Orange County's COVID-19 Trends Show Slowdown in Infections


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SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County's COVID-19 infections are continuing a gradual downtrend, according to the most recent data.

The case rate declined from 7.2 per 100,000 residents on Friday to 7 as of Monday, county CEO Frank Kim said. The test positivity rate was 2.8% on Friday and 2.7% as of Monday, Kim added.

“So everything came down about a tenth-of a point. It's nothing remarkable but we're seeing a continued gradual decline,'' Kim told City News Service on Monday.

Hospitalizations are also trending down, with 215 patients and 47 in intensive care as of Sunday, according to the state Department of Public Health. The Orange County Health Care Agency on Friday recorded 223 hospitalized, with 47 in ICU.

No new data was released Monday by the OCHCA because of the holiday. The agency also does not report new data on Saturdays or Sundays.

On Friday, the county 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 official cumulative death toll was 5,475 as of Friday, according to the OC HCA.

Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, deputy county health officer, said Friday that the vast majority of September's fatalities were among unvaccinated people. The victims are also trending younger than previous surges, she added.

In September, 45% of those who died were younger than 65, and 97% were unvaccinated, she said.

“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 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 last Tuesday. The county's Health Equity Quartile positivity rate -- which measures progress in low-income communities -- dropped from 3.8% to 3.1%.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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