Orange County’s COVID-19 Hospitalizations, Case Rate Continue to Drop

Orange County’s COVID-19 Hospitalizations, Case Rate Continue to Drop

SANTA ANA—Orange County reported 739 new cases of COVID-19 and 33 additional deaths Feb. 6, bringing the county’s totals to 237,077 cases and 3,312 fatalities.

The number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals continued its downward trend, declining from 1,233 on Feb. 5 to 1,164, but the number of patients in intensive care increased from 342 to 347, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA).

Orange County’s test positivity rate was 10.9 percent and its adjusted case rate per 100,000 population was at 39.

The county’s state-adjusted intensive care unit (ICU) bed availability remains at zero, and the unadjusted figure dropped from 11.1 percent Feb. 5 to 9.6 percent, the same as Feb.4.

The state created the adjusted metric to reflect the difference in beds available for COVID-19 patients and non-coronavirus patients. The county has 53 percent of its ventilators available.

The OCHCA also reported 18,824 tests Feb. 6, bringing the total to 2,767,050. There have been 197,272 documented recoveries.

Despite the positive trends with case and positivity rates, Orange County chief executive Frank Kim said Feb. 5 he is nervous about Super Bowl weekend leading to another spike.

“I’m worried about the Super Bowl,” Kim said. “The concern is that the governor has lifted the stay-at-home order and there’s a general sense of euphoria seeing older relatives and family members getting vaccines, so there’s a sense of safety we haven’t felt in a long time.”

Kim said some younger adults might let their guard down and “go out and interact in unsafe ways during Super Bowl weekend, and I would hate to see us have a spike.”

Hospitals are stepping up vaccinations as the number of patients has gone down, Kim said.

“Why are they able to do that? Because the hospital bed census is coming down,” he said. “We could lose an important teammate, an ally in the vaccination efforts [if there is a spike], and we can’t have that. We need to build on the momentum that has been hard-fought since the holidays started in

One of the deaths reported Feb. 6 was a resident of an assisted living facility. Since the pandemic began, 360 residents of assisted living facilities have died, as have 858 residents of skilled nursing facilities.

The death reports are staggered because they come from a variety of sources and are not always logged immediately.

Outbreaks—defined as two or more confirmed cases over the past two weeks—have gone down in the county’s nursing homes. As of Feb. 3, there were 19 outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities and 28 elderly assisted living facilities.

The county’s Health Equity Quartile Positivity Rate, which measures the cases in highly affected, needier parts of the county, declined from 16.6 percent last week to 13.9 percent.

To move to the less-restrictive red tier from the top purple tier in the state’s coronavirus regulatory system, the county has to improve to 4 to 7 new daily cases per 100,000 and a 5 percent to 8 percent positivity rate with a health equity quartile at 5.3 percent to 8 percent.

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