Orange County’s COVID-19 Infections and Hospitalizations Continue Rising

SANTA ANA (CNS) – Orange County’s COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations keep climbing to a significant degree as eight more fatalities were logged, according to the latest data released by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Hospitalizations went from 189 on Friday to 206 on Sunday and but dropped to 194 on Monday. The intensive care unit patient levels have held steady at 18 to 20, with the number at 19 as of Monday, in the latest data available.

The county has 31.6% of its ICU beds available, well above the 20% level when officials become concerned.

The county’s testing positivity rate increased from 11.1% as of Thursday to 13.9% as of Monday. The rate jumped up from 7.7% to 13.7% in the health equity quartile, which measures the communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

“It’s gone up and keeps going up,” Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told City News Service Tuesday. “But the ICU only went up by one and that’s giving me some reassurance that it’s not that bad. But I’m worried about the direction of testing positivity.”

The county’s daily case rate per 100,000 people increased from 27.4 as of Thursday to 30.3 as of Monday on a seven-day average with a seven-day lag, and from 25.8 to 29.3 for the adjusted rate, also with a seven-day average and seven-day lag.

“Everything is in the purple,” Noymer said, referring to the state’s old color-coded system to determine when it would be safe to open up commerce more. Purple reflected the worst level.

The county logged 3,613 more infections Friday through Monday, raising the cumulative case count to 586,120. The county also logged eight more fatalities, raising the overall death toll to 7,076.

Five of the newly logged fatalities occurred this month, increasing June’s death toll to eight. Three of the fatalities occurred in May, increasing last month’s death toll to 31. April’s death toll stands at 31, March’s at 86, February’s at 334, January’s at 560.

The OCHCA provides regular COVID updates on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Of those hospitalized, 83.4% are unvaccinated, and 86.6% of the ICU patients are not inoculated, according to the OCHCA.

Noymer has been saying that if hospitalizations exceed 200 then the county would be considered in yet another wave.

“We’re definitely in a wave now,” Noymer said.

COVID-19 is as contagious as measles now, “Except that it’s not one and done,” he added, referring to the lack of full immunity from infection that measles offers.

The percentage of positivity could be thrown off by more at-home testing where people don’t always pass on the results to health officials as many people are getting a PCR test from a doctor to confirm an at-home test, Noymer said.

It is difficult to know exactly how many of those hospitalized with COVID-19 happened to test positive and were admitted for some other reason or if they are being treated primarily for the virus, Noymer said.

The case rate per 100,000 people for fully vaccinated residents who have received a vaccine booster increased from 27.8 on May 21 to 32.5 on May 28, the latest data available show. The case rate for residents fully vaccinated with no booster went from 17.2 to 19.2 and the case rate for residents not fully vaccinated went from 25.2 to 28.4.

The number of vaccines administered in Orange County increased from 2,319,958 to 2,322,469, according to Tuesday’s data.

That number includes an increase from 2,180,765 to 2,183,577 residents who have received the two-dose regimen of vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna.

The number of residents receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine decreased from 139,193 to 138,892 as officials continue to adjust to a new accounting of shots administered in the counties across the state.

Booster shots increased from 1,299,053 to 1,307,071.

In the age group of 5 to 11 years old, the number of children vaccinated increased from 91,544 to 91,953 versus 176,627 who have not been vaccinated.

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