Orange County COVID-19 hospitalizations remained relatively flat since last week as 15 more fatalities were logged, according to recently released data by the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 declined from 176 on Friday to 169 on Monday, with the number of patients in intensive care inching up from 56 to 57, according to the OCHCA, which does not update statistics on Saturdays or Sundays.
The county also added 1,443 new infections over the three-day period, raising the cumulative to 315,186, and the fatalities hiked the death toll to 5,771. Two of the fatalities, however, actually happened in December of last year and there have been no fatalities recorded for this month so far.
Of the fatalities logged on Monday, a dozen occurred in November, raising that month’s death toll to 59. One happened in October, raising that month’s death toll to 114.
September’s death toll stands at 188, ahead of August’s death toll of 177.
In contrast, the death toll before the more contagious Delta variant-fueled summer surge was 31 in July, 19 for June, 26 for May, 46 for April, 200 for March, 616 for February.
January remains the deadliest month of the pandemic with a death toll of 1,593, ahead of December 2020, the next deadliest at 984.
The county has 22.9% of its ICU beds and 71% of its ventilators available as of Monday, according to the county.
The county’s weekly COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 residents declined last Tuesday from 6.9 to 6.1, while the rate of people testing positive for the virus ticked down from 2.7% to 2.4%.
The county’s Health Equity Quartile positivity rate — which measures progress in low-income communities — inched down from 3% to 2.8%. The statistics are updated on Tuesdays.
The county’s case rate per 100,000 for the fully vaccinated was at 2.6 as of Nov. 27, down from 2.9 on Nov. 20, according to the latest data available. The case rate for the unvaccinated was at 12.7, down from 15.1, during the same time period.
The number of fully vaccinated residents in Orange County increased from 2,229,621 as of Nov. 24 to 2,242,235 as of Thursday.
That number includes an increase from 2,080,656 to 2,093,447 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 stands at 148,788.
Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, the county deputy health officer, said vaccinations have been picking up some velocity of late.
“As of Nov. 29, 513,000 either received a booster or an extra dose,” Chinsio-Kwong said. “We did see a pickup of vaccination following the Thanksgiving holiday.”
On Thursday, 23,000 doses were dispensed, “which is really assuring,” she said.
About 4,000 kids 5 to 11 years old received a dose on Thursday, she said. About 16% of those 5 to 11 years old have received at least one dose, the doctor said.
“So far, a good chunk of that is being done at pharmacies,” she said. “I’m really happy to see we did see a rise in demand for vaccines following the Thanksgiving holiday.”
Meanwhile, starting this week, John Wayne Airport travelers will be able to get free COVID-19 test kits, officials announced.
Public health professionals have been encouraging all travelers to get tested in the hopes it will catch more infected people who can quarantine and help curb the spread of the virus.
“This is another example of the important work we have been doing throughout these past two years to protect our community during COVID,” County Supervisor Andrew Do said.
The tests will be available at the airport starting Wednesday.