Orange County’s number of coronavirus hospitalizations dropped slightly Sunday, falling from 312 Saturday to 309, with the number of COVID patients in intensive care declining from 85 to 80, according to state figures.
The county has 22.6% of its ICU beds available and 66% of its ventilators, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
On Friday, the county reported 356 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 additional deaths, bringing its totals to 295,227 cases and 5,384 fatalities since the pandemic began.
The OCHCA does not report COVID statistics on the weekend.
The 13 latest deaths consisted of 12 in August and one in December. There have been 39 coronavirus-related deaths reported this month.
The death toll for August stands at 148. That marks a stark contrast with the rest of the summer. The death toll for July was 22, with 19 in June, 23 in May, 46 in April, 199 in March, 615 in February, 1,580 in January — the deadliest month of the pandemic — and 976 in December, the next deadliest.
Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, deputy county health officer, said 94% of the people who died in August were unvaccinated.
Without vaccines the death toll from this summer’s surge, which was fueled by the more contagious Delta variant, would have been higher, Chinsio-Kwong said.
“We could have been losing more people to Delta if we didn’t have the vaccination rates we have,” she said.
Chinsio-Kwong noted that the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has surpassed the death toll from the 1918-20 Spanish flu pandemic, which occurred when the U.S. population was about 106 million, slightly less than one-third of the 2020 figure of 331 million.
“In this day and age we expect with all the advances in technology and in medicine that we wouldn’t have such a devastating pandemic with such a devastating amount of people who have died,” she said.
Eight of the people who died from COVID-19 last month were vaccinated and at least 65 years old, Chinsio-Kwong said. Seven were older than 75 and one who was between 65 and 74 was in a skilled nursing facility, she added.
All Orange County residents who died from COVID-19 in September were not fully vaccinated, Chinsio-Kwong said. One had received one of two doses of Moderna vaccine and the others did not receive any doses, she added.