SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County's coronavirus hospitalizations, which have generally been declining since late summer, increased in the latest reported data from the state, from 214 to 224, while the number of COVID patients in intensive care rose from 44 to 49.
Sunday's numbers came two days after officials reported 260 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 additional deaths. Ten of those deaths occurred in September, one in August and the first one was reported for October, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The OCHCA does not report case and death numbers on weekends. The agency also announced that no data would be reported Monday due to the holiday.
Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, deputy county health officer, said the vast majority of September's fatalities were unvaccinated. The victims are also trending younger than previous surges, she added.
In September, 45% of those who died were younger than 65, she said. And 97% were unvaccinated, she added.
“I don't want us to repeat what happened this summer because so much could have been prevented if we'd been a little more cautious,'' Chinsio-Kwong said. “Until we can get more of our younger folks vaccinated we need to take precautions.''
Chinsio-Kwong is concerned that the upcoming holiday season, starting with Halloween, will spur another winter surge. She encouraged parents to get their children vaccinated for the upcoming flu season, and noted it takes two weeks to develop full immunity after the shot, so if they get it now it will be in time for Halloween festivities.
“The flu is right around the corner,'' Chinsio-Kwong said Friday. “Some are asking can you get the flu and COVID at the same time and the answer is yes.''
Chinsio-Kwong said it was “technically safe to go trick-or-treating, especially if it's outdoors,'' but everyone should be mindful of continuing efforts to avoid infection such as social distancing, good hand hygiene and wearing a mask.
“Kids love to eat candy and so do I, but it means removing your mask,'' Chinsio-Kwong said. “This should be a fun and exciting time and it should be safe, but use some caution if you're indoors.''
Chinsio-Kwong suggested Halloween and Dia de los Muertos festivities could be used as an excuse to decorate masks.
Friday's data brought the county's cumulative totals to 299,594 cases and 5,475 fatalities since the pandemic began, according to the OCHCA. The county had 25.6% of its ICU beds available and 68% of its ventilators as of Friday.
As of Oct. 2, the county's new case rate per 100,000 people was 3.1 among fully vaccinated residents and 16.1 for the unvaccinated.
The number of fully vaccinated residents in Orange County increased from 2,115,536 on Sept. 30 to 2,135,325 on Thursday.
That number includes an increase from 1,976,227 to 1,994,678 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 139,309 to 140,647.
There are 197,201 residents who have received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
The top providers of vaccines are the OCHCA at 26.50%, CVS at 18.30%, Walgreens at 6.10%, Kaiser Permanente at 5.50%, UC Irvine Health at 2.80%; Walmart at 1.90%, Safeway, Vons and Pavilions at 1.20%; Families Together of Orange County at 1.10%, and multiple others below 1%.
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%, according to data released Tuesday. The county's Health Equity Quartile positivity rate – which measures progress in low-income communities -- dropped from 3.8% to 3.1%.
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