Hospitalizations for COVID-19 Continue to Drop in Orange County

August 11, 2020 Updated: August 11, 2020

SANTA ANA, Calif. (CNS)—Hospitalization rates are continuing to trend downward in Orange County, California, which reported 886 new COVID-19 diagnoses that officials said was the result in part of a backlog of cases.

The Orange County Health Care Agency on Aug. 10 also lowered the death toll by two after discovering duplicates, bringing it down to 724. The cumulative caseload now stands at 40,527.

Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said the large number of COVID-19 cases reported Aug. 10 is a reflection of the state fixing the glitch in its reporting system and a backlog of cases coming to light.

“You’re going to see some spikes [in cases], but it’s not necessarily that our cases are spiking, just the reporting of them are,” she said. “I don’t want the public to get alarmed when they see this spike in numbers. They’ve had to go back and reconcile some things in the [state] system.”

Hospitalization rates continued to trend in the right direction, and those numbers aren’t affected by the reporting problems. The number of people hospitalized dropped from 487 on Aug. 9 to 468, according to the HCA, with the number of patients in intensive care units dipping from 163 to 152.

The rate of residents testing positive for COVID-19 in the county inched down from 7.7 percent to 7.4 percent. The state’s desired threshold is 8 percent. Its case rate per 100,000 residents decreased to 82.1 from 90, but is far higher than the California Department of Public Health threshold of 25 per 100,000 residents.

The change in the three-day average of hospitalized patients went from -6.5 percent to -7.5 percent, which is much lower than the state’s threshold.

A new COVID-19 statistics site has been started that compares five counties statewide, according to UC Irvine.

The site features bar graphs of data since April 30 showing statistics from Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, and Santa Clara counties. The UCI scientists chose those five counties to reflect two counties struggling with the most cases—Orange and Los Angeles—and Alameda and Santa Clara in Northern California, which have been doing better, said Suellen Hopfer, an assistant professor of public health at UCI.

“We do see things got worse in June and July after the lockdown was relaxed,” Hopfer said. “But it is leveling off, which is good.”

As local school officials prepare for classes to begin, county officials are tabulating the number of cases by various age groups. Since the pandemic began, there have been 382 children up to age 3 who have been infected; 500 in the 4- to 9-year-old age group; 383 from 10 to 12 years old; 365 among 13- to 14-year-olds; and 1,332 in the 15- to 18-year-old age group.

Many elementary schools are preparing applications for waivers from the county and state that would allow for in-person classroom teaching up to the sixth-grade level. The state has mandated that schools in counties on the watch list must employ distance learning until they get off the watch list.

About 80 Orange County schools, most of them charter and private schools, have expressed interest in obtaining waivers, Dr. Clayton Chau, the director of the Orange County Health Care Agency as well as the interim county health officer, told reporters on Aug. 7. He also said discussion has perked up among educators and state and county officials regarding holding classes outdoors.