Orange County's COVID-19 hospitalizations, case rates continue to drop

Orange County reported 739 new cases of COVID-19 and 33 additional deaths, bringing the county's totals to 237,077 cases and 3,312 fatalities.

The number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals continued its downward trend, declining from 1,233 on Friday to 1,164, but the number of patients in intensive care increased from 342 to 347, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

OC's test positivity rate was 10.9% and its adjusted case rate per 100,000 population was at 39.

The county's state-adjusted ICU bed availability remains at zero, and the unadjusted figure dropped from 11.1% Friday to 9.6%, the same as Thursday.
The state created the adjusted metric to reflect the difference in beds available for COVID-19 patients and non-coronavirus patients. The county has 53% of its ventilators available.

The OCHCA also reported 18,824 tests Saturday, bringing the total to 2,767,050. There have been 197,272 documented recoveries.

Despite the positive trends with case and positivity rates, Orange County CEO Frank Kim said Friday he is nervous about Super Bowl weekend leading to another spike.

"I'm worried about the Super Bowl,'' Kim said. "The concern is that the governor has lifted the stay-at-home order and there's a general sense of euphoria seeing older relatives and family members getting vaccines, so there's a sense of safety we haven't felt in a long time.''

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Kim said some younger adults might let their guard down and "go out and interact in unsafe ways during Super Bowl weekend, and I would hate to see
us have a spike.''

Hospitals are stepping up vaccinations as the number of patients has gone down, Kim said.

"Why are they able to do that? Because the hospital bed census is coming down,'' he said. "We could lose an important teammate, an ally in the vaccination efforts (if there is a spike), and we can't have that. We need to
build on the momentum that has been hard-fought since the holidays started in

One of the deaths reported Saturday was a resident of an assisted living facility. Since the pandemic began, 360 residents of assisted living facilities have died, as have 858 residents of skilled nursing facilities. The death reports are staggered because they come from a variety of sources and are not always logged immediately.

Outbreaks -- defined as two or more confirmed cases over the past two weeks -- have gone down in the county's nursing homes. As of Wednesday, there were 19 outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities and 28 elderly assisted living facilities.

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