By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County health officials reported 50 additional COVID-19 fatalities Thursday as hospitalizations and case counts continued to decline.

Officials also announced 602 coronavirus cases on Thursday. The newly reported numbers brought the county’s death toll to 3,249 and the caseload to 235,310.

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People walk at a mass COVID-19 vaccination site in a parking lot for Disneyland Resort on January 13, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Of the deaths reported Thursday, two were skilled nursing facility residents, bringing the total to 852 and six were assisted living facility residents, totaling 356 since the pandemic began.

The number of coronavirus patients in hospitals in Orange County continued its downward trend, dropping from 1,298 Wednesday to 1,238 on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the number of patients in intensive care inched up from 363 to 365, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

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Hospitalizations have come down nearly 19% since a week ago, and the ICU rate has dipped nearly 18% in that period, Orange County CEO Frank Kim said Wednesday.

“It’s kind of a similar pattern — they’re both coming down pretty fast,” he said. “Our testing volume remains strong, which is outstanding, so that gives you more confidence (in the positivity rate). If we had lower testing volumes I’d be more skeptical of the number. We’re moving in the right direction. It’s just going to be a while.”

The OCHCA reported 17,063 COVID-19 tests on Thursday, bringing the total to 2,733,220.

To move to the less-restrictive red tier from the top purple tier in the state’s coronavirus regulatory system, the county has to improve to 4 to 7 new daily cases per 100,000 and a 5% to 8% positivity rate with a health equity quartile at 5.3% to 8%.

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