The number of COVID-positive patients in Orange County hospitals has ticked upward to 163 with 18 of those patients being treated in intensive care units, according to the latest state data.

The Orange County Health Care Agency, which provides updated coronavirus data on Thursdays, has noted that the county’s COVID-19 positivity rates continue to trend downward while hospitalizations are on the rise as another 17 deaths were logged this month.

According to data released by the agency Thursday, the death toll for September increased from 19 last week to 36 logged so far. The death toll for August remained at 103. And one of the deaths logged this week occurred in July, increasing that month’s death toll to 126. June’s death toll remains at 57.

The county has reported a cumulative death toll of 7,450.

Hospitalizations went from 124 on Sept. 21 to 147 on Sept. 28, with the number of intensive care unit patients increasing from 21 to 22 during the same time.

The county has 24.3% of its ICU beds available. Officials grow concerned that percentage drops below 20%.

Of those hospitalized 68.8% are incompletely or unvaccinated and 69.3% are similarly situated in ICU.

The county’s test positivity rate decreased from 7.1% last week to 6.1%, with the statistic declining from 7.6% to 6.5% in the health equity quartile, which measures the communities hardest hit by the pandemic. The daily case rate per 100,000 dropped from 8.9 to 7.4 on seven-day average with seven-day lag, and from 8.3 to 7.8 in the adjusted daily case rate per 100,000 on a seven-day average with a seven-day lag.

The positivity rate for those fully vaccinated with a booster dropped from 9.3 on Sept. 18 to 8.8 Sept. 25, according to the latest data available. For those vaccinated with no booster the rate dropped from 4.8 to 4.2. For those not vaccinated the rate decreased from 8.5 to 8.1.

The number of residents fully vaccinated increased from 2,358,465 last week to 2,351,742 this week, according to the OCHCA. The number of residents who have received at least one dose was at 209,127. The number of booster shots administered rose from 1,378,761 to 1,379,047.

The number of children up to 4 years old, who have received at least one dose stands at 13,747 with 5,527 fully vaccinated. Just 7% of the county’s population in the age group have received at least one dose.

For 5- to 11-year-old children, 96,442 are fully vaccinated, about 41% in that age group with at least one dose. In the 12-to-17 age group, 76% have received at least one dose.

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