By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County inched closer to moving from the purple tier to the less restrictive red tier Monday as coronavirus cases continued to decline.

Health officials reported 253 new COVID-19 cases Monday and logged 38 additional deaths. The numbers brought the county’s caseload to 244,885 and the death toll to 3,848.

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Of the 38 deaths reported Monday, eight were skilled nursing facility residents and three were assisted living facility residents, hiking the death tolls among those populations to 948 and 431, respectively.

Hospitalizations also continued a downward trend, dropping from 577 Sunday to 556 Monday. The number of people hopsitalized with coronavirus also declined from 190 to 179, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

The county has 15.9% of its ICU beds available and 59% of its ventilators.

The daily test positivity rate was 5.4% on Monday, the equity rate for minority residents in hot spots, was at 7%, and the case rate per 100,000 was at 11.7, Orange County CEO Frank Kim said.

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“Those are good numbers,” Kim said. “That would get us access to a lot of sports that a lot of the community wants… We’re not at the red tier yet, but we’re going down about one point a day.”

Kim also reported a dip in demand for COVID-19 testing.

“There’s been a reduction in the amount of people seeking testing,” Kim said. “It’s not that we’re testing at a low rate, but if you see a decline in cases and testing that tells you there aren’t a lot of cases because they move in parallel.”

The county’s test positivity rate was 7.8% and the adjusted case rate per 100,000 was 20.7. The Health Equity Quartile Positivity Rate, which reflects the rates in lower-income minority neighborhood hot spots, was at 10.7%.

To get to the red tier, the county has to have a case rate per 100,000 of 4 to 7, positivity rate of 5 to 8% and a Health Equity Quartile rate of 5.3 to 8%. These metrics are updated every Tuesday.

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