Orange County reports 248 new cases of COVID-19, drop in hospitalizations

Orange County reported 248 new cases of COVID-19 and seven additional deaths, along with another drop in coronavirus hospitalizations.

The case numbers represent a spike from Friday, when only 90 new cases were reported, and Thursday, when 81 cases were logged. The number of county residents hospitalized with the virus, however, dropped from 118 Friday to 109, with the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care remaining at 23.

Saturday's numbers brought the county's totals to 251,102 cases and 4,768 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the Orange County Health
Care Agency.

The county has 33.8% of its ICU beds available and 72% of its ventilators. The county's seven-day average daily rate of new COVID-19 infections inched downward slightly to 2.8 per 100,000 residents, and the testing-positivity rate inched up from 1.6% to 1.7%. The health equity positivity rate -- a measure of the testing rate in low-income, hard-hit communities -- was 2.6%.

The OCHCA reported 11,854 COVID-19 tests Saturday, raising the cumulative total to 3,385,447.

Orange County is coming off a new record for COVID-19 vaccinations set Thursday.

"Yesterday, we did 13,400 vaccine doses (at county-operated PODs, or point of dispensing sites), which was a new record,'' Orange County CEO Frank Kim said Friday afternoon.

However, the county is planning to temporarily close the POD at Disneyland for a couple of days next week because there isn't enough vaccine expected to be on hand, Kim said.

No more outbreaks have been reported at county nursing homes. Mobile field
units, which were erected during the holiday-fueled surge, have been closed at
two hospitals, with the hospital in Fountain Valley converting its tented facility to a vaccination clinic, according to a county report issued Wednesday.

RELATED: LA, Orange County businesses cleared for more reopenings; criteria met to move into Orange Tier

Orange County officially moved into the orange tier of the state's re-opening system on Wednesday, the same day officials opened their newest large-scale vaccination POD site at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.

"This site will add tremendously to our capacity ... to move the county safely ahead to reopen our economy,'' Board of Supervisors Chairman Andrew Do said at the opening.

Supervisor Katrina Foley, who represents the district that includes the fairgrounds, said plans are in the works to offer more flexible hours at the site "because some people cannot afford to take time off from work to go to a POD from 8 to 5.''

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