By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County health officials reported 29 additional coronavirus-related deaths and 369 new cases on Thursday.

The new numbers bring the county’s totals to 947 fatalities and 47,459 cases since the pandemic began.

Of the deaths reported Thursday, 11 were skilled nursing facility residents. Of the total death toll, 362 were skilled nursing facility residents and 59 lived in assisted living facilities.

Since Sunday, the county has reported 52 COVID-19 fatalities. Last week, 87 deaths were recorded, and the week prior saw 89 fatalities reported.

On Sunday, Orange County was removed from the state’s watch list. The state mandates that a county stay off the list for 15 days before schools can reopen. However, supervisor Lisa Bartlett said that being off the watch list does not mean that more businesses — such as personal services, shopping malls, restaurants, and bars — will reopen for indoor services.

Dr. Clayton Chau, the county’s chief health officer and director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that he was “optimistically confident” that the county will remain off the state’s watch list.

MORE: Orange County To Open Second COVID-19 Testing Super Site At OC Fair & Event Center

Chau said the only sector that will be able to reopen after the waiting period is schools, but he is “hopeful” that the state will issue new guidelines to soon reopen more businesses.

“There’s a conversation between the state health officer and all the other county health officers on how do we reopen the other business sectors safely,” he said.

Hospitalizations dropped from 399 Wednesday to 372 on Thursday, while the number of patients in the ICU dipped from 113 to 112.

The county’s case rate per 100,000 residents ticked up from 80.7 to 82.1, which is well above the California Department of Public Health threshold of 25 per 100,000 residents.

The county has 31% of intensive care unit beds available, which is better than the state’s 20% threshold. And the county’s hospitals have 60% of their ventilators available, well above the state standard of 25%.

Of the 47,459 cases, there have been 39,678 documented recoveries. The O.C. Health Care Agency said that 616,911 coronavirus tests have been conducted so far, with 5,767 reported on Thursday.

Orange County could be placed back on the watch list should it be flagged for exceeding any one of six different metrics for three consecutive days. Those metrics are the case rate, the percentage of positive tests, the average number of tests a county is able to perform daily, changes in the number of hospitalized patients and the percentage of ventilators and intensive care beds available.

A new “super site” for COVID-19 testing like the one at Anaheim Convention Center opened Wednesday at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.

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


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