ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. - COVID-19 hospitalizations in Orange County continued to soar on Monday, with health officials reporting nearly 30 more patient admissions since Sunday, continuing a concerning trend this month.
The Orange County Health Care Agency on Monday also reported 1,964 new coronavirus infections, raising the cumulative case number to 88,842.
There were no new fatalities reported, leaving the death toll at 1,633.
The county reported 15 coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday.
The county logged 41 deaths last week and 26 the week before.
The number of county residents hospitalized with the virus rose from 848 on Sunday to 877, and the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care increased from 209 to 218.
The county is under a "regional stay-at-home" order from the state,which was triggered when intensive-care unit bed availability fell below 15% last week.
The 11-county Southern California region's available ICU capacity was 12.5% Saturday, a decrease from 13.1% the day before.
On Sunday, it dropped to 10.3% and on Monday it stood at 10.9%.
Orange County had 18% of its ICU beds and 53% of its ventilators available as of Monday, according to the Health Care Agency.
The last time the county's intensive care unit beds were this filled up was on July 23, when there were 215 patients.
Last week, the county zoomed past a previous record of 722 hospitalized patients set on July 14.
The stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom will be in place for at least three weeks and bars gatherings of people from different households.
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Regions will be eligible to exit from the order on Dec. 28 if ICU capacity projections for the following month are above or equal to 15%.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Saturday that his deputies would not enforce the order.
"Compliance with health orders is a matter of personal responsibility and not a matter of law enforcement," Barnes said.
"The Orange CountySheriff's Department will remain consistent in our approach. Orange County sheriff's deputies will not be dispatched to, or respond to, calls for service to enforce compliance with face coverings, social gatherings or stay-at-home orders only. Deputies will respond to calls for potential criminal behavior and for the protection of life and property. Our actions remain consistent with the protections of constitutional rights. "... As we have done throughout this pandemic, we must remain diligent in preventing the spread of the virus by following public health recommendations, like wearing a face covering and practicing social distancing," he said.
"Conversely, policymakers must not penalize residents for earning a livelihood, safe guarding their mental health, or enjoying ourmost cherished freedoms."
Under the order, the following businesses/recreational facilities were forced to close:
- indoor and outdoor playgrounds;
-- indoor recreational facilities;
-- hair salons and barbershops;
-- personal care services;
-- museums, zoos, and aquariums;
-- movie theaters;
-- bars, breweries and distilleries;
-- family entertainment centers;
-- cardrooms and satellite wagering;
-- live audience sports; and
-- amusement parks.
Schools with waivers are allowed to remain open, along with "critical infrastructure" and retail stores, which are limited to 20% of capacity.
Restaurants are restricted to takeout and delivery service only.Hotels are allowed to open "for critical infrastructure support only," while churches are restricted to outdoor only services.
Entertainment production --including professional sports -- is allowed to continue without live audiences.
Some of those restrictions are already in effect in select counties.
California has grouped its counties into five regions: the Bay Area,Greater Sacramento Region, Northern California, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.
The San Joaquin Valley also entered the new shutdown protocol at midnight, as its ICU capacity dropped to 8.6% on Saturday.
The state's full stay-at-home order can be read at www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Regional-Stay-at-Home-Order-.aspx.
Orange County's adjusted daily case rate per 100,000 rose from 18.7 on Monday to 22.2 on Tuesday, with the positivity rate going up from 7.6% to 8.8%.
The county's Health Equity Quartile Positivity Rate, which measures the cases in highly affected, needier parts of the county, stands at 13%,nearly three times higher than it was last reported Nov. 10.
All of the county's metrics now fall within the state's most-restrictive, purple, tier of the four-tier coronavirus monitoring system.
Vaccines are now expected to be distributed to each county to be doled out to each hospital, Orange County CEO Frank Kim has said.
Before, the plan was for regional hospital systems to get the vaccines directly while the counties doled out the medicine to individual hospitals.
The county received 15,462 test results on Monday, upping the cumulative to 1,572,016.