SANTA ANA (CNS) — Orange County official Friday reported just 68 new COVID-19 cases and logged nine more fatalities, including one in January, as hospitalization rates inched downward.
What You Need To Know
- The new cases Friday pushed the county's total to 253,848 since the pandemic began, while the death toll rose to 4,957
- The county disseminated 10,000 doses on Thursday and scheduled 12,000 appointments Friday at its sites
- The county's positivity rates qualify for the yellow tier, but the case counts are still in the orange tier
- A graduation into the yellow tier requires that the case rate must get below 2 per 100,000 people
The new cases Friday pushed the county's total to 253,848 since the pandemic began, while the death toll rose to 4,957.
The number of COVID-19 patients in county hospitals decreased from 116 Thursday to 113 Friday, while the number of intensive care unit patients decreased from 25 to 22.
"They're good," Orange County CEO Frank Kim told City News Service in response to Friday's numbers. "Hospitalizations dropped down. I'm happy to see that. But case rates and positivity has been essentially flat. They move up or down one-tenth of a point a day."
Demand for vaccines from county-run sites has started to decrease, but it could be because people are turning to pharmacies and private health care providers, Kim said. It's difficult to say because there's no central database accessible to county officials to determine how shots are being dispensed, Kim said.
"We're starting to see declines in appointments so we'll start looking at what our phased-down model looks like," Kim said. "But we are not going away. As long as somebody wants a vaccine we'll have a (Point of Distribution) or a mobile clinic."
The county disseminated 10,000 doses on Thursday and scheduled 12,000 appointments Friday at its sites, Kim said.
"So there's still very good demand," Kim said.
The county may get more vaccines next week, Kim said.
"We have a sense it might grow, but we don't know yet," he said. "We're hearing that so me counties are not requesting a full draw-down, so that may make vaccine doses available to counties like us who want more," Kim said.
On Saturday and Sunday, the county's Super POD sites at the Anaheim Convention Center, Soka University and Orange County Fairgrounds will accept walk-ins as well as anyone with a confirmed appointment.
Orange County's weekly averages for COVID-19 metrics, which are released on Tuesdays, kept it in the orange tier of the state's economic reopening system, although it meets two of three categories for the least restrictive yellow tier, according to most recent figures.
The county's weekly averages for adjusted daily case rate per 100,000 residents improved from 2.8 last Tuesday to 2.6.
The overall test positivity rate remained at 1.4%. The county's Health Equity Quartile rate, which measures positivity in hotspots in disadvantaged communities, increased from 1.7% to 1.9%.
The county's positivity rates qualify for the yellow tier, but the case counts are still in the orange tier.
A graduation into the yellow tier requires that the case rate must get below 2 per 100,000 people. A county must maintain metrics for a tier for two weeks before graduating to a less-restrictive level.
On Sunday, the county will resume administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Dr. Clayton Chau, the county's chief public health officer and director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, said in a news release he believes the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is "safe and effective" and that the risk of developing clotting is rare.
The county continues to test at about the state average, Chau said. The county's average this week is 308.8 per 100,000 residents. The county received 10,798 tests on Friday, raising the total to 3,657,088.
The nine fatalities logged Friday raised the death toll in April to 18. The death toll for February increased by three to 587.
The death toll in March rose by one to 178 and by one to 1,518 in January, the deadliest month in the pandemic. December, the next deadliest, has a death toll of 940.