SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County officials reported 133 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional fatalities Monday. Although the county’s trends continue to improve, the county will not move out of the red tier of the state’s monitoring system by Tuesday as officials previously had hoped.
The new numbers bring the county’s totals to 53,448 cases while the death toll remains at 1,216.
Hospitalizations also dipped from 165 Sunday to 161 Monday while 46 people remained in intensive care.
According to officials, the reporting of fewer than 200 new cases was a good sign as the county continues to eye the case rate in hopes to move up from the red tier to the less restrictive orange tier.
The positivity rates and cases per 100,000 people are updated on Tuesdays.
Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said there is concern about a see-sawing back and forth between the red and orange tiers, because if the county has to step back a tier that locks it into place for at least three weeks even if the metrics match a less-restrictive tier.
“We have some credits that can be applied” to move up to the orange tier Tuesday, Bartlett said. “But I don’t think it’s enough. We won’t know till we hear from the state (later Monday)… We’re going to be at or just above (the red tier) is my guess.”
It’s possible that recent spikes in case rates can be attributed to Labor Day get-togethers and students returning to in-class instruction, but the experts do not know for sure, Bartlett said.
The Orange County Health Care Agency also reported that 849,985 COVID-19 tests have been conducted as of Monday, including 3,089 reported that day. To date, there have been 47,955 documented recoveries.
Since the pandemic began, 446 of the deaths were among skilled nursing facility residents, and 85 among assisted living facility residents.
The overall positivity rate went from 3.9% to 3.1%, and the daily case count per 100,000 people dropped from 4.7 to 3.6 last week.
To qualify for the orange tier, the positivity rate must be 2 to 4%, and the case rate per 100,000 must be 1 to 3.9%.
Moving up to the orange tier would allow retail businesses to operate at full capacity, instead of the current 50%. Shopping malls also could operate at full capacity, but with closed common areas and reduced food courts.
Churches, restaurants, movies, museums, zoos and aquariums could also move up to half capacity from the current 25%. Gyms and fitness centers could also increase from 10% to 25% and reopen pools.
Family entertainment centers like bowling alleys and wall-climbing would also be able to open indoors to 25% capacity.