By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County reported an additional 29 COVID-19 fatalities Thursday, raising the death toll to 2,868, but hospitalization rates continued a downward trend.

Of the fatalities reported, two were assisted living facility residents. The fatalities raised the death toll to 310 assisted living facility residents with 813 skilled nursing facility residents who have succumbed to the virus.

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Thursday’s report boosted December’s coronavirus death toll to 746 with two additional fatalities happening on Dec. 7 and 8.

So far in January, 424 people have died of coronavirus-related causes in the county. The death reports come from a variety of sources and are delayed, so the numbers will keep rising through next month.

Andrew Noymer, a UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, said that at the rate of the past week, it would take 22 days for the county’s death toll to reach 4,000.

“It’s just a question of when, not if,” Noymer said.

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Hospitalization rates, however, continued a downward trend Thursday.

The number of people hospitalized dropped from 1,639 on Wednesday to 1,592 on Thursday and the number of people in intensive care units declined from 448 to 439.

The county’s state-adjusted ICU bed availability remains at zero, and the unadjusted figure ticked down from 10.1% Wednesday to 8.5% Thursday.

The county reported 1,276 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the caseload total to 228,297.

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