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KCBX News Update: Omicron surges in SLO County, and CA State Parks to hold prescribed burns

Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Coronavirus surge continues in San Luis Obispo County as cases and hospitalizations rise

The winter coronavirus surge in San Luis Obispo County is continuing to grow, as cases and hospitalizations increase.

38 people are currently hospitalized for severe COVID-19, and seven of them are in the ICU, according to a news release from County Public Health.

The rate of confirmed cases is also growing substantially. The county has recorded 824 cases of the virus since the last report on Tuesday, bringing the county’s 14-day average to 228 — the highest it’s been since January 2021.

Public Health said the current surge was likely brought on by holiday gatherings, travel and the spread of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, which now accounts for about 70 percent of recently-sequenced cases in SLO County.

Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein advised residents not to go to the emergency room for testing or mild symptoms and save that for more severe symptoms like trouble breathing or chest pain.

She also reminded the public to get tested after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 or after traveling. Testing is available at county-run sites, pharmacies, doctor’s offices and other locations throughout the county.

More information is available at

Prescribed burns to take place at Montaña de Oro, Morro Bay and Hearst San Simeon State Parks

SLO County residents may see smoke over the next few weeks as prescribed burns take place at Montaña de Oro, Morro Bay and Hearst San Simeon State Parks.

California State Parks will be conducting the burns from Jan. 10 to 21 from about 7a.m. to 5p.m., weather permitting.

The burns are meant to reduce fuel loads and fire hazards in case of a wildfire.

Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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