Home test kit
A home COVID-19 test kit. Courtesy NIH

The number of coronavirus patients at Orange County hospitals is up by four people to 281, with 40 being treated in intensive care, up from 35 Friday, according to the latest state figures.

Officials cannot determine how many of those patients were admitted directly for COVID-19 or tested positive while being treated for another ailment. But from June 1-30, 124 unvaccinated patients were admitted directly for COVID-19, while 24 vaccinated patients were admitted for the virus, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

According to the county, 83.4% of the patients are unvaccinated and 87.1% of the ICU patients are unvaccinated.

The county has 23.6% of its ICU beds available. When that rate is above the 20% level, officials become concerned.

The county’s testing positivity rate increased from 17.4% Monday to 18% Thursday, and rose from 17.8% to 18.5% 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 33.1 on a seven-day average with a seven-day lag, and 32.1 for the adjusted rate, also with a seven-day average and seven-day lag.

The county logged 4,226 more infections Tuesday through Thursday, raising the cumulative case count to 620,698. The 15 newly logged fatalities increased the overall death toll to 7,170.

A dozen of the fatalities occurred this month, increasing the overall death toll for July to 13. The others occurred in June, increasing the death toll to 43.

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 went from 40.4 July 3 to 35.4 on July 10, the latest data available show. The case rate for residents fully vaccinated with no booster went from 24 to 21.2, and from 39.4 to 35.3 for residents not fully vaccinated.

“It’s more of the same,” Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told City News Service on Friday. “What struck me is we passed 18% positivity. … We’re in a wave of COVID.”

Indoor masking is being brought back to the UC Irvine campus on Monday, Noymer said.

“People keep saying it’s not as deadly anymore,” Noymer said. But Noymer pointed to the number of deaths so far in July and said, “That’s a lot of deaths for a respiratory virus in the summertime.”

Noymer encouraged anyone eligible for a second booster shot to get one, though he acknowledged that they are having “diminishing returns” as the virus mutates.

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