According to data released by the Orange County Health Care Agency, there were 1,996 new positive cases received Aug. 2, which includes cases from during the weekend, bringing the total number of positive cases to 266,167.
Two additional COVID-19-related deaths were reported, bringing the cumulative death count in the county to 5,143.
There were 322 people hospitalized with the virus on Aug. 2, up from 252 on July 30. There were 68 people being treated in intensive care units, a jump from 59 on July 30. There haven’t been this many people hospitalized with COVID-19 since March 5.
Andrew Noymer, a University of California–Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, said the increase in hospitalizations is worrisome.
“We’re seeing daily increases in cases and hospitalizations, and that’s concerning,” Noymer told City News Service. “Last summer’s peak was in the 600s, but we’re rocketing up now. Last summer was more of a slow build-up and now it looks like we’re really shooting up. I am worried about that. If we’re over 400 hospitalizations by the end of the week, that’s concerning to me.”
Positive cases have increased dramatically just in the month of July, which is happening both in Orange County and nationwide due to the Delta variant.
The variant, which originated in India, has the ability to infect vaccinated and unvaccinated people due to its mutation. A recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) study showed that during a July 3 COVID-19 outbreak in Massachusetts, approximately 75 percent of the 469 positive cases were from people who were vaccinated.
This is evident in Orange County as well, as data from July 23 showed 562 new positive cases. One week earlier, July 16, the county reported just 302 daily cases. There were 183 cases on July 9, and 117 cases on July 2.
There are 1,897,664 fully vaccinated people in Orange County; another 218,585 people have received a single dose of either Pfizer or Moderna, which each require two doses to be considered fully inoculated. Out of a 3.2 million population, it means 66 percent of people are at least partially vaccinated.
“It’s certainly above the national average,” Noymer said of Orange County’s level of vaccination. “It’s not bad. Obviously, I’d like to see it higher. Let’s just hope it keeps going higher.”
The case rate per 100,000 increased to 12.2, with testing positivity increasing to 6.9 percent overall, with 6.6 percent in the health equity quartile, which measure how much COVID impacts disadvantaged communities.
Orange County chief executive Frank Kim told City News Service that the difference in positivity rate is due to a surge in COVID cases among the coastal cities.
“A lot of the new infections are happening in communities that are not historically part of the lower health equity communities,” Kim said.