SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County recorded another 1,855 COVID-19 cases over three days, while logging two more fatalities from the virus, according to the most recent figures.
The number of people hospitalized, meanwhile, fell by one, reaching 570 as of Monday. Of those patients, 116 were in intensive care, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
According to OCHCA, the county had 19.5% of its adult ICU beds and 70% of its ventilators available.
Experts say hospitalizations are a more important statistic than case numbers because any surge can be exacerbated by an overburdened health care system, and case numbers are expected to rise as schools and businesses require more people to get tested.
The 1,855 new cases reported by the county brought the overall total from throughout the pandemic to 281,092. The new fatalities gave the county an overall death toll of 5,178.
Orange County CEO Frank Kim said Thursday he has seen signs of a slowdown in case rates.
“I look at the positivity rate of infections, and those numbers seem to indicate that the larger numbers were 10 days behind us, so I'm hoping that indicates we've plateaued and are coming off of it -- but, obviously, we won't know until we're at the lower end of the slope,'' Kim said. “But we seemed to have peaked about a week ago.''
But while the rate of infections may have peaked, there will still be increases in hospitalizations for the time being, Kim said.
“It takes 10 days after infection for people to have symptoms to require hospitalization,'' he said. “We're still seeing big numbers, but we're having discussions with our hospitals and they don't seem overwhelmed.''
The new data came on a day the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. It was the first of the three U.S. vaccines to receive such approval. All three versions of the vaccine have been in circulation under an “emergency use'' authorization from the FDA.
As of last week, 76.2% of county residents aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 66.6% were fully vaccinated.
Health officials said last week the pace of vaccinations was on the rise. The daily average over the last few weeks is in the high 8,000s, as opposed to the low 4,000s previously, officials said.
The county's rolling daily average rate of people testing positive for the virus was 8.1%.
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