SANTA ANA, Calif. (CNS) — Orange County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and case rates maintained a downward slope, but reports of fatalities continued to flow in, with January now outpacing December in the number of virus-related deaths, according to data released Monday by the Orange County Health Care Agency.
Hospitalizations dropped from 967 on Saturday to 934 on Sunday, the most recent data available, with the number of intensive care unit patients ticking up from 173 Saturday to 174 Sunday. The OCHCA does not provide updates on weekends.
The county has 18.8% of its ICU beds available, according to the HCA. County officials get concerned when the level falls below 20%. The county has 60% of its ventilators available.
Of those hospitalized, 85% are unvaccinated and 87% in ICU are not inoculated.
Saturday marked the first day since Jan. 9 hospitalizations fell below 1,000. The downward trend began on Jan. 18.
The county logged 34 more fatalities since Friday, hiking the cumulative death toll to 6,100.
Of the deaths logged Monday, 23 occurred in January, with the most recent Jan. 18. That raised January’s death toll to 128.
One of the newly reported fatalities occurred last month, raising December’s death toll to 101. Six of the fatalities occurred in November, raising that month’s death toll to 111. Another fatality occurred in October, raising that month’s death toll to 134.
September’s death toll stands at 197 and August’s death toll is 182.
In contrast, the death toll before the delta variant fueled a late-summer surge was 31 in July, 19 in June, 26 in May, 47 in April, 202 in March and 620 for February. January 2021 remains the deadliest month of the pandemic, with a death toll of 1,598, ahead of December 2020, the next-deadliest, with 985 people lost to the virus.
One of the dead reported Monday was a skilled nursing facility resident, raising the overall toll in that category to 1,236. One was an assisted living facility resident, raising the death toll in that category to 651.
Outbreaks — defined as three or more infected residents — increased from 44 to 45 at assisted living facilities from Jan. 24 to 26, the most recent data available, but decreased from 33 to 30 for skilled nursing facilities.
The county’s adjusted daily new case rate per 100,000 residents dipped from 158.2 Friday to 130.8 Monday. The testing positivity rate dropped from 23.3% to 18.2%, and fell from 27.4% to 16.2% in the health equity quartile, which measures underserved communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
The case rate per 100,000 decreased from 93.2 on Jan. 15 to 69.2 on Jan. 22 for residents who were fully vaccinated with a booster shot; 210.4 for Jan. 15 to 126.6 on Jan. 22 for the fully vaccinated without a booster; and 304.4 to 194 for those not fully vaccinated.