1st Pediatric COVID-19 Death in OC, Which Is About to Go Off Watch List

SANTA ANA (CNS) - The Orange County Health Care Agency has announced the county's first pediatric death related to COVID-19, a teenage girl with significant underlying medical conditions.

Since the start of the pandemic, three people 18 to 24 years old have died of coronavirus complications in Orange County, but this was the first death of a person under 18.

The girl's exact age and other details were not released. Officials learned of her death Tuesday.

The Orange County Health Care Agency reported 18 COVID-19 fatalities on Wednesday, hiking the region's death toll to 833, along with 295 newly diagnosed infections, raising the cumulative caseload to 44,507.

Of the latest deaths to be reported, seven were skilled nursing facility residents.

Hospitalizations ticked up from 409 Tuesday to 419, but the number of patients in intensive care units remained unchanged at 124, according to the HCA.

The rate of county residents testing positive for COVID-19 decreased from 6.2% to 5.9%, below the state's desired threshold of 8%. And the change in the three-day average of hospitalized patients went from -4.8% to -3.9%, which is lower than the state's threshold.

The county's case rate per 100,000 residents dropped from 106.4 to 98.6, which is still far higher than the California Department of Public Health threshold of 25 per 100,000 residents.

But because that number is under 100 and the positivity rate is below 8%, it appears the county will be taken off the state's watch list on Thursday under newly outlined metrics, said Orange County CEO Frank Kim.

The county had 30% of intensive care unit beds available Tuesday, which is better than the state's 20% threshold. And the county's hospitals also have 56% of their ventilators available, well above the state standard of 25%.

The Health Care Agency reported that 565,386 COVID-19 tests have been conducted, including 5,282 reported Wednesday. There have been 35,860 documented recoveries.

As students are reporting back to school, Orange County officials are also keeping an eye on coronavirus cases among children. The state is allowing schools in grades up to sixth to apply for a waiver from all online learning.

As of Wednesday, 448 children up to 3 years old have tested positive for COVID-19; 620 4-9 years old; 472 between 10 and 12; 449 between 13 and 14; and 1,574 between 15 and 18.

The county submitted waivers to the state for 10 schools on Tuesday and they were approved by the state on Wednesday, Kim said.

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