Orange County’s COVID-19 infections are on the rise, but hospitalizations have held relatively steady and the county has not logged any deaths since last Friday, according to the latest data released by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

The county’s patient loads have been bucking up and down so far this month, reaching as high as 117 on May 8, but getting down to 83 as of Thursday. The county had 57 patients hospitalized with a COVID-19 infection as of April 22.

The county had 114 COVID-19 patients as of Thursday, according to the most recent state data. The number of intensive care patients was 12.

Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told City News Service on Friday that was “really pleased” that the hospitalization numbers have not gone up. But Noymer has noted the inconsistent numbers.

“I’m not resting on my laurels or anything, but that’s good. More of the same, please,” Noymer said Friday.

“We were as low as 60 quite recently, and then as high as 117, but now we’re back down to 83, so it’s encouraging, but I wouldn’t say it’s victory lap time yet,” Noymer said.

The county has 32% of its ICU beds available, well above the 20% level when officials become concerned.

Of those hospitalized, 83.2% are unvaccinated, and that rate is at 86.4% in intensive care units.

The daily case rate per 100,000 people in Orange County increased from 12.5 Friday to 14.7 Monday on a seven-day average with seven-day lag, and from 8.5 to 10 for the adjusted rate with a seven-day average and seven-day lag.

The testing positivity rate went from 3.7% to 4.4% overall and from 1.7% to 2% in the health equity quartile which measures the communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

Noymer said he “highly recommends” wearing a mask to stores and indoor events as well as outdoor events with large crowds.

The county logged 2,077 more infections from Friday to Monday, raising the cumulative case count to 561,148. The overall death toll stands at 7,023.

Only one death has been logged for this month, and that happened on May 7. Last month’s death toll stands at 30.

March’s death toll stands at 86, February’s at 330, January’s at 554, and 115 in December.

The case rate per 100,000 for fully vaccinated residents who have received a vaccine booster dropped from 12 as of April 29 to 10.6 as of May 6, the latest data available show. The case rate for residents fully vaccinated with no booster decreased from 7.3 to 6, and the case rate for residents not fully vaccinated dropped from 11.9 to 10.8.

The number of vaccines administered in Orange County increased from 2,310,731 last week to 2,313,029 this week, according to Tuesday’s data.

That number includes an increase from 2,170,180 to 2,172,777 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 decreased from 140,551 to 140,252 as officials continue to adjust to a new accounting of shots administered in the counties across the state.

Booster shots increased from 1,273,356 to 1,279,272.

In the most recently eligible age group of 5 to 11 years old, the number of children vaccinated increased from 90,228 to 90,557, versus 178,003 who have not been vaccinated. It’s the least-vaccinated age group in Orange County.

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