The relatively low case count could be due to a glitch in the state's reporting system, officials said.By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County officials reported 245 more cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county’s total to 41,823.

The county also reported 11 more virus-related deaths. So far, 745 people have died from coronavirus complications since the pandemic began.

The relatively low case count could be due to a glitch in the state’s reporting system, officials said. The issue is expected to be repaired by the end of the week. Cases counts have been fairly uneven since Sunday, as officials catch up on the backlog.

“Because of the technical issue at the state level, the case rate and testing positivity rate were lower than we anticipated they should be,” said Dr. Clayton Chau, Orange County Health Care Agency director and the county’s interim chief health officer. “Clearly, there was something wrong with the system. The state said it would be resolved by the end of the
week at the latest.”

Chau said he is hopeful that the newly reported backlog will not impact the county’s status, because hospitalizations have been trending downward and those numbers are not affected by the backlog.

Of the deaths reported on Wednesday, three were skilled nursing facility residents and one was an assisted living facility resident. So far, 290 skilled nursing facility residents have died due to coronavirus-related complications. Additionally, 42 assisted living facility residents and one person experiencing homelessness have died.

The county’s hospitalizations went down again on Wednesday, dipping from 441 to 440. The number of patients in intensive care remained at 141.

The rate of residents testing positive is also decreasing, from 8.3% on Tuesday to 7.7% on Wednesday. The state’s threshold to stay off the watch list is 8%.

The county’s rate per 100,000 residents increased, though, from 103.9 to 109.4. This is higher than the California Department of Public Health threshold of 25 per 100,000 residents.

Additionally, 32% of Orange County’s ICU beds are available, which is better than the state’s threshold of 20%. The county also has 63% of ventilators available, which is higher than the state’s standard of 25%.

Since the pandemic began. 504,559 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Orange County, including 5,917 on Wednesday. There have been 32,218 documented recoveries.

As local schools prepare for classes to begin — possibly in person — county officials are keeping track of the number of cases among different age groups.

There have been 412 children up to age 3 who have been infected; 557 in the 4-to-9-year-old age group; 428 from 10 to 12 years old; 412 among 13- to 14-year-olds; and 1,439 in the 15- to 18-year-old age group.

Chau said about 20 Orange County schools have applied for waivers from the county and state that would allow for in-person classroom teaching up to the sixth-grade level. The state has mandated that schools in counties on the watch list must employ distance learning until they get off the watch list.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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