Hospital - Photo courtesy of Robert Linder on Unsplash

Orange County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and infection rates have continued a post-Omicron variant lull, but the county also logged another 24 fatalities, some of which date back to December, according to the latest data released by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

The county’s COVID-19-related hospitalizations were at 60 as of Monday and ticked up to 64 as of Thursday. The number of patients in intensive care units increased from 10 to 14. The county has 30.3% of its ICU beds available, which is well above the level of 20% when officials grown concerned.

Of those hospitalized, 83.6% are unvaccinated and the rate is at 86.4% in the ICU. The county has not seen hospitalizations this low since the end of last June before the Delta variant fueled a surge, followed by the Omicron variant upswing this winter.

The daily case rate per 100,000 was at 5.5 on a seven-day average with seven-day lag, but at 4.3 for the adjusted daily case rate. The testing positivity rate was at 2.1%, and at just 1% in the health equity quartile, which measures the communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

The county logged 655 new infections since Tuesday, raising the cumulative case count to 550,856, and 24 more fatalities, boosting the overall death toll to 6,990.

Two of the fatalities occurred this month, raising April’s death toll to 10 so far.

Another five fatalities happened in March, raising last month’s death toll to 81. Ten of the fatalities occurred in February, raising that month’s death toll to 326. Five happened in January, raising that month’s death toll to 554.

Another two fatalities occurred in December, raising that month’s death toll to 115.

The number of vaccines administered in Orange County increased from 2,286,755 last week to 2,300,191 this week, according to data updated Wednesday.

That number includes an increase from 2,145,793 to 2,158,968 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 140,962 to 141,223.

Booster shots increased from 1,256,257 to 1,269,169 this week.

In the most recently eligible age group of 5 to 11 years old, the number of children vaccinated increased from 87,610 to 88,917, versus 179,663 who have not been vaccinated. It’s the least-vaccinated age group in Orange County.

Orange County CEO Frank Kim told City News Service last week that the level of vaccinations actually went down that week due to a change in the way the state is accounting for the data, but it’s not entirely clear why there has been a fluctuation in the data.

But officials suspect it may have to do with an improved accounting of how many people were inoculated in Orange County, but live elsewhere, Kim said. It is also possible that some residents got inoculated once in Orange County and got another shot outside the county, he added.

In any event, Orange County is among the most inoculated counties, Kim said.

The case rate per 100,000 people fully vaccinated with a booster shot decreased from 5.6 on April 8 to 4.7 on April 15, the latest data available. The rate for those vaccinated without a booster went from 3 on April 8 to 2.7 on April 15. For those not fully vaccinated, the rate decreased from 5.4 to 4.4.

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