Laguna Beach, CA — Orange County officials are encouraged by the recent decline in coronavirus cases, they reported Thursday. Only 95 new COVID-19 cases were reported, but hospitalizations were reduced.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, new cases have boosted the cumulative number of infections in the county to 251,611, according to the Orange County Healthcare Agency.
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients in the county decreased from 114 on Wednesday to 113 on Thursday, and the number of patients in the intensive care unit decreased from 29 to 28.
Providence Hospital Laguna Beach recently shared the first anniversary of the hospitalization of the first coronavirus patient.
At Laguna Beach, staff at Providence Mission Hospital were awarded a mural by local artist Mojdeh Keshmiri Bastani.
The county also recorded 19 deaths, with an overall death toll on Thursday of 4,810.
The county death toll in March increased to 133, well below 558 in February. January, the worst month of the pandemic, killed 1,479 and December killed 923.
The monthly total will continue to be adjusted as the December and January deaths reflect the holiday surge and the Orange County coroner has confirmed that it is related to COVID, officials said.
Frank Kim, CEO of Orange County, said Wednesday that he had discussed new, lower trends.
“With such a low (case) rate, small outbreaks in schools and elsewhere can actually confuse numbers,” Kim said.
Vaccines for residents of Orange County are still in high demand.
The county received 105,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine this week.
Authorities are working to prepare for a surge in vaccine seekers when the eligibility is expanded to all people over the age of 16 on April 15, Kim said.
A weekly update from the state issued on Tuesday showed that the county’s test positive rate improved from 1.7% to 1.6%, but the adjusted case rate per 100,000 people averaged over 7 days. Increased from 2.8 last Tuesday to 3.
The county health inequal quartile, which measures the positive rate of hotspots in underprivileged communities, improved from 2.6% last week to 2.1%. The county’s positive rate qualifies for the least restrictive yellow layer of the state’s four-layer system for resuming the economy, but the number of cases is still in the orange layer.
What’s Open in Orange Tier:
Last week, the county moved to the orange layer of the blueprint for a safer economy in the state, relaxing restrictions on various business units.
Currently, retailers do not have to restrict attendance at all, and churches, cinemas, museums, zoos and aquariums are allowed to grow from 25% to 50% of their capacity.
The restaurant has expanded indoor dining to 50% and the winery has been granted permission to expand indoor services to 25%. Meanwhile, the non-meal bar got a green light to reopen outdoors. The gym and fitness center have been cleared to expand to 25% of capacity, and the Family Entertainment Center can offer indoor attractions such as bowling.
Under current rules, the county’s new case rate should be less than 2 per 100,000 inhabitants to reach the yellow layer.
According to Kim, the county has given residents 1.8 million COVID vaccines. The county is testing 301.5 per 100,000 inhabitants on average for 7 days with a 7-day delay.
An additional 13,998 tests were reported on Thursday, increasing the cumulative total to 3,428,287.
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