Hospital - Photo courtesy of Pexels

As Orange County’s COVID-19 infection rates remained steady, the number of patients in the county’s hospitals saw a notable decline as it reached levels not seen since the beginning of last July, just before the Delta variant took hold, according to data recently released by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

The county’s number of COVID patients declined from 102 on Tuesday to 89 on Wednesday, while the number of those patients in intensive care declined from 17 to 16.

On Thursday, the OCHCA reported 87 new infections and four more fatalities associated with the virus. Three of the fatalities occurred this month and one was last month.

The county’s cumulative totals rose to 546,967 cases and 6,884 deaths since the pandemic began.

The death toll for March rose to 38 and to 300 in February.

The death toll in January stands at 540, December stands at 112, 116 in November, 137 in October, 204 in September, and 187 in August.

Of those hospitalized with the virus, 84% are unvaccinated and 86% percent of those in intensive care were not inoculated, according to the OCHCA.

The county’s case rate per 100,000 people ticked up from 3.2 to 3.3. The testing positivity rate ticked up from 1.7% to 1.8%, and remained at 1.8% in the health equity quartile, which measures underserved communities hardest hit by the pandemic, the OCHCA said.

The case rate per 100,000 people for fully vaccinated residents who received a booster shot increased from 3.2 on March 19 to 3.8 on March 26, according to data released Thursday. For those fully vaccinated without a booster shot the rate went from 2.5 to 2.8. And for those not fully vaccinated the rate went from 4.2 to 4.1.

The number of fully vaccinated residents in Orange County rose from 2,446,410 last week to 2,448,788 this week, according to data released Wednesday. That number includes an increase from 2,290,047 to 2,292,327 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 156,363 to 156,461. Booster shots increased from 1,228,846 to 1,234,473.

In the most recently eligible age group of 5 to 11 years old, the number of children vaccinated increased from 85,376 to 86,022, versus 182,588, who have not been vaccinated. It’s the least vaccinated age group in Orange County.

The age group that has received the most booster shots is 55 to 64.

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