By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County reported 335 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths Wednesday.

The new numbers brought the county’s total to 63,165 cases and 1,514 deaths since the pandemic began.

On Tuesday, state officials announced the county would remain in the red tier of California’s monitoring system for at least another week, as the rising cases put the county at risk of lapsing back into the most restrictive purple tier by next week.

To move to the less-restrictive orange tier, which would allow more businesses to open or increase capacity, the daily average of new cases would have to come down to about 130.

In order to stay in the red tier, without falling back to purple, the county must stay under 229 new daily cases.

As of Wednesday, the number of hospitalizations rose from 224 to 244 while the number of intensive care unit patients jumped from 79 to 83, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

The change in the three-day average of hospitalized patients went from 13.7% to 16.6%. The county has 31% of its intensive care unit beds and 63% of its ventilators available.

According to OCHCA data, 1,206,059 COVID-19 tests have been conducted since the start of the pandemic, including 8,197 reported Wednesday. There have been 55,559 documented recoveries.

The county’s positivity rate, which is reported each Tuesday, actually declined from 3.6% to 3.3% this week, and the daily case rate per 100,000 population decreased from 6 to 5.6.

The county’s Health Equity Quartile Positivity Rate, which measures a county’s response to virus hot spots, decreased from 5.7% to 5.5%. The county has to reach at least 5.2% in that metric to move into the orange tier.

Orange County CEO Frank Kim cautioned that the weekly metrics reflect last week’s statistics. Next week, the county’s case rate per 100,000 might jump to about 8, which exceeds the 4 to 7 rate in the red tier.

“Every county in Southern California is reporting the same exact root cause — people mixing outside their stable cohorts with informal get-togethers,” he said.

“The good news is we’re red and we survive another week, but the bad news is we’re trending in the wrong direction,” Kim said.

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

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