SANTA ANA (CNS) — Orange County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and infection rates rose steadily as four more deaths were recorded this month, according to data released Friday by the Orange County Health Care Agency.
Hospital admissions rose to 139 on Thursday from 129 on Tuesday, with the number of patients in intensive care falling from 18 to 17 over the same period.
what you need to know
- The county has 26% of its ICU beds, well above the 20% level if officials are concerned
- Some of these hospital cases may be what officials describe as “incidental” because they involve patients who were treated for another illness and tested positive
- The test positivity rate rose to 6.2% on Friday from 5.5% on Tuesday
- The county recorded 2,973 more infections Tuesday through Thursday, bringing the cumulative case count to 569,375
The county has 26% of its ICU beds, well above the 20% level if officials are concerned.
“It’s more of the same, but nowhere near the number of 200[patients]that I would call a full-blown wave of hospitalizations,” Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told the City News Service .
Some of these hospital cases may be what officials describe as “incidental” because they involve patients who were treated for another illness and tested positive. How high the ratio is was unclear.
Noymer told CNS that the numbers in the intensive care unit had not increased significantly.
“ICU is still low, which is important and suggests that some of these (hospitalizations) may be random (cases).”
Noymer expressed concern about the infection rate.
The test positivity rate rose to 6.2% on Friday from 5.5% on Tuesday.
“That’s too high,” he said. “We have another small wave and I expect it will build a little more before it peaks.”
Noymer advised residents to play it safe over Memorial Day weekend.
“I would tell outdoor gatherings with test kits at home before attending, especially if there are elderly people present or sharing a household with (a vulnerable person),” Noymer said. “And masking indoors, especially if it’s an activity that doesn’t benefit from being unmasked.”
The rate rose from 2.4% to 2.9% in the health equity quartile, which measures the communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
The daily rate of cases per 100,000 residents in Orange County rose from 18.3 on Tuesday to 21.5 for the seven-day average with a seven-day lag and from 13.7 to 15.9 for the adjusted rate with a seven-day average and a seven-day delay.
The county recorded 2,973 more infections Tuesday through Thursday, bringing the cumulative case count to 569,375. The four newly logged deaths bring the total death toll to 7,034.
According to OCHCA, 83.4% of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated and 86.7% of ICU patients are unvaccinated.
The death toll in May rose to 10, while the death toll last month was 30, March 86, February 330, January 554 and December 115.
The case rate per 100,000 residents for fully vaccinated residents who received a booster shot rose to 24.6 on May 21 from 21.4 on May 14, the latest available data shows. The case rate for fully vaccinated residents without a booster shot increased from 12.9 to 15.1 and the case rate for not fully vaccinated residents increased from 19.4 to 22.5.
The number of vaccines administered in Orange County rose to 2,315,464 from 2,313,029 last week, according to Tuesday’s data.
That number includes an increase from 2,172,777 to 2,175,562 residents who received the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccination schedule.
The number of residents who received Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine fell to 139,902 from 140,252 as officials continue to adjust to a new accounting of vaccinations administered in the state’s counties.
Refresher shots increased from 1,279,272 to 1,283,905.
In the last admitted age group of 5 to 11 years, the number of vaccinated children increased from 90,557 to 90,917 versus 177,663 who were not vaccinated. It is the least vaccinated age group in Orange County.