Orange County Reports Declines In COVID Hospitalizations and Case Rates

SANTA ANA (CNS) – Orange County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations continued declining along with positivity rates, according to data released today.

Hospitalizations declined from 538 on Thursday to 453 Monday, with the number of intensive care unit patients declining from 102 to 89, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency, which does not update statistics on weekends and did not do an update on Lincoln’s birthday Friday.

The county had 26.9% of its ICU beds available and 63% of its ventilators as of Monday. Local health officials become concerned when the level of ICU beds falls below 20%.

Of those hospitalized, 84% are unvaccinated and 86% in ICU are not inoculated, the Orange County Health Care Agency reported.

The agency also reported 2,761 new positive COVID tests and 50 additional deaths associated with the virus on Monday, bringing its cumulative totals to 532,797 cases and 6,358 fatalities.

Three of the fatalities logged Monday occurred this month, raising the February death toll so far to 12.

Forty of the fatalities occurred in January, hiking last month’s death toll to 361.

Two of the fatalities logged Monday happened in December, raising that month’s death toll to 107. One fatality was in November, raising that month’s death toll to 113. One was in October, hiking that month’s death toll to 136.

September’s death toll stands at 199, while¬†¬†August’s ticked up by one to 186.

In contrast, the death toll before the Delta variant fueled a late- summer surge was 31 in July, 20 in June, 26 in May, 47 in April, 202 in March and 620 for February.

January 2021 remains the deadliest month of the pandemic, with a death toll of 1,600, ahead of December 2020, the next-deadliest with 985 people lost to the virus. Two of the fatalities logged on Monday occurred in January 2021.

Thirteen of the fatalities logged Monday were skilled nursing facility residents and three were assisted living facility residents, raising the death tolls in those categories to 1,264 and 660, respectively.

Outbreaks — defined as three or more infected residents — decreased from 31 to 23 at assisted living facilities from Feb. 7-9, the most recent data available, and dropped from 25 to 20 for skilled nursing facilities.

The county’s jails had 59 infected inmates Monday, up from 58 on Thursday, with the results of 263 tests pending.

Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, the county’s deputy health officer, said she expects the death toll from the Omicron variant-fueled winter surge to keep rising. She said the fatalities will continue to roll in over the next two months. Most of the victims are unvaccinated and those who were inoculated tend to be elderly and have underlying health issues, she said.

The county’s adjusted daily new case rate per 100,000 residents dropped from 47.7 Thursday to 43 Monday. The testing positivity rate dropped from 9.7% to 8.9% and fell from 8.2% to 7.3% in the health equity quartile, which measures underserved communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

The case rate per 100,000 people decreased from 39.3 on Jan. 29 to 17.5 on Feb. 5 for those fully vaccinated with a booster shot; from 63.7 to 21 for those fully vaccinated with no booster; and 101.2 to 62.2 for those not fully vaccinated.

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