The Orange County Health Care Agency Monday reported one more COVID-19 fatality, raising the region’s death toll to 1,287, along with an uptick in hospitalizations.

According to the HCA, hospitalizations increased from 155 Sunday to 168 Monday, with the number of patients in intensive care jumping up from 47 to 53. The change in 3-day average hospitalized patients stands at -7.1%.

The county has 34% of its intensive care unit beds and 38% of its ventilators available.

The latest reported death involved a skilled nursing facility resident. Since the pandemic began, 463 skilled nursing facility residents and 89 residents of assisted living facilities have succumbed to the virus.

The HCA on Monday reported 120 newly confirmed coronavirus cases, hiking the cumulative case total to 54,760.

According to HCA data, 900,010 COVID-19 tests have been conducted, including 3,393 reported Monday. There have been 48,923 documented recoveries.

Orange County CEO Frank Kim said Friday he was watching the numbers carefully. He said he was “concerned” that daily case rates crept upward last week, going above the 200 mark on Friday.

“I want to see those numbers smaller… The general trend is a slow, steady rise in caseloads. We’re not seeing any significant particular industry sector that is causing it. It’s generally throughout the community.”

One of the thorniest problems is young adults renting out vacation residences for parties, according to Kim.

The positivity rate, which is reported each Tuesday, stands at 3.1%, the same as the week before, but the daily case rate per 100,000 people went up from 3.6 to 4.4, which is higher than the cutoff of 3.9 to qualify for a move from the red to the orange tier in the state’s coronavirus monitoring system.

“We’ve had a few days of uptick in numbers, small but significant to affect our tier system,” Dr. Clayton Chau, the director of the OCHCA and the county’s chief health officer, said last week.

Students returning to school don’t appear to have been an issue, according to Dr. Matthew Zahn, the medical director of the county’s communicable disease control division.

“At this point, we see really minimal activity,” Zahn said last week. “What we’ve seen so far is quite encouraging.”

County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett has said there is concern about a seesawing back and forth between the red and orange tiers because if the county has to step back a tier, that locks it into place for at least three weeks even if the metrics match a less-restrictive tier.

State officials were expected on Friday to announce new guidelines for mass gatherings, but did not do so. The mass gatherings include theme parks, concerts and sporting events. The expectation was that those types of activities will not be allowed until a county moves up to the least restrictive tier of yellow, which could take months.

Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel has criticized the state for “dragging its feet” on issuing reopening guidelines for theme parks like Disneyland in Anaheim and Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park.

“We need these parks to reopen not for our children and tourists but our businesses and communities that rely on them,” Steel said. “I am disappointed at the lack of progress California has made in this and every other area while other governments have made safe reopenings of their theme parks. California continues to delay and this has resulted in the loss of 28,000 jobs… All of this could have been avoided.”

To qualify for the orange tier, the positivity rate must be 2% – 4%, and the case rate per 100,000 must be 1% – 3.9%.

Moving to the orange tier means retail businesses could operate at full capacity, instead of 50% as required in the red tier. Shopping malls could also operate at full capacity, but with closed common areas and reduced food courts, just as in the red tier.

The orange tier boosts capacity for churches, restaurants, movies, museums, zoos and aquariums from 25% capacity to half capacity. Gyms and fitness centers could boost capacity from 10% to 25% and reopen pools.

The orange tier also allows family entertainment centers like bowling alleys and wall-climbing to open indoors at 25% capacity.

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