SANTA ANA (CNS) — Orange County will open another major vaccination site at the fairgrounds in Costa Mesa next week, newly elected Supervisor Katrina Foley said.
The new site will be open on Wednesday, a day before residents 50 years and older will become eligible for inoculations.
What You Need To Know
- The county reported 156 COVID-19 cases, upping its cumulative to 250,095
- The county also logged 19 more COVID-19 fatalities, upping the overall death toll to 4,684
- The last time overall hospitalizations were this low was Oct. 26
- If current COVID-19 trends continue, Orange County could graduate from the red to the orange tier under the state's blueprint for reopening the economy by March 31
"It will have extended hours so that people who work or can't take a day of work... will be able to go at more flexible times," Foley said.
Foley added she was "working on having some designated lines" for various categories such as hospital, food industry or theme park workers.
The site will have walk-up and drive-through appointments, Foley said. Foley said she would also like to have a no-appointment option as well, "which will help us reach the more vulnerable communities," who struggle with making an appointment through the county's website or app.
Foley, who was mayor of Costa Mesa before her election to the county board, said she was excited for the OC Fair to return this summer.
"The more people we get vaccinated the more fun we'll have at the fair this summer," Foley said. "That's one of the beauties of having a super site at the fairgrounds. It will remind everyone that we have fun on the horizon if everybody gets vaccinated faster and more efficiently."
Orange County's daily COVID-19 statistics released Friday continued the county on its path to move up from the red to the orange tier in the state's program to reopen the economy.
The county reported 156 COVID-19 cases, increasing the total its to 250,095. The county also logged 19 more COVID-19 fatalities, upping the overall death toll to 4,684.
The reporting of the fatalities are often delayed. Some of the deaths logged Friday occurred in January, for instance.
The death toll for March increased to 79, and to 526 for February. In January, the deadliest month of the pandemic, there have been 1,452 fatalities logged. In December, the second deadliest month, there were 919 deaths reported.
The county reported 156 new COVID-19 cases, upping the cumulative total to 250,095, and hospitalizations increased from 167 to 172, with the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care dropping by four to 31, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The last time overall hospitalizations were this low was Oct. 26. It's not clear when ICU numbers were this low, as the county's website dates back to late May and there is no data lower than 31 patients.
If current COVID-19 trends continue, Orange County could graduate from the red to the orange tier under the state's blueprint for reopening the economy by March 31, officials said.
Orange County CEO Frank Kim said the case rate as of Friday was 3.2, the positivity rate was 1.8%, which qualifies for the yellow tier, and the positivity rate among in the health equity category was 3.1%.
Moving up to the orange tier would allow for more business to reopen. Retail stores would not have to limit attendance, and churches, movie theaters, museums, zoos and aquariums could expand attendance to 50% of capacity.
Restaurants could expand indoor dining to 50%, wineries could offer indoor service at 25%, and bars that don't serve food could reopen outdoors for the first time.
Gyms and fitness centers could expand to 25% of capacity, and family entertainment centers could offer indoor attractions such as bowling.
The OCHCA reported 12,390 COVID-19 tests Friday, raising the cumulative total to 3,296,249.
Orange County is doing 277.5 tests per 100,000 people on a seven-day average with a seven-day lag. Its testing average mirrors the state average, Kim said.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes reopened visits at the county's jails on Friday for the first time in a year. Barnes said the protocols he implemented to curb the spread of coronavirus in the jails have been successful.
There were no inmates infected with the virus as of Thursday, according to Lt. Dennis Breckner. Authorities were awaiting results of 455 tests. Inmates will be able to get one visit per month initially, the sheriff said.
Also, the sheriff can now offer vaccines to all inmates. Previously, the county worked to inoculate seniors who were 65 and older.
Kim praised the sheriff for his department's and the Health Care Agency's work to curb the spread of coronavirus in the jails following a significant spike that started in December.
"I think it's an incredible credit to their diligence and commitment," Kim said. "We're really happy to see that because ultimately these are people in our care and it's important we treat them with dignity."
Barnes said he would continue to oppose the American Civil Liberties Union's efforts to compel the release of more inmates to help curb the spread of COVID-19, noting he has released 1,700 low-level offenders since the pandemic started.
"I believe they represent a significant risk to the community if released," he said.