According to state data released every Tuesday, the county’s average daily new case rate per 100,000 residents edged up from 1 last week to 1.5, while the overall test positivity rate ticked up from 0.9 percent to 1.2 percent.
The county’s Health Equity Quartile rate, which measures positivity in hot spots in disadvantaged communities, climbed from 1.1 percent last week to 1.4 percent.
“We’re seeing growth in cases and test positivity,” Orange County chief executive Frank Kim told City News Service. “While it’s not a surprise, anytime you see growth in numbers you still worry, but we still have close to 30 percent of our population who are unvaccinated so you worry about those with a greater risk of complications if they get infected.”
Kim said it was not surprising given the lifting of restrictions in mid-June.
“But we’d love to see a leveling of that so there’s just a small bump over the holiday weekend and beginning of summer,” he said.
Kim noted that hospitalization rates have remained steady over the past month.
On July 1, there were 70 patients hospitalized. As of July 6, there were 73, but the number of patients in intensive care ticked down from 13 last week to 11 as of the July 6 report, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The county reported 331 new infections from Saturday through Tuesday, raising the cumulative total to 256,776. The county has also logged two fatalities since last week, both in June, raising the overall death toll to 5,124.
The death toll now stands at nine for June, 22 for May, 42 for April, 198 for March, 610 for February, 1,560 for January—the deadliest month of the pandemic—and 966 for December, the next deadliest.
“It’s hard to argue the vaccines don’t work,” Kim said, noting the death toll has gone down significantly and hospitalizations for serious illness related to the virus have remained low.
Seniors, who are most at risk of dying from complications of COVID-19, are 85 percent inoculated in the county.
The highest number of recent infections are coming from the 25-to-34 age group, which is among the lowest vaccinated in the county, Kim said. Of the new infections reported Tuesday, 86 were 25-to-34, 59 were 35-to-44, 53 were 45-to-54, 39 were 18-to-24 and 48 were children, Kim said.
In contrast, only six were older than 85, five were 75-to-84, eight were 65-to-74 and 28 were 55-to-64, Kim said.
As of June 30, the county had 1,779,309 fully vaccinated residents. Of those, 1,663,883 received both doses and 244,757 had received one shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, which require two doses. Another 115,426 people have received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The county recently stopped reporting data daily and on weekends and now just issues updates once a week.
“I don’t endorse that,” Andrew Noymer, a University of California–Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, told City News Service last week. “It wouldn’t kill them to print daily numbers. I think it should still be daily.”