Orange County health officials Thursday announced 29 more COVID-19 fatalities and 369 additional coronavirus diagnoses, raising the death toll to 947 and the cumulative case total to 47,459.
Of the deaths reported Thursday, 11 were skilled nursing facility residents. Of the total death toll, 362 were skilled nursing facility residents and 59 lived in assisted living facilities.
Since Sunday, the county has reported 52 COVID-19 fatalities. Last week, 87 deaths were recorded, and the week prior saw 89 fatalities reported.
The county’s data on hospitalizations and other key metrics have been moving in the right direction, with the rate of county residents testing positive for COVID-19 at 5%, below the state’s desired threshold of 8%.
Hospitalizations dropped from 399 Wednesday to 372 on Thursday, with the number of intensive care unit patients dipping from 113 to 112.
The county’s case rate per 100,000 residents ticked up from 80.7 to 82.1, which is well above the California Department of Public Health threshold of 25 per 100,000 residents.
The county has 31% of intensive care unit beds available, which is better than the state’s 20% threshold. And the county’s hospitals have 60% of their ventilators available, well above the state standard of 25%.
The change in three-day average of hospitalized patients stands at 0.3%, much lower than the 10% state standard.
The OCHCA reported that 616,911 COVID-19 tests have been conducted, including 5,767 reported on Thursday. There have been 39,678 documented recoveries.
A new “super site” for COVID-19 testing like the one at Anaheim Convention Center opened Wednesday at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. There is no out-of-pocket cost for a test, as insurance will cover some and the county will pay for those uninsured.
Officials will prioritize testing for people with symptoms, people have come into contact with an infected person, healthcare workers, first responders, anyone who lives or works in high-density housing, and workers in essential businesses such as grocery stores and teachers.
Results will be available in one to two days. Anyone wishing to schedule a test should make a reservation through occovid.19.ochealthinfo.com/supersite.
Dr. Clayton Chau, the county’s chief health officer and director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that he was “optimistically confident” that the county will remain off the state’s watch list.
Orange County was removed from the list Sunday. The state mandates a county must be off the list for 15 days before all schools can reopen.
Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said coming off the state’s watch list does not mean the state will also reopen various businesses for indoor commerce such as personal services, shopping malls, restaurants and bars.
“I think it’s important to clarify what that means, because a lot of individuals and businesses think that once we get through this 14-day wait period that we can open everything up again,” she said.
“The only sector that can reopen is the schools,” Chau replied.
But Chau said he is “hopeful” the state will issue new guidelines soon to reopen some of the closed businesses.
Orange County could be placed back on the watch list should it be flagged for exceeding any one of six different metrics for three consecutive days. Those metrics are the case rate, the percentage of positive tests, the average number of tests a county is able to perform daily, changes in the number of hospitalized patients and the percentage of ventilators and intensive care beds available.