SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County health officials reported 23 COVID-19 fatalities and 429 newly confirmed cases Thursday as the county moves closer to being taken off of the state’s watch list.
To date, the county has reported a total of 856 fatalities and 44,936 cases of the virus since the pandemic began.
Of the deaths reported Thursday, 11 were skilled nursing facility residents and one lived in an assisted living facility.
Since the start of the pandemic, three people 18 to 24 years old have died of coronavirus complications in Orange County, but this was the first death of a person under 18. The girl’s exact age and other details were not released.
Since Sunday, 47 deaths have been reported but due to delays in confirming deaths, many of the fatalities date back to beyond a week or more. Since Sunday, five people have actually died of COVID-19 in Orange County.
The number of people hospitalized dropped from 419 on Wednesday to 400 Thursday. Of those hospitalized, 118 are in intensive care units The county has 32% of intensive care unit beds available, which is better than the state’s 20% threshold. The county’s hospitals also have 58% of their ventilators available, well above the state standard of 25%.
The rate of county residents testing positive for COVID-19 decreased from 5.9% to 5.7%, below the state’s desired threshold of 8%. And the change in the three-day average of hospitalized patients went from -3.9% to -3.3%, which is lower than the state’s threshold.
The county’s case rate per 100,000 residents dropped from 98.6 to 96.6, which is still far higher than the California Department of Public Health threshold of 25 per 100,000 residents.
Because that number is under 100 and the positivity rate is below 8%, the county will be taken off the state’s watch list soon under newly outlined metrics, Orange County CEO Frank Kim said Wednesday.
Officials expect it could happen by Saturday, and if the county can stay off the list for 14 days, schools can reopen for in-class education.
Out of the 44,936 cases reported in the county, there have been 36,596 documented recoveries. To date, 571,931 COVID-19 tests have been conducted, including 6,545 reported Wednesday.
As students go back to school, Orange County officials are keeping an eye on cases among children. The state is allowing schools in grades up to sixth to apply for a waiver from all online learning.
As of Wednesday, 451 children up to 3 years old have tested positive for COVID-19; 621 4-9 years old; 477 between 10 and 12; 453 between 13 and 14; and 1,585 between 15 and 18.
The county submitted waivers to the state for 10 schools on Tuesday and they were approved by the state on Wednesday, Kim said.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)