Orange and Los Angeles Counties Continue Downward COVID Trend

January 31, 2021 Updated: January 31, 2021

SANTA ANA—Orange County reported 1,355 new cases of COVID-19 and 44 additional deaths Jan. 31, bringing the county’s totals to 232,391 cases and 3,062 fatalities.

The number of CCP virus patients in county hospitals continued its downward trend, declining from 1,442 Jan. 31 to 1,412, with the number of patients in intensive care dropping from 394 to 392.

The county’s state-adjusted intensive care unit (ICU) bed availability remains at zero, and the unadjusted figure decreased slightly from 9.9 percent Jan. 30 to 9.8 percent.

The state created the adjusted metric to reflect the difference in beds available for COVID-19 patients and non-CCP virus patients. The county has 48 percent of its ventilators available.

Of the fatalities reported Jan. 31, three were residents of skilled nursing facilities and six were residents of assisted living facilities. Since the pandemic began, 830 residents of skilled nursing facilities have died from the virus, along with 320 residents of assisted living facilities.

The death reports are staggered because they come from a variety of sources and are not always logged immediately.

The Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) reported 16,044 tests on Jan. 31, for a total of 2,681,673. There have been 175,513 documented recoveries, according to the OCHCA.

The county’s large-scale vaccination site at Disneyland, which was shut down Jan. 29 because of stormy weather, reopened Jan. 30. Vaccines were also being doled out at an indoor site at Soka University in Aliso Viejo.

Orange County chief executive Frank Kim said last week he was frustrated that officials don’t have a long-term view of when more vaccines will arrive.

“We need an estimate two weeks out,” Kim said. “That would address a lot of concerns people have. We can’t schedule beyond two or three days out.”

Kim said hospitals are also ramping up inoculations.

Outbreaks—defined as at least two cases over the past two weeks—were reported in 26 skilled nursing facilities and 37 elderly assisted living facilities in the county as of Jan. 29.

Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa—which was set up to handle overflow from local hospitals—was treating 30 patients, 20 from Orange County, seven from Los Angeles County, two from Riverside County, and one from San Bernardino County.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County reported 5,925 new cases of COVID-19 and 124 additional deaths on Jan. 31, bringing the county’s totals to 1,116,892 cases and 16,770 fatalities.

The county’s COVID-19 hospitalization rate continues to decline, with 5,328 CCP virus patients hospitalized as of Jan. 31, down from 5,669 the day before, with 27 percent of those patients in the ICU.

The county’s hospitalization rate has been dropping steadily since it peaked at more than 8,000 in early January.

The latest numbers came one day after health officials confirmed the second local case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, first discovered in the United Kingdom, and four additional cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

The B.1.1.7 specimen, submitted by a clinical facility, was sequenced as part of routine surveillance by the county’s Public Health Laboratory. The first confirmed case of B.1.1.7 was logged on Jan. 16, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Officials believe the B.1.1.7 and other variants are already spreading in the county, and they’re continuing to test samples. B.1.1.7 is considered more contagious, and possibly more deadly, than the original strain of COVID-19.

The four additional cases of MIS-C bring the total number in the county to 66 children, including one child death. All 66 children with MIS-C in LA County were hospitalized, and 44 percent of the children were treated in the ICU. Of the 66, 32 percent were under the age of 5, 38 percent were between the ages of 5 and 11, and 30 percent were between the ages of 12 and 20.

Latino children account for nearly 74 percent of the reported cases, the department said.

MIS-C is an inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19, and symptoms include fever that doesn’t go away and inflamed body parts, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

Meanwhile, some elected officials were condemning the actions of anti-vaccination protesters who caused a brief disruption at Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 30.

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) closed the gates from 1:50 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Jan. 30 to keep protesters out, according to LAFD Firefighter David Ortiz.

The Los Angeles Police Department estimated there were about 50 protesters. The group was expressing opposition to both the vaccine and government shutdown orders, with some calling the entire coronavirus pandemic a hoax.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis condemned “the actions of the mask-less anti-vaccine protesters.”

“What they did today amounts to intentional sabotage of an effort to keep our community healthy and get ahead of alarming variants making their way into Los Angeles County,” Solis wrote on Twitter.

Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de Leon called what occurred at Dodger Stadium “intimidation, not protests.”

“Anyone obstructing vaccinations must be held accountable,” de Leon wrote on Twitter.

No arrests were reported, and officials said everyone who showed up with an appointment for a vaccine was able to get one.