Orange County Health Care Agency officials Monday reported 1,028 new coronavirus cases, the most ever, but some infections date back to June 18 due to a backlog of reporting from the state.
Just two of the newly reported cases involved skilled nursing facilities, so nearly all were from community spread. There were no new deaths reported, so the death toll stands at 366.
Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said it would appear that the events that likely led to such a marked increase in spread of the infection were Memorial Day weekend gatherings and protests stemming from the George Floyd killing in Minnesota.
On June 18, there were six specimens that led to COVID-19 positive diagnoses, but by June 24 there were 125. The number steadily climbed to 196 on June 26 and then trended down again.
“That would be the incubation period,” Bartlett said of the two- to three-week incubation period for the virus before symptoms emerge. “How do you go from one week you’ve got two and a week later 159? There’s something that was a trigger point to have that kind of an increase and those are dates the specimen was collected, which makes sense when they’re getting sick two or three weeks out.”
Bartlett also noted that most of the people getting sick are young adults and those in their 30s and 40s. The elderly, who are among the highest age group for COVID fatalities, “are getting it from younger folks, who are spreading it, and that’s a significant problem,” she said.
The county has logged 17,882 total coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. Of those, 1,220 were from skilled nursing facilities, 410 were from the county’s jails, and 111 were transients.
Of those who died, 191 were from skilled nursing facilities, 14 were from assisted living facilities and two were transients.
The number of hospitalized patients in Orange County rose from 624 Sunday to 634 on Monday, with the number of patients in intensive care rising from 197 to 203.
County officials reported that they have performed 270,659 COVID-19 tests, with 8,634 documented recoveries.
The new numbers came as most county beaches reopened after closing for the Fourth of July weekend to prevent further spread of the virus.
The county’s case and hospitalization rate has kept it on the state’s watch list, which will prolong the county from reopening inside dining at restaurants and bars, among other businesses that were closed to help tamp down the surge of infections.
The county has a case rate of 216.7 per 100,000 residents, much higher than the state’s preferred threshold of 25 per 100,000. The rate of testing positive for COVID-19 is 13.8%, higher than the state threshold of 8%.
The county has 41.6% of its intensive care unit beds available, which is better than the state standard of 20%, and the percent of ventilators available is 66.1, higher than the state’s threshold of 25%.
The change in the three-day average of increased hospitalized patients is 10.1%, which is just a shade over the 10% state standard.
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