Orange County Sees Continued Declines in COVID-19 Metrics

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SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County's COVID-19 hospitalizations and other metrics continued to decline, according to the latest data, but eight more deaths were logged, including six this month.

The number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals decreased from 367 on Friday to 309 Monday, with the number of patients in intensive care falling from 108 Friday to 100 Monday, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. The OCHCA reports COVID-19 statistics Mondays through Fridays.

The county has 21.6% of its ICU beds available and 66% of its ventilators.

The county's testing positivity rate as of Monday was 3.7% and 4.2% in the health equity quartile, which measures the disadvantaged communities hardest hit by the pandemic, according to Orange County CEO Frank Kim. The new case rate per 100,000 was at 10.2 per 100,000 residents, Kim said.

That compares with last Monday, when the positivity rate was 4.7%, 5.1% in the health equity quartile, with a case rate of 13.5 per 100,000 residents, Kim said.

“All indicators are showing continued, steady decreases and that's positive,'' Kim said.

It appears the county dodged a Labor Day-fueled surge, Kim said.

“It looks like we got through it,'' he said.

Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, agreed.

“I think we're out of the woods on Labor Day,'' Noymer told City News Service.

Noymer said the latest statistics “look fantastic.''

Hospitalizations are “just above the levels seen in late July so we're really turning back the clock, and I mean that in a good way,'' Noymer said.

Weekly averages, released on Tuesdays, showed last week that the county's case rate per 100,000 residents dropped from 16 to 15.3, while the testing positivity rate fell from 5.4% to 4.7%.

The county's Health Equity Quartile positivity rate dropped from 5.8% to 5.1%.

The eight fatalities logged since Friday raised the cumulative to 5,352 since the pandemic began.

Six of the new fatalities occurred in September, raising the death toll for this month to 24. Two other fatalities occurred in August, raising the death toll for last month to 135.

Those figures stand in stark contrast to the rest of the summer.

The death toll for July was 22, 18 in June, 23 in May, 45 in April, 199 in March, 615 in February, 1,579 in January -- the deadliest month of the pandemic -- and 975 in December, the next deadliest.

The OCHCA also reported 1,031 new infections since Friday, raising the cumulative total to 293,875 since the pandemic began.

The number of fully vaccinated residents in the county increased from 2,043,693 the previous week to 2,069,128 as of Thursday.

That number includes an increase from 1,908,595 to 1,932,614 of 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 increased from 135,098 to 136,514.

There are 220,138 residents who have received one dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

The county's case rate for fully vaccinated residents as of Sept. 11, the latest figures available, was 4 per 100,000, but 22.9 per 100,000 for the unvaccinated.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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