By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — The Orange County Health Care Agency Wednesday reported 237 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and seven more deaths, bringing countywide totals to 60,841 cases and 1,491 deaths. There have been 54,170 documented recoveries.

While the number of deaths has been trending downward over the past few weeks, the number of hospitalizations continues to climb with 182 hospitalized Wednesday, 78 of whom were being treated in intensive care units.

But, despite increasing hospitalizations, the county remained in the state’s red tier with a 7-day positivity rate of 3.6%, a daily case rate of 6 per 100,000 and a health equity rate of 5.7%.

“We’re hanging on to red, so we’re happy about that, but we’re seeing a slow rise in case rates when we look at what’s happening with our peers,” Orange County CEO Frank Kim said. “We know our residents and their residents come and go between the counties and it’s obviously a communicable disease so we’re concerned about our peers.”

In order to move into the orange tier, the state has to maintain a 7-day positivity rate below 4.9%, a daily case rate below 3.9 per 100,000 residents and a health equity rate below 5.2% for two consecutive weeks.

For the county to continue moving toward those metrics, and being allowed to reopen additional business sectors, Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the OCHCA and the county’s chief health officer, encouraged people to continue following local health orders.

“We are encouraging our community to, number one, if they’re sick they need to stay home,” he said. “We encourage people to get their regular flu vaccine and because the weather is getting colder, a lot of activity will move indoors, so we encourage people to be really careful and follow (public health guidelines).”

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

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