Orange County reports 31 new COVID-19 infections as hospitalization rates inch down


SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County today reported 31 new COVID-19 infections as hospitalization rates ticked down.

The new infections pushed the cumulative case count to 256,008.

Hospitalizations inched down from 55 to 51, while the number of patients in intensive care decreased from 11 to 10.

The Orange County Health Care Agency also logged one more fatality that occurred in January, bringing to 600 the number of assisted living facility residents who have died of coronavirus complications in the county.

The death toll now stands at five for June; 22 for May; 42 for April; 198 for March; 608 for February; 1,556 for January, the deadliest month of the pandemic; and 966 for December, the next deadliest.

According to figures released on Wednesday, the county has 1,734,537 fully vaccinated residents. Of those, 1,621,711 received both doses and 264,074 have received one shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, which require two doses. Another 112,826 people received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

According to weekly state data released every Tuesday, the county's average daily new case rate per 100,000 residents ticked up from 0.8 last week to 0.9, while the overall test positivity rate ticked up from 0.6% to 0.7%.

The county's Health Equity Quartile rate, which measures positivity in hot spots in disadvantaged communities, dipped down from 0.8% to 0.7%. That would have kept the county safely in the least-restrictive yellow tier, but that system ended with the state's reopening on June 15.

The county's weekly average of tests per 100,000 residents ticked up from 195.4 last week to 198.6.

As has been common at the Orange County Board of Supervisors meetings over the past several months, dozens of public speakers on Tuesday implored the board to suspend its local state of emergency due to the pandemic. The supervisors do not want to take that action because it would jeopardize reimbursements from the state and federal governments for COVID-19 expenses.

County officials assured residents that lifting the local state of emergency would do nothing to change any remaining restrictions, most of which were suspended on June 15.

"Even if we were to cancel this emergency order, it would not do anything to change anyone's lives," board Chairman Andrew Do said. "We would just be shooting ourselves in the foot in terms of state funding."

Do moved to have the county's state of emergency continue until the state lifts its own state of emergency, and the board unanimously agreed. That action was taken to end the local state of emergency as soon as it can be practically done while leaving the county eligible for state and federal reimbursements.