SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County's COVID-19 hospitalizations continued sliding down, according to the latest data, as weekly averages released reflected the receding of the Delta variant-fueled summer surge.
The county's weekly case rate per 100,000 residents improved from 9.7 to 8, while the positivity rate fell from 3.4% to 2.9%. The county's Health Equity Quartile positivity rate -- which measures progress in low-income communities -- dropped from 3.8% to 3.1%.
Hospitalizations dropped from 242 Monday to 230 on Tuesday, with the number of intensive care unit patients declining from 62 on Monday to 60.
The county has 24.8% of its ICU beds available and 68% of its ventilators, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The OCHCA reported 164 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional fatalities Tuesday, raising the cumulative totals to 298,739 cases and 5,447 deaths since the pandemic began.
All of the most recently reported deaths occurred in September, raising the month's death toll to 84. The death toll in August was 157.
The death toll for July is 26, 19 for June, 26 for May, 46 for April, 199 for March, 615 for February, 1,580 for January -- the deadliest month of the pandemic -- and 976 for December, the next deadliest.
Orange County CEO Frank Kim told City News Service on Monday that all of the COVID-19 metrics were “still trending downward.''
As of Sept. 25, the county's new case rate per 100,000 people was 3.6 among fully vaccinated residents, and 18.1 for the unvaccinated.
“I think hospitalizations are on a very slow descent,'' Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, deputy county health officer, said in a conference call with reporters Friday. “Overall, our case rates are coming down and our positivity, so we're going in the right direction.''
Chinsio-Kwong said vaccinations are on the rise, likely due to mandates from the state.
The number of fully vaccinated residents in Orange County increased from 2,096,177 as of Sept. 23 to 2,115,536 on Sept. 30.
That number includes an increase from 1,958,145 to 1,976,227 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 138,032 to 139,309.
There are 197,514 residents who have received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Orange County is 71% fully vaccinated among those 12 and older who are eligible for vaccine, Chinsio-Kwong said. Seventy-eight percent of the eligible population has received at least one dose, she added.
Including children who cannot get a vaccine, the county is 61% fully vaccinated, Chinsio-Kwong said.
“This is exciting news, but we still have a lot more to do,'' she said.
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