With a promise of delivery of 16,000 doses of vaccine on Tuesday, Orange County officials Monday moved up the opening of a new distribution site at the Anaheim Convention Center for Tuesday.
Officials had planned to open the new vaccination site at the convention center on Wednesday, but moved it up when the state said Orange County would get 16,000 doses of Moderna vaccine, said Orange County CEO Frank Kim.
“When the state indicated they were going to drop our weekly allocation tomorrow we felt comfortable using what vaccine we had on hand tomorrow,” Kim said.
The county was running out of vaccines due to delays in delivery stemming from winter storms on the East Coast and Midwest.
Orange County on Monday also continued its march from purple to the less restrictive red tier, due to decreasing coronavirus cases, which will allow for the reopening more businesses, as 253 new COVID-19 cases and logged 38 more deaths were reported.
The cumulative case count stands at 244,885 and the death toll rose to 3,848.
Hospitalizations continued a downward trend, dropping from 577 Sunday to 556 Monday, with the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care dropping from 190 to 179, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The county has 15.9% of its ICU beds available and 59% of its ventilators.
The daily test positivity rate was 5.4% on Monday, the equity rate for minority residents in hot spots, was at 7%, and the case rate per 100,000 was at 11.7, Kim said.
“Those are good numbers,” Kim told City News Service. “That would get us access to a lot of sports that a lot of the community wants… We’re not at the red tier yet, but we’re going down about one point a day.”
There has also been a dip in demand for COVID-19 testing, Kim said.
“There’s been a reduction in the amount of people seeking testing,” Kim said. “It’s not that we’re testing at a low rate, but if you see a decline in cases and testing that tells you there aren’t a lot of cases because they move in parallel.”
Of the 38 deaths reported Monday, eight were skilled nursing facility residents and three were assisted living facility residents, hiking the death tolls among those populations to 948 and 431, respectively.
The death reports are staggered because they come from a variety of sources and are not always logged immediately.
January was the deadliest month in the pandemic with a death toll of 1,195. That beat the previous record from December, which now has a death toll of 879. Nearly 54% of the county’s deaths during the pandemic occurred in December and January.
February’s death toll is 70.
The county’s test positivity rate was 7.8% and the adjusted case rate per 100,000 was 20.7. The Health Equity Quartile Positivity Rate, which reflects the rates in lower-income minority neighborhood hot spots, was at 10.7%.
To get to the red tier, the county has to have a case rate per 100,000 of 4 to 7, positivity rate of 5 to 8% and a Health Equity Quartile rate of 5.3 to 8%. These metrics are updated every Tuesday.
The county reported 5,125 tests, raising the total to 2,967,884.
The only vaccine distribution point open on Monday was the one at Soka University in Aliso Viejo. On Tuesday, Soka University, Anaheim Convention Center and a mobile clinic will be open for vaccines.
Starting this week, the county will allocate 70% of its vaccines for residents 65 and older and the rest for new categories of workers now made eligible for shots by the state. They include teachers, child care providers and food industry workers.
“This change to eligibility guidelines will mean a slower vaccine rollout for individuals who are currently eligible under Phase 1a and people age 65 and older,” Chau said in a memo to county officials on Friday.
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