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KCBX News Update: SLO County COVID case rate remains stable, and local gas prices keep rising

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Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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SLO County COVID-19 cases remain stable as hospitalizations decline, reported deaths continue

New COVID-19 data from SLO County Public Health shows that the downward trend of hospitalizations from the virus is continuing, while case numbers are remaining stable. However, the county continues to report COVID-related deaths, with nine more county residents ranging in age from their 60s to their 90s confirmed to have died since last week’s report.

Hospitalizations are at their lowest point since July 2021, with two residents hospitalized for severe COVID-19. That’s compared to a high of 67 at the peak of the Omicron surge.

The public health department is reporting 237 confirmed cases since last week, which keeps the 14-day daily average of cases in the county steady at 27. That’s down from 137 a month ago, though these numbers do not include people who test positive at home.

The county is also reporting the spread of the BA.2 strain of the Omicron variant, which seems to spread more quickly than the original variant and accounts for about 40 percent of COVID cases in SLO County. That follows the pattern of other counties in California and nationwide, as BA.2 becomes the dominant strain in the county.

County Public Health said in a release that it’s unclear right now if BA.2 will lead to an increase in cases locally, though the strain has not shown to have led to any increase in hospitalizations so far.

Gas prices continue to break records in SLO County despite declining nationally

Numbers from the American Automobile Association (AAA) are showing that even as gas prices have started to slowly decline nationally, California’s are not — and it’s especially bad in some counties, including San Luis Obispo.

As of today, the average price of gas in SLO County is $6.050 compared to the state average of $5.875 and the national average of $4.237.

Santa Barbara County has seen steep increases as well, though its average right now sits below SLO County’s at $5.927.

Monterey County’s average is also considerably lower at $5.795.

AAA's analysis is available here.

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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