OC COVID-19 Metrics Remain Relatively Stable

People with COVID-19 sound use COVID antigen test kits to check for infection so they can be treated if they're positive. And if the test result is negative, it's safe.

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SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County's COVID-19 metrics remained relatively stable again this week, but with 32 more fatalities have been logged, according to data released Thursday by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Hospitalizations of COVID-19 infected patients have been going up and down since a steady rise ended on Dec. 7. Last Thursday there were 348 patients, and that number fell to 315 as of Saturday, but it has been on the rise since then with 352 recorded as of Wednesday. The number of patients in intensive care has dropped from 34 last Thursday to 30 as of Wednesday.

"I was pleased to see ICU numbers down week on week," Andrew Noymer, a UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told City News Service.

"I'm pleased to see hospitalization is essentially stable. It's bouncing up and down, but it's still in the 300s," Noymer said.

The epidemiologist noted, however, that a new strain of Omicron -- XBB -- has started surfacing in  Orange County and that variant is more vaccine evasive.

"Whether or not that drives a major wave remains to be seen," Noymer said. "That's something I'm keeping an eye on."

The agency logged 32 more fatalities, increasing the overall death toll to 7,706. All but three of the fatalities occurred last month, increasing December's death toll to 75. Three of the fatalities occurred in November, increasing that month's death toll to 45.

Of those hospitalized in the county, 64.4% are unvaccinated or partly vaccinated. The ICU patients are 65.8% partly or unvaccinated.

The number of residents fully vaccinated increased from 2,363,227 to 2,363,581. The number of residents who have received at least one dose is 223,392. The number of booster shots administered increased from 1,435,527 to 1,437,959.

The number of children up to 4 years old who have received at least one dose inched up from 17,546 to 17,700, with 10,454 fully vaccinated. Just 5.6% of the county's population in the age group is fully vaccinated.

For 5- to 11-year-old children, 97,203 are fully vaccinated, about 36.7% of the age group. In the 12-to-17 age group, 69.7% are fully vaccinated.

The test positivity rate went from 13% to 15.1% and decreased from 13.7% to 13.6% in the health equity quartile, which measures the communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

The daily case rate per 100,000 decreased from  14.1 to 13.7 on a seven-day average with a seven-day lag, and went from 15 to 15.1 in the adjusted daily case rate per 100,000 on a seven-day average with a seven-day lag.

The OCHCA reports COVID data every Thursday.

The county logged 3,195 new cases of COVID-19, hiking the cumulative to 700,624.

The positivity rate for those fully vaccinated with a booster, which was 17.9 on Dec. 25, remained the same on Jan. 1. For those vaccinated with no booster, the rate went from 9.7 to 10.4. For those not vaccinated the rate went from 13.6 to 14.4.

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