December Deadliest Month on Record for COVID in Orange County

December Deadliest Month on Record for COVID in Orange County
A LifeLine Ambulance arrives at the CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (CHA HPMC) in Los Angeles on Jan. 5, 2021. (Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo)
City News Service

SANTA ANA (CNS)—Orange County health officials Jan. 11 reported another 29 COVID-19 virus fatalities, bringing the death toll to 2,120.

The death reports are staggered and sometimes take weeks to be logged, but it's clear now that December was the deadliest month for the county since the pandemic began, with 410 fatalities reported so far.

That tops the summer peak when 379 died in July and 367 succumbed to coronavirus in August, according to Orange County Health Care Agency statistics.

Last week, the county reported 140 COVID-19 fatalities. Since Sunday, the county has reported 79 deaths.

The county also reported 3,259 new COVID-19 diagnoses on Monday, raising the cumulative total to 191,861.

The number of patients hospitalized with coronavirus edged up from 2,216 on Sunday to 2,221, matching Saturday's count. The number of intensive care unit patients dipped down from a record 547 on Sunday to 544.

Of Jan.11's 29 reported deaths, seven were skilled nursing facility residents and three resided in assisted living facilities. Since the pandemic began, 699 skilled nursing facility residents and 235 assisted living facility residents have died. There were 26,231 tests reported Monday, raising the cumulative total to 2,283,663, according to the OCHCA.

County officials are working on setting up two ``super sites,'' which will be announced this week, where vaccines will be distributed. Orange County chief executive Frank Kim said it is an effort to help hospitals dole out vaccines, as doctors and nurses are too overwhelmed with caring for patients now.

Sheriff's officials reported a steep decline in the number of Orange County Jail inmates infected with coronavirus, putting the number at 279, which includes 25 newly booked prisoners. At the apparent peak of the outbreak late last month, 1,246 were infected.

Sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Breckner said seven inmates are currently hospitalized and the department is awaiting the results of 1,167 tests.

The county's state-adjusted ICU bed availability remains at zero, and the unadjusted figure is 5.9 percent. The state created the adjusted metric to reflect the difference in beds available for COVID-19 patients and non-coronavirus patients.

The Southern California region is at zero ICU availability.