Orange County reported 1,666 new cases of COVID-19, but no additional deaths occurred on Saturday, leaving the county with a total of 76,761 cases and 1,577 fatalities.
The county sees a large number of new cases after reports of 1,943 new cases and 18 additional deaths on Friday, but those numbers were covered for two days, with no updates on Thursday due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, the number of county residents hospitalized with the virus increased from 506 Friday to 534, with the number of intensive care patients falling from 139 to 138.
The change in the three-day average of hospitalized patients increased from 16.8% to 12.3%. The county has 24.8% of its intensive care unit beds and 63.4% of its ventilators available.
The numbers that have appeared on the Holiday Weekend confirm officials anticipate a Thanksgiving-fuel surge. Orange County CEO Frank Kim said earlier this week that he was “very concerned” about the cases and hospitalization.
“And even though my conversations with the various hospitals (authorities) today are more confident, because they were early in the disease about how to treat it, I’m not taking it lightly,” Kim said. “Any increase in hospitalization and ICU rates is a significant concern for our community.”
Authorities recommend waiting at least two days after an incident or gathering to conduct tests as the infection may not be immediately detected.
Andrew Noymer, a UC Irvine associate professor of population health and disease prevention, warned of a severe cold.
“I am very apprehensive of the trend we are seeing after Thanksgiving,” Noymer told the City News Service. “People don’t appreciate that we were recording deaths from the heat wave through October.”
Noimer predicted more cases than the July peak.
“But it’s not just like another July and has to go away,” Noymer said. “I think it’s going to be bad.”
The last time the hospitalization rate was 10 August.
“We will return to July (levels) at the end of next week,” Noymer said. “And it will crest or deteriorate like July. There are reasons to believe that we can just go bad.”
Noyemar said the main reason for this is that the cold weather is pushing people into more indoor activities and some students are still attending classes in classrooms.
The worst day for COVID-19 hospitals in Orange County was July 14, when there were 722 patients.
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In the state’s tiered monitoring system, which is updated on Tuesday, the county’s adjusted daily case rate per 100,000 residents increased from 10.8 to 17.2 and the positivity rate was 4.6% to 6.8%.
The positivity rate fit the red level of the state’s four-tier reunion roadmap, but the daily case rate per 100,000 is just before the 8% threshold for the most restrictive violet tier.
The number of tests conducted in the county is 1,437,146, including 11,017 on Saturday. 59,266 documents have been recovered.
Kim said he was optimistic vaccines were on the way and would be coming by the end of the year. Kim said hospital systems will receive vaccines directly and individual hospitals will receive doses from the county.
Frontline health care workers will be among the first people to receive vaccinations, as well as people with underlying health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to disease.
Hopefully, increased testing and awareness of infection will encourage more quarantine and isolation and other social distance practices that help prevent the spread of the virus.
At this point, the county has 354.1 per 100,000 trials, surpassing the county’s targets for testing.