By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County officials are bracing for a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations fueled by Thanksgiving gatherings, even as the numbers are already climbing.

On Wednesday, the county reported 1,199 new COVID-19 cases, raising the cumulative total to 73,152. The death toll reached 1,559 as three more fatalities were announced.

The number of hospitalizations increased from 463 on Tuesday to 479 on Wednesday. ICU patients dropped from 116 to 115.

As of Tuesday, the county’s daily case rate per 100,000 residents jumped to 17.2. The case positivity rate grew to 6.8%.

County CEO Frank Kim said he was “very concerned” about the rise in cases and hospitalizations. “And even though the various hospital (executives) I have conversations with seem more confident today than they were early on in the disease in how to treat it, I’m not taking any of it lightly. Any rise in hospitalizations and ICU rates is a significant concern for our community.”

Even with the Thanksgiving holiday just one day away, officials are urging residents to stay home and limit gatherings. However, if people insist on getting together, officials said they should get tested before and after.

The hope is that increased testing and awareness of infections will encourage more quarantining and isolation and other social distancing practices that help curb the spread of the virus, Kim said.

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