By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Despite continuing good news on COVID-19 statistics, Orange County reached one unfortunate milestone Thursday when its coronavirus death toll surpassed the 4,000 mark.

On Thursday, the county logged 47 more fatalities bringing the total number of deaths to 4,013 since the pandemic began.

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Of the deaths reported on Thursday, six were skilled nursing facility residents and seven were assisted living facility residents, raising the cumulative in those groups to 963 and 453, respectively.

Meanwhile Thursday, the county reported 160 additional COVID-19cases bringing the caseload to 247,140.

Hospitalization rates continued to decline. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped from 403 on Wednesday to 379, while the number of those in intensive care units decreased from 107 on Wednesday to 97.

“Our daily numbers are positive, so I’m hoping that next week when the state runs its weekly tier listing that we’re in the red,” Orange County CEO Frank Kim said.

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Dr. Clayton Chau, the county’s chief health officer and director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, expects the county to graduate up to the red tier by March 17, St. Patrick’s Day.

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

The county’s test positivity rate improved to 3.9% from 5.4% last week, and the adjusted case rate per 100,000 on a seven-day average with a seven-day lag improved from 11.9 to 7.6.

The Health Equity Quartile Positivity Rate, which reflects the rates in hot spots in disadvantaged neighborhoods, improved from 7% to 5%. That puts the positivity rates in orange and the case rate in purple.

Under the red tier, more businesses and organizations would be allowed to reopen. Retail stores would be able to have half capacity instead of 25%, and museums, zoos and aquariums could reopen for indoor activities at 25% capacity, as could movie theaters, gyms and restaurants.

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