Orange County reported 1,251 new cases of COVID-19 and nine more deaths Saturday, bringing the county’s totals to 23,901 cases and 421 fatalities.
Six of the nine deaths reported Saturday were residents of skilled nursing facilities and three were people who did not live in a care facility, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
Of the county’s total cases, 1,315 are residents of skilled nursing facilities, 422 are jail inmates, and 119 are people experiencing homelessness, officials said.
Of the county’s total coronavirus deaths, 212 were residents of skilled nursing facilities, 15 were residents of assisted-living facilities, and two were homeless.
The number of hospitalized patients dropped from 672 Friday to 671, but the number of patients in intensive care rose from 227 to 231.
The county has reported 303,201 coronavirus tests to date, with 9,982 documented recoveries.
The county’s recent rise in infections was expected as officials relaxed restrictions on economic activity, Orange County CEO Frank Kim said earlier this week, while noting there has been a significant rise in infections in young adults.
“One of the interesting or concerning dynamics we’ve seen in the positivity rate over the last several weeks is we’ve seen this rise in new infections in the younger population, 17 to 24 and 24 to 34,” Kim said.
Infections in those age groups has raced upward “dramatically faster” recently, Kim said.
They are not necessarily requiring hospitalization at the same rate as older groups, he said, “but, obviously, they have parents and uncles out in the community,” who are also getting sick.
Dr. Clayton Chau, the Orange County Health Care Agency director and interim public health officer, said “these trends are very concerning. We can expect it to impact our health care system and get worse in the coming weeks.”
The county’s hospitals are “actively preparing” for a surge of patients, and it could mean fewer beds for patients without the virus, Chau said.
Chau implored seniors and residents with underlying health issues to “stay at home as much as possible.”
The county is on the state’s watch list, but as of Friday was only missing the standard in one category with the case rate per 100,000 residents, Kim said.
On Thursday, Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel sought to address criticism of the county’s reporting of statistics.
“It is important to note this is not unique to Orange County and, in fact, other counties across the state face similar issues” in reporting statistics that are provided by the state, Steel said.
Each day, county officials sift through data from the state to remove redundancies and then must sort the information to provide breakdowns of how the virus is affecting various demographic groups, she said.
“It takes time to go through these steps,” she said. Data continues to flow in during the day, “which can lead to further discrepancies,” she said.