SANTA ANA, Calif. (CNS) — Orange County's COVID-19 hospitalizations fell by more than a dozen patients from Friday while five more fatalities were logged, according to data released Monday by the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 fell from 219 on Friday to 204 on Monday, with the number of patients in intensive care ticking down from 57 to 54, according to the OCHCA, which does not update statistics on Saturdays and Sundays.
The county had 22.9% of its intensive care unit beds available and 69% of its ventilators.
The county logged 705 new COVID-19 infections over the three-day period, raising the cumulative to 309,245. The five fatalities hiked up the cumulative death toll to 5,648.
Of the five fatalities, four occurred last month, raising October's death toll to 82. One of the fatalities happened this month, raising November's death toll to two.
The death toll in September stands at 170, close behind August's toll of 173.
In contrast, the death toll before the more contagious delta variant-fueled surge was 30 in July, 19 for June, 26 for May, 46 for April, 200 for March, 615 for February, 1,588 for January — the deadliest month of the pandemic — and 980 now for December, the next-deadliest.
Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told new sources that the county's infection rates are "pretty flat" as of now. But Noymer expects a rise in cases as the temperatures drop.
"There's going to be more this winter," Noymer said. "People forget how bad last winter was, but this winter will be worse than last summer, but not as bad as last winter."
Last winter, the county's hospitals were nearly full.
The number of fully vaccinated residents in Orange County increased from 2,190,754 Nov. 4 to 2,200,493 as of Wednesday.
That number includes an increase from 2,045,291 to 2,053,496 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 145,463 to 146,997.
There are 189,201 residents who have received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
About 3,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered Tuesday for the newly eligible ages of 5 to 11, the county's deputy county health officer recently told reporters.
Since those ages were authorized to receive the Pfizer vaccine earlier this month, nearly 7,780 doses overall have been administered.
"So seeing 3,000 on a Tuesday is really good," Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong said on Wednesday.
The top dispensers of COVID-19 vaccines as of Nov. 8, the latest figures available, are:
- The OC HCA, 26%
- CVS, 19%
- Walgreens, 6%
- Kaiser Permanente, 5%
- UCI Health, 3%
- Walmart, 2%
As of last Monday, 69% of the total population had received at least one dose, and 64% are fully vaccinated, Chinsio-Kwong said. When considering just eligible age groups 5 and older, 73% received at least one dose and 68% are fully vaccinated, she added.
Children age 5 to 11 represent 8% of the county's population, Chinsio-Kwong said.
The infection rate has been trending down among the vaccinated and unvaccinated, according to the most recent data from the OCHCA.
The case rate per 100,000 unvaccinated residents was 17.5 as of Oct. 30, but was down to 17 as of Nov. 6, the latest data available. For fully vaccinated residents it was 3.6 as of Oct. 30, and 3.3 as of Nov. 6.
The county's weekly COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 residents increased from 7.2 to 7.3 as of last Tuesday, while the test-positivity rate ticked up from 2.5% to 2.8%.
The county's Health Equity Quartile positivity rate — which measures progress in low-income communities — increased from 2.4% to 3%.