Orange County Monday reported 179 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths as hospitalization rates continued declining.
Monday’s statistics brought the county cumulative for cases to 246,634 and boosted the death toll to 3,921. Orange County Health Care Agency officials reported technical issues with the state’s death reports system, so fatalities might be relatively low over the next several days.
The fatality reports are staggered as they come from a variety of sources. So far in January, the deadliest month of the pandemic, the county has reported 1,231 fatalities. December’s death toll stands at 883, and so far in February 103 residents have succumbed to coronavirus with the most recent report of a fatality happening on Feb. 15.
The deadliest day in the pandemic was Jan. 5 when 66 people died of COVID-19-related complications. December’s and January’s fatalities represent 54% of the coronavirus death toll since the county’s first fatality on March 19.
Hospitalizations due to the coronavirus continued to decline, dropping from 421 Sunday to 419 Monday, with the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units falling from 132 to 119.
The county has 31.1% of its ICU beds available and 63% of its ventilators, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The county’s test positivity rate — which is reported weekly — improved from 7.8% the previous week to 5.4% Tuesday, and the adjusted case rate per 100,000 on a seven-day average with a seven-day lag improved from 20.7 to 11.9.
The Health Equity Quartile Positivity Rate, which reflects the rates in lower-income and minority neighborhood hot spots, improved from 10.7% to 7%.
The OCHCA reported 5,435 tests Monday for a total of 3,048,845.
OC officials think the county might reach all of the metrics required to exit the most-restrictive purple tier of the state’s re-opening framework this week. To move up to a less-restrictive tier, a county must stay within those metrics for at least two weeks.
To get to the red tier, the county has to have a case rate per 100,000 population of 4 to 7, a positivity rate of 5% to 8% and a Health Equity Quartile rate of 5.3% to 8%. The metrics are updated every Tuesday.
The red tier allows for many more businesses and organizations to reopen. For instance, retail stores could allow for half capacity instead of 25%, and museums, zoos and aquariums could reopen for indoor activities at 25% capacity. Also, movie theaters, gyms and restaurants could open indoors at 25% capacity.
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