Hospitalizations due to the coronavirus continued to fall sharply in Orange County, declining from 839 Feb. 13 to 790, with the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care dropping from 270 to 257, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
Of the 33 newly reported deaths, four were residents of skilled nursing facilities and two were residents of assisted living facilities. Since the pandemic began, 900 skilled nursing facility residents have died, along with 400 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 county’s state-adjusted intensive care unit bed availability inched up from zero to 0.6 percent on Feb. 11, and the unadjusted figure was 11.3 percent on Feb. 14. The state created the adjusted metric to reflect the difference in beds available for COVID-19 patients and non-coronavirus patients.
The county has 56 percent of its ventilators available.
The Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) also reported 11,328 more tests on Feb. 14, bringing the total to 2,877,267. There have been 213,158 documented recoveries.
The adjusted daily case rate per 100,000 people dropped from 39 Feb. 9 to 29.7 this week, and the test positivity rate on a seven-day average, with a seven-day lag, dropped from 10.9 percent last week to 9.4 percent.
The county’s health equity quartile positivity rate, which measures the cases in highly affected, needier parts of the county, declined from 13.9 percent last week to 12.4 percent.
“The big thing we’re waiting for is what Super Bowl gatherings did to us,” Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee said late last week. “We won’t know that until midway next week. Otherwise, if this good news keeps happening, we might make some move out of the purple tier [soon].”
The numbers for the state’s color-coded tier framework are updated on Tuesdays.
To move to the less-restrictive red tier from the top, purple tier in the state’s coronavirus regulatory system, the county has to improve to 4 to 7 new daily cases per 100,000 and a 5 percent to 8 percent positivity rate with a health equity quartile at 5.3 percent to 8 percent.
Orange County chief executive Frank Kim said, “The testing positivity rate will get there in a few weeks if the trends continue.”
But the case rates per 100,000 are still too high, “so we’re still a ways off from that,” reaching the red tier, Kim said.
“Obviously, my strong interest is not only that the hospital numbers come down, but that they’ll have more capacity to do broader vaccinations,” Kim said.
“There will come a time when vaccine scarcity will not be an issue, and that infrastructure takes time to set up.”
The OCHCA will not update its case count on Feb. 15 due to the Presidents’ Day holiday.