases in custody and 179 new cases in the past 14 days. A total of 13 inmates have died due to COVID-19.

DSH reported on Jan. 20 that 287 patients have tested positive at Atascadero State Hospital since May 2020. The agency reports 37 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. 20 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 197 as of Jan. 21.

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: 7,584

  • Paso Robles: 7,531

  • Atascadero: 4,259

  • Arroyo Grande: 3,366

  • Nipomo: 3,061

  • California Men’s Colony: 2,501

  • Grover Beach: 1,787

  • Templeton: 1,402

  • Oceano: 1,209

  • Los Osos: 1,158

  • Morro Bay: 1,007

  • San Miguel: 848

  • Cal Poly (campus residents): 817

  • Pismo Beach: 797

  • Cambria: 380

  • Santa Margarita: 304

  • Shandon: 292

  • Atascadero State Hospital: 240

  • Cayucos: 209

  • Creston: 167

  • Avila Beach: 78

  • San Simeon: 56

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 and scheduling an appointment, visit

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