The number of COVID-positive patients in Orange County hospitals has dropped to levels not seen since July, according to data released Monday by the Orange County Health Care Agency.
Patient levels fell from 150 on Saturday to 139 Sunday, according to the latest data available. The number of intensive care unit patients ticked up from 28 to 31.
The last time hospital levels were this low was July 20, a time when the Delta variant kick-started a surge that ended up rolling into the Omicron-variant winter surge.
The new case rate per 100,000 people decreased from 6.5 Friday to 5.7 on Monday, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency, which does not report COVID data on weekends. The testing positivity rate ticked down from 2.9% to 2.6%, and ticked down from 3.5% to 3.2% in the health equity quartile, which measures underserved communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
The county had 32.4% of its ICU beds available and 65.5% of its ventilators as of Monday. Local health officials become concerned when the level of ICU beds falls below 20%.
Of those hospitalized, approximately 83% are unvaccinated and 86% of those being treated in ICU are not inoculated, according to the OCHCA.
The county logged 855 new positive cases, raising the cumulative to 543,432, and 38 more fatalities, boosting the overall death toll to 6,778.
Of the fatalities logged Monday, six were this month, increasing March’s death toll to eight. Another 26 happened last month, increasing February’s death toll to 256. Six happened in January, raising that month’s death toll to 523.
December’s death toll stands at 108, November’s at 115, October’s at 136, September’s at 200 and August’s at 186.
January 2021 was the deadliest month of the pandemic, with a death toll of 1,600, ahead of December 2020, the next-deadliest with 986 people lost to the virus.
The case rate per 100,000 people decreased from 7.2 Feb. 26 to 4.6 March 5 for those fully vaccinated with a booster shot; from 5.9 to 4.6 for those fully vaccinated with no booster; and 12.2 to 8 for those not fully vaccinated.
The number of fully vaccinated residents in Orange County rose from 2,437,965 last week to 2,441,941, according to data released Thursday. That number includes an increase from 2,281,901 to 2,285,767 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 156,064 to 156,174. Booster shots increased from 1,207,236 to 1,217,204.
In the most recently eligible age group of 5 to 11 years old, the number of children vaccinated increased from 82,166 to 83,724, versus 184,856 who have not been vaccinated. It’s the least vaccinated age group in Orange County. The next-worst vaccinated eligible age group is 25 to 34, with 323,383 inoculated and 136,013 who have not received a shot.
The age group that has received the most booster shots is 55 to 64.