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OC COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise again

SANTA ANA, Calif. (CNS) — The number of COVID-19-positive patients at Orange County hospitals continued to rise as the death toll neared nearly 100 last month, but test-positive rates come after those released Friday by Data back to the Orange County Health Department.

From Monday to Thursday, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 rose from 282 to 291, while the number of patients in intensive care rose from 40 to 44.

Officials can’t determine how many of the hospital patients were admitted directly for COVID-19 or tested positive while being treated for another illness.

But from July 1 to July 31, 146 patients admitted directly for COVID-19 were conceived as incompletely vaccinated or unvaccinated. Another 39 received the first series of vaccinations and 57 received booster doses.

According to the county, 71.2% of hospitalized patients are incomplete or not vaccinated at all. The proportion in the intensive care unit is 72%.

The county has 26.4% of its ICU beds. Officials will become concerned if that level falls below 20%.

The county’s test positivity rate fell from 16.7% to 15.6% and in the health equity quartile, which measures communities hardest hit by the pandemic, from 20% to 18.3%.

The county’s daily case rate per 100,000 people fell from 29.6 to 25.7 for the seven-day average with a seven-day lag and from 28.7 to 25.7 for the adjusted rate, also with a seven-day average and a seven-day lag .

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told the City News Service on Friday. He noted that the positive percentages of tests “continue to move in the right direction … and ICUs remain stable.”

Noymer said he was concerned about an autumn or winter spike due to waning immunity and the prospect of a new variant.

“There’s going to be an inevitable new variant, plus the fact that a lot of people are done boosting,” Noymer said. “For a lot of people, their last booster shot was last fall.”

The county recorded 2,308 more infections Monday through Thursday, bringing the cumulative case count to 648,871. The county recorded 15 more deaths, bringing the total death toll to 7,262.

Of the deaths logged since Tuesday, 13 occurred in the last month, bringing the death toll to 98 in July. Another fatality occurred that month, bringing the death toll to two in August.

The June death toll stands at 54. The last time the county had a triple-digit death toll was February.

The OCHCA will provide regular COVID updates on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The case rate per 100,000 population for fully vaccinated residents who received a booster shot rose to 22.7 on August 7 from 34.2 on July 31, the latest available data shows. The case rate for fully vaccinated residents without a booster shot increased from 21.2 to 14.5 and from 36 to 26.2 for not fully vaccinated residents.

The number of vaccinations administered in Orange County rose to 2,339,462 from 2,337,024, according to data released Tuesday. The county also has 206,818 residents on record who received one of two shots with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Refresher shots increased from 1,361,118 to 1,365,594.

At the last approved age of 4 years and younger, the number of fully vaccinated residents increased from 943 to 1,462 versus 185,387 unvaccinated. The number of children under the age of 4 who received at least one dose is 9,674.

In the 5-11 age group, only about 36% are vaccinated. But 40% received at least one dose.

In contrast, in the 12-17 age group, 70% are vaccinated and 30% are unvaccinated.

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