OC’s COVID-19 Metrics Continue Mounting

SANTA ANA (CNS) – Orange County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and infection rates continued to climb as the county also logged 10 more fatalities, according to data released Tuesday by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 climbed from 280 on Friday to 287 on Monday, while the number of intensive care unit patients went from 31 to 30.

Officials cannot determine how many of the patients currently hospitalized were admitted directly for COVID-19 or tested positive while being treated for another ailment.

But from June 1-29, there have been 118 unvaccinated patients admitted directly for COVID-19, while 24 were vaccinated, according to the agency.

According to the county, 83.3% of the patients are unvaccinated and 87.1% of ICU patients are unvaccinated.

The county has 24.9% of its ICU beds available, above the 20% level when officials become concerned.

The county’s testing positivity rate increased from 17% on Friday to 17.4%, and ticked up from 17.4% to 17.8% in the health equity quartile, which measures the communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

The county’s daily case rate per 100,000 people is 34.5 on a seven-day average with a seven-day lag, and 32.1for the adjusted rate, also with a seven-day average and seven-day lag.

The county logged 5,172 more infections Thursday through Monday, raising the cumulative case count to 616,472. The 10 newly logged fatalities increased the overall death toll to 7,155.

The July death toll was 1, while the death toll for June was 39. The most recent fatalities logged on Tuesday occurred in May, during which the death toll increased by two to 35.

April’s death toll stands at 34, and one fatality occurred in March, raising that month’s death toll to 89.

February’s death toll stands at 343, and four of the fatalities occurred in January, hiking up that month’s death toll to 569.

Two of the fatalities happened in November, increasing that month’s death toll to 125.

The OCHCA provides regular COVID updates on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The case rate per 100,000 people for fully vaccinated residents who have received a vaccine booster went from 36.9 June 26 to 36.4 to July 3, the latest data available show. The case rate for residents fully vaccinated with no booster went from 22 to 21.4, and from 36.7 to 35.5 for residents not fully vaccinated.

The number of vaccinations administered in Orange County increased from 2,328,630 to 2,330,214, according to data released on Tuesday. That number includes an increase from 2,189,959 to 2,191,731 residents who have received the two-dose regimen of vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna. The county has also logged 202,202 residents who received one of two shots of Pfizer or Moderna.

The number of residents who have received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine stands at 138,483.

Booster shots increased from 1,340,385 to 1,344,914.

In the most recent authorized age group of children younger than 5, only 71 have received shots, according to the agency.

In the age group of 5-11 years old, the number of children vaccinated increased from 92,842 to 93,868, or 35%, versus 175,512, or 65%,who have not been vaccinated.

In contrast, in the 12-17 age group 68% are vaccinated and 32% are unvaccinated.

Dr. Steven Abelowitz, regional medical director of Coastal Kids Pediatrics, told City News Service he was “really disappointed” in the level of acceptance of vaccines for children.

“In the under 5 group we’re seeing even more resistance from parents,” Abelowitz said. “The misinformation that has got to them has really put the fear of the side effects in their minds.”

Abelowitz said Coastal Kids doctors emphasize that the risks of COVID- 19 are far worse than an adverse reaction from a shot.

“We tell them that no matter which way you look at it the adverse results of both acute and long-term for Covid far outweigh any of the risks from the Covid vaccines. There’s no comparison,” the pediatrician said.

Parents sometimes say they fear the vaccines because they are “new and it was rushed,” Abelowitz said.

But Abelowitz noted that the technology of the mRNA vaccines has been in the works for years and scientists now have a tremendous amount of data on the shots as they have been put in arms over the past year and a half globally.

“Yes, we don’t have years and years of checking, but we don’t always need that,” Abelowitz said. “We’ve got billions of people, a walking laboratory. There’s nothing in history that has come close in such a short period of time which has such tremendous valdity to it.”

But, Abelowitz added, “The access to also less-credible resources now with social media and all of the others is, I think, the primary cause (of misinformation). Access to misinformation that sounds credible is the biggest challenge we have.”

But parents trust their family pediatrician, so Coastal Kids doctors attempt to get the word out one-on-one and through the practice’s social media and with emailed messages.

“We tell them we recommend the vaccines because we know that the benefits outweigh the risks,” Abelowitz said. “We tell them that the FDA has conducted very careful and thoughtful reviews of safety and effectiveness of vaccines on children, especially the under 5. They took the longest on that age group because they wanted to be more thoughtful and careful.”

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