Orange County’s hospitals have more than 200 patients with COVID-19 with the number in intensive care also rising, according to the latest data from the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 increased from 213 on Tuesday to 230 on Wednesday and down to 212 on Thursday. The number of patients in intensive care went from 23 on Tuesday to 29 on Wednesday to 32 on Thursday.

Officials cannot determine how many of the patients currently hospitalized were admitted directly for COVID-19 or tested positive while being treated for another ailment. But from June 1 to June 22, there have been 100 unvaccinated patients admitted directly for COVID-19 and 22 were vaccinated, according to the agency.

According to the county, 83.3% of the patients are unvaccinated and 87% of ICU patients are unvaccinated.

The county has 25.9% of its ICU beds available, above the 20% level when officials become concerned.

The county’s testing positivity rate has increased from 15.3% as of Monday to 15.8% as of Thursday, and ticked up from 14.6% to 15.7% in the health equity quartile, which measures the communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

The county’s daily case rate per 100,000 people is 31 on a seven-day average with a seven-day lag, and 30.6 for the adjusted rate, also with a seven-day average and seven-day lag.

Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, has told City News Service that he will be concerned when hospitalizations exceed 200.

“I don’t like to see that, and I don’t like to see ICUs creeping up either,” Noymer said Tuesday.

“It’s not a crisis or anything like that, but it’s not moving in the right direction,” Noymer said. “It was looking like we were finding a peak, which is good because then it’s going to start going back down, but it may have been a false peak.”

The county logged 3,826 more infections Tuesday through Thursday, raising the cumulative case count to 604,055. The county also logged 23 more fatalities, raising the death toll to 7,126.

Twelve of the fatalities happened in June, raising last month’s death toll to 27. May’s death toll stands at 32 and April’s stands at 33.

One of the fatalities occurred in March, raising that month’s death toll to 88. Three of the fatalities occurred in February, raising its death toll to 342. Three others happened in January, increasing that month’s death toll to 565. December’s death toll stands at 117.

One fatality occurred in November, raising that month’s death toll to 123. One fatality occurred in September and another one dates back to July of last year.

The OCHCA provides regular COVID updates on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The case rate per 100,000 people for fully vaccinated residents who have received a vaccine booster decreased from 35.8 June 19 to 30.1 June 26, the latest data available show. The case rate for residents fully vaccinated with no booster went from 21.5 on June 19 to 17.9 on June 26, and from 34.7 on June 19 to 30.1 on June 26.

The number of vaccines administered in Orange County increased from 2,324,587 to 2,326,588, according to Tuesday’s data. That number includes an increase from 2,185,776 to 2,187,900 residents who have received the two-dose regimen of vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna.

Noymer encouraged anyone eligible for a booster shot to do so.

“I think everyone eligible for a third shot should have the third shot by now,” Noymer said.

For those eligible for a fourth shot, Noymer advised waiting for the fall. Authorities are expected to approve a booster designed to combat the Omicron variant soon, but anyone eligible for a booster now shouldn’t wait as they can also get the Omicron-variant dose later as well, Noymer said.

The number of residents receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine decreased from 138,811 to 138,688 as officials continue to adjust to a new accounting of shots administered in the counties across California.

Booster shots increased from 1,329,788 to 1,335,414.

In the age group of 5 to 11 years old, the number of children vaccinated increased from 92,210 to 92,483 versus 176,097 who have not been vaccinated.

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