Orange County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations continued to fall Monday, reaching levels not seen since late July.
Hospitalizations dropped from 210 on Friday to 175 on Monday, with the number of intensive care unit patients declining from 39 to 34, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency, which does not update statistics on Saturdays and Sundays.
The county had 25.3% of its ICU beds available and 72% of its ventilators.
“The numbers look really good,” Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told City News Service Monday. “I am pleased to see hospitalizations below 200.
“Things are moving in the right direction in terms of everything. We’re in a good patch now. This is the power of the vaccines. I can’t guarantee this will be permanent. Last year, the low point of transmission was around Halloween and then things god bad. But it’s true this year we have a vaccine and we’re not expecting a wave like last winter… I don’t think we’re out of it yet.”
Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, the county’s deputy county health officer, said the number of children in intensive care at Children’s Hospital of Orange County dropped from six on Friday to none as of Monday.
The county also reported 666 new infections since Friday and logged 10 more deaths, raising the cumulative totals to 301,854 cases and 5,528 deaths since the pandemic began.
Of the deaths reported Monday, four occurred this month, raising October’s death toll to six.
The remainder occurred in September, raising the death toll for last month to 143. The death toll for August stands at 168.
In contrast, the death toll before the more contagious Delta variant-fueled surge was 28 in July, 19 for June, 26 for May, 46 for April, 199 for March, 615 for February, 1,585 for January — the deadliest month of the pandemic — and 976 for December, the next deadliest.
Most of those who died in September were unvaccinated. The same trend is true for those who are hospitalized, Chinsio-Kwong said.
Chinsio-Kwong again encouraged residents to get flu and COVID-19 shots, stressing it is safe to get both.
“Flu is around the corner — technically it’s already here,” she said. “It’s between October and May and we’ll see a spike in November.”
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials are projecting a “more severe flu season compared with last season” because, “many people were not exposed to the flu last season or did not get vaccinated. The last thing you want to do is deal with COVID as well as the flu.”