Orange County’s COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations showed substantial increases as 23 more fatalities were logged, according to data released Friday by the Orange County Health Care Agency.
COVID hospitalizations increased from 158 as of Monday to 188 as of Thursday, the latest data available. Intensive care unit patients rose from 18 to 20.
The county has 28.5% of its ICU beds available, well above the 20% level when officials get concerned.
The county’s testing positivity rate increased from 8.2% as of Monday to 11.1% as of Thursday. The rate went from 4.5% to 7.7% in the health equity quartile, which measures the communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
The county’s daily case rate per 100,000 people increased from 26.8 as of Monday to 27.4 as of Thursday on a seven-day average with seven-day lag, and from 20.5 to 25.8 for the adjusted rate, also with a seven-day average and seven-day lag.
The county logged 3,215 more COVID infections Monday through Thursday, raising the cumulative case count to 582,507. The 23 newly logged fatalities upped the cumulative death toll to 7,068.
The OCHCA provides regular COVID updates on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Of those hospitalized, 83.4% are unvaccinated, and 86.6% of the ICU patients are not inoculated, according to the OCHCA.
“The testing positivity concerns me, but it’s a little difficult to interpret because of the complexion of testing has changed,” Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told City News Service on Friday. “There’s more testing at home, which means the tests that are recorded are disproportionately more severe cases, and so the increase in percentage positivity is very difficult to take at face value, but nevertheless the increase is up to 11%.”
The percentage could be thrown off by more at-home testing where people don’t always pass on the results to health officials, Noymer said.
It is difficult to know exactly how many of those hospitalized with COVID-19 happened to test positive and were admitted for some other reason or if they are being treated primarily for the virus, Noymer said.
Still, he added, it is worrisome that the patient level is approaching 200.
“I’ve said 200 would be concerning, and I stand by that,” Noymer said. “And now we’re perilously close.”
Noymer noted the ICU levels were up “almost trivially.”
The case rate per 100,000 people for fully vaccinated residents who have received a vaccine booster increased from 27.8 on May 21 to 32.5 on May 28, the latest data available show. The case rate for residents fully vaccinated with no booster went from 17.2 to 19.2 and the case rate for residents not fully vaccinated went from 25.2 to 28.4.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in Orange County increased from 2,318,150 to 2,319,958, according to Tuesday’s data.
That number includes an increase from 2,178,671 to 2,180,765 residents who have received the two-dose regimen of vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna.
The number of residents receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine decreased from 139,479 to 139,193 as officials continue to adjust to a new accounting of shots administered in the counties across the state.
Booster shots increased from 1,292,844 to 1,299,053.
In the age group of 5 to 11 years old, the number of children vaccinated increased from 91,281 to 91,544, versus 177,036 who have not been vaccinated.