Orange County’s COVID-19 infection rates are on the rise as are hospitalization rates, a potential fallout from the Thanksgiving holiday, Orange County CEO Frank Kim said.
The case rates per 100,000 residents increased from 5.8 a week ago to 7 as of Wednesday, Kim said on Wednesday. The test positivity rate increased from 2.6 to 3.4, he added.
“There’s a bump we’re seeing, and a corresponding bump in hospitalizations,” since Thanksgiving, Kim said. “Hopefully it doesn’t get much worse than this and it is fairly mild.”
Still, the pace of infections and hospitalizations are manageable, Kim said.
“When I talk to the hospital systems they say it’s manageable,” Kim said.
The county’s weekly COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 residents increased from 6.1 to 6.4, while the rate of people testing positive for the virus increased from to 2.4% to 3.3%, according to the data that is released on Tuesdays.
The county’s Health Equity Quartile positivity rate — which measures progress in low-income communities — increased from 2.8% to 3.3%.
The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 jumped from 163 Tuesday to 183 Wednesday, with the number of patients in intensive care climbing from 53 to 57, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The county also reported 283 new infections and 13 additional deaths associated with the virus Wednesday, raising its cumulative totals to 315,775 cases and 5,796 deaths.
One of those fatalities dates back to January. Six of the fatalities occurred in November, raising last month’s death toll to 66. Four fatalities occurred in October, raising that month’s death toll to 124.
One happened in September, raising that month’s death toll to 192, and another in August, raising its death toll to 179.
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 and 617 for February.
January 2021 remains the deadliest month of the pandemic with a death toll of 1,594, ahead of December 2020, the next deadliest at 984.
The county has 22.9% of its ICU beds and 69% of its ventilators available, according to the OCHCA.