SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County officials Friday reported six coronavirus-related deaths along with 209 newly confirmed cases.

The new numbers brought the county’s totals to 1,281, deaths and 54,118 cases since the pandemic began.

Four of the six reported dead on Friday were skilled nursing facility residents. Since the pandemic began, 461 of the deaths were skilled nursing facility residents and 89 lived in assisted living facilities.

Of the seven deaths reported Thursday, two were skilled nursing facility residents. Since the pandemic began, 457 of the fatalities have involved skilled nursing facility residents and 89 were assisted living facility residents.

Orange County CEO Frank Kim said he was concerned to see the case rate rise above 200.

“I’m concerned,” Kim said. “I want to see those numbers smaller… The general trend is a slow, steady rise in caseloads. We’re not seeing any significant particular industry sector that is causing it. It’s generally throughout the community.”

Hospitalizations rose from 158 on Thursday to 175 on Friday, while the number of patients in intensive care inched up from 45 to 48.

The positivity rate, which is reported each Tuesday, stands at 3.1%, the same as last week, but the daily case rate per 100,000 people went up from 3.6 to 4.4, which is higher than the cutoff of 3.9 to qualify for the state’s orange tier.

The new metrics mean the county will remain in the red tier for at least another two weeks, but there is hope the trend will continue and the county will be able to move up to the orange tier by mid-October.

According to Dr. Clayton Chau, the director of the Health Care Agency and the county’s chief health officer, last Thursday’s and Friday’s numbers put the county over the top.

“We’ve had a few days of uptick in numbers, small but significant to affect our tier system,” Chau told the Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Chau said it appears that Labor Day gatherings led to the increase.

Orange County CEO Frank Kim said young adults renting out vacation residences for parties could hinder the county’s numbers.

The OCHCA has reported 881,030 COVID-19 tests have been conducted, including 10,569 reported Friday.

Of the 54,118 cases, there have been 48,734 documented recoveries.

To qualify for the orange tier, the positivity rate must be 2%-4%, and the case rate per 100,000 must be 1%-3.9%.

Moving to the orange tier would allow retail businesses could operate at full capacity as well as shopping malls.

The orange tier also boosts capacity for churches, restaurants, movies, museums, zoos and aquariums from 25% capacity to half capacity. Gyms and fitness centers could boost capacity 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 under the orange tier.

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

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