Orange County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decrease, while seven more fatalities have been logged, mostly occurring last month, according to the latest data.
Hospitalizations dropped from 230 on Tuesday to 224 on Wednesday, with the number of intensive care patients remaining at 60, health officials said.
The county has 26.2% of its ICU beds available and 68% of its ventilators, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
“I’m pleased as punch,” Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told City News Service on Wednesday.
“I don’t think we can ask for more right now. I am happy to see what we’re seeing and long may it continue. We’ve cleared that back-to-school has not uncorked a major wave with immediate effect. But I’m still worried about more waves.”
With many holidays upcoming, Noymer said, his “biggest fears are breakthrough cases increasing because of a laissez-faire attitude toward boosters.”
Noymer said Los Angeles is likely on solid legal ground requiring vaccinations for visitors to indoor businesses and events. He also said it made good sense from a public health standpoint.
“You can’t make the argument that you can’t make me get a vaccine because Pfizer is now fully approved,” Noymer said. “It makes sense from an epidemiological point of view. … We know vaccines reduce transmission.”
Vaccinated people with breakthrough infections can still shed virus, but it’s much less than for unvaccinated people over a week’s time, Noymer said.
Noymer doubted the Orange County Board of Supervisors would follow suit.
The county’s weekly case rate per 100,000 residents improved from 9.7 to 8, while the positivity rate fell from 3.4% to 2.9%, according to data released Tuesday. The county’s Health Equity Quartile positivity rate — which measures progress in low-income communities — dropped from 3.8% to 3.1%.
The OCHCA reported 384 new cases of COVID-19 and seven additional fatalities Wednesday, raising the cumulative totals to 299,123 cases and 5,454 deaths since the pandemic began.
Six of those reported deaths occurred in September, raising the month’s death toll to 90, and one was in January. The death toll in August was 157.
The death toll for July is 26, 19 for June, 26 for May, 46 for April, 199 for March, 615 for February, 1,581 for January — the deadliest month of the pandemic — and 976 for December, the next deadliest.
As of Sept. 25, the county’s new case rate per 100,000 people was 3.6 among fully vaccinated residents, and 18.1 for the unvaccinated.
The number of fully vaccinated residents in Orange County increased from 2,096,177 as of Sept. 23 to 2,115,536 on Sept. 30.
That number includes an increase from 1,958,145 to 1,976,227 of residents who have received the two-dose regimen of vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna. The number of residents receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine increased from 138,032 to 139,309.
There are 197,514 residents who have received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
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