Orange County officials plan to update their coronavirus numbers Tuesday after saying last week that they reached their goal of at least partially vaccinating 70% of the county’s adult population by Independence Day.
In the most recent update on Friday, the Orange County Health Care Agency reported 74 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death, bringing the county’s totals to 256,445 cases and 5,123 fatalities since the pandemic began.
There were 63 people in OC hospitals with the virus, with 12 of those patients in intensive care.
As of Wednesday — the most recent statistics available — the county had 1,779,309 fully vaccinated residents. Of those, 1,663,883 received both doses and 244,757 had received one shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, which require two doses. Another 115,426 people have received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“Vaccination has proven to be a vital component in reducing test positivity rates in our county over the last several months,” said Dr. Clayton Chau, the OCHCA director and chief health officer.
“Since the reopening of our state on June 15, with many people no longer wearing masks or physically distancing, we’ve seen a slight increase in our seven-day positivity rate from 0.9% to 1.1% in the lowest HPI quartile areas. Of most interest is the fact that over 90% of new positive cases were among people who are not fully vaccinated. In fact, over 95% of persons hospitalized with COVID-19 had not been fully vaccinated. We know the vaccines work. We are continuing to offer them to our community and encourage everyone who are not vaccinated to do so.”
The county’s Health Equity Quartile rate, which measures positivity in hot spots in disadvantaged communities, climbed from 0.7% to 1.1% last week.
Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, deputy county health officer, warned residents about the newer, more contagious strains such as the Delta variant.
“We know that other parts of the world are experiencing a new surge in COVID cases, often related to the Delta strain, which has been found to be highly transmissible,” Chinsio-Kwong said. “In recent weeks, the Delta strain represents an increasing proportion of positive tests in the US, California, as well as in Orange County. Studies have shown that current COVID-19 vaccines are also effective against the Delta strain, as well as other variants. This is another reason why we are encouraging people to get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so.”
Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner said it was “great” that the county reached its vaccination goal and commented that the county’s latest statistics appear to be “holding well.”
Wagner added, however, that he is being “told not to worry about a resurgence and the Delta variant, et cetera, but it’s out there and I know we’re keeping an eye on it.”
The county recently stopped reporting data daily and on weekends and now just issues updates once a week.
“I don’t endorse that,” Andrew Noymer, a UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told City News Service. “It wouldn’t kill them to print daily numbers. I think it should still be daily.”