Orange County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations ticked up Wednesday, increasing to 216 from 210 on Tuesday, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

The number of those patients in intensive care declined from 55 to 52.

The county also reported 341 new cases of COVID-19 but just one additional death, which occurred in September.

The county had 22.8% of its intensive care unit beds available and 68% of its ventilators.

Wednesday’s numbers brought the county’s cumulative totals to 309,769 cases and 5,653 fatalities since the pandemic began.

Orange County’s averages for infections have remained about the same as last week, according to the latest weekly data released Tuesday by the OCHCA.

The county’s weekly COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 residents remained at 7.3, the same as last Tuesday, while the test-positivity rate stayed at 2.8%.

The county’s Health Equity Quartile positivity rate — which measures progress in low-income communities — inched down from 3% to 2.9%.

The death reported Wednesday occurred on Sept. 16, raised that month’s death toll to 172, just behind August’s toll of 174.

November’s death toll remains at three with October’s death toll at 82.

In contrast, the death toll before the more contagious Delta variant-fueled summer surge was 30 in July, 19 for June, 26 for May, 46 for April, 200 for March, 615 for February, 1,589 for January — the deadliest month of the pandemic — and 980 for December, the next-deadliest.

Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told City News Service on Tuesday that the county’s infection rates are “pretty flat” as of now. But Noymer expects a rise in cases as the temperatures drop.

“There’s going to be more this winter,” Noymer said. “People forget how bad last winter was, but this winter will be worse than last summer, but not as bad as last winter.”

Last winter, the county’s hospitals were nearly full.

The number of fully vaccinated residents in Orange County increased from 2,190,754 on Nov. 4 to 2,200,493 as of last Wednesday.

That number includes an increase from 2,045,291 to 2,053,496 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 145,463 to 146,997.

There are 189,201 residents who have received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

The top dispensers of COVID-19 vaccines as of Nov. 8, the latest figures available, are:

–The OCHCA, 26%;

–CVS, 19%;

–Walgreens, 6%;

–Kaiser Permanente, 5%;

–UCI Health, 3% and;

–Walmart, 2%.

Since children ages 5 to 11 were authorized to receive the Pfizer vaccine earlier this month, nearly 7,780 doses overall have been administered, officials said.

As of last Monday, 69% of the total population had received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, and 64% were fully vaccinated, according to Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, the county’s deputy health officer.

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