Orange County reported 1,666 new cases of COVID-19 but no additional deaths on Saturday, bringing the county’s total to 76,761 and 1,577 deaths.
The massive number of new cases comes after the county reported 1,943 new cases and 18 additional deaths on Friday, but those numbers have covered two days since there was no update on Thursday due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
The number of county residents hospitalized due to the virus rose from 506 on Friday to 534, with the number of patients in intensive care dropping from 139 to 138, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The change in the mean of three days for hospitalized patients went from 16.8% to 12.3%. The province has 24.8% of ICU beds and 63.4% available ventilators.
Figures released over the weekend seem to confirm officials ’fears of a price hike due to Thanksgiving. Frank Kim, chief executive of Orange County, said earlier this week that he was “very concerned” about the rise in cases and hospitalizations.
“Although many of the hospital officials (executives) I have had conversations with seem more confident today than they were early in the illness about how to treat it, I don’t underestimate any of it,” Kim said. “Any rise in hospital and ICU admission rates is a major concern for our community.”
Officials recommend waiting at least two days after an event or gathering to get tested because the infection may not be detected right away.
Andrew Neimer, assistant professor of population health and disease prevention at the University of California, Irvine, has warned of a bleak winter.
“I’m very apprehensive about the trends we’ll see after Thanksgiving,” Noemer told City News Service. “People don’t appreciate that we were recording deaths from the summer wave until October.”
Neimer predicted more cases from the July peak.
“But this won’t be just July and it’s gone,” Neimer said. “I think it will get worse.”
Noemer said the last time hospitalization rates were this high was on August 10.
“At the end of next week, we will return to (levels) July,” Neimer said. “And will it peak like in July or get worse. There are reasons to believe that we may continue to get worse.”
The main reason for this is that the cold weather pushes people to more indoor activities and some students still attend classes, Noemer said.
The worst day for hospitalization for COVID-19 in Orange County was July 14, when there were 722 patients.
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In the state’s tiered monitoring system, which is updated on Tuesday, the county adjusted daily status rate per 100,000 residents jumped from 10.8 to 17.2 and the positivity rate swelled from 4.6% to 6.8%.
The positivity rate is proportional to the state’s four-tier reopening roadmap, but the daily status rate per 100,000 far exceeds the 8% threshold for the more restrictive purple.
The number of tests conducted in the province reached 1437,146, of which 11,017 were reported on Saturday. There were 59,266 documented recoveries.
Kim said he is optimistic that vaccines are on the way and are due to arrive by the end of the year. Kim said hospital systems would get vaccines directly and individual hospitals would receive doses from the province.
Frontline health care workers will be among the first to receive vaccinations, along with people with underlying health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to contracting the disease.
Kim said the hope is that increased testing and awareness of infection will encourage more quarantines, isolation and other social distancing practices that will help limit the spread of the virus.
Kim said the county tests per 100,000 stood at 354.1, beating the county test targets at this point.