The number of COVID-positive patients in Orange County hospitals has continued ticking upward, rising by 19 people to 310, according to the latest state figures.
The number of those patients hospitalized as of Saturday who were in intensive care was 45, up one from the previous day.
Officials cannot determine how many of the hospitalized patients were admitted directly for COVID-19 or tested positive while being treated for another ailment.
According to the county, 71.2% of hospital patients are incompletely vaccinated or totally unvaccinated. The percentage in intensive care is 72%.
The county has 26.4% of its ICU beds available. Officials become concerned if that level falls below 20%.
While hospitalizations have ticked up in recent days, test positivity rates are declining, according to the latest data released by the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The county’s testing positivity rate decreased from 16.7% to 15.6% and declined from 20% to 18.3% in the health equity quartile, which measures the communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
The county’s daily case rate per 100,000 people decreased from 29.6 to 25.7 on a seven-day average with a seven-day lag, and from 28.7 to 25.7 for the adjusted rate, also with a seven-day average and seven-day lag.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told City News Service on Friday.
Noymer said he is concerned about a fall or winter surge based on waning immunity and the prospects of a new variant.
“There will be an inevitable new variant, plus the fact a lot of people are done with boosting,” Noymer said. “For a lot of people, their most recent booster shot was last fall.”
The county logged 2,308 more infections from Monday to Thursday, raising the cumulative case count to 648,871. The county also logged 15 more fatalities linked to the virus, raising the overall death toll to 7,262.
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 34.2 on July 31 to 22.7 on Aug. 7, the latest data available show. The case rate for residents fully vaccinated with no booster went from 21.2 to 14.5, and from 36 to 26.2 for residents not fully vaccinated.