By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations, which fell below 200 on Wednesday, ticked back up Thursday, although the county’s ICU numbers continued to decline.

Hospitalizations dropped from 216 on Tuesday to 199 Wednesday but were back up to 213 on Thursday. The number of patients being treated in intensive care unit dropped from 54 Wednesday to 49 on Thursday.

READ MORE: Man Fatally Shot In Officer-Involved Shooting In San Fernando

Andrew Noymer, a UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, said the one-day increase is “just a bit of noise” and likely insignificant, though he stressed that hospitalization rates are the key metric for the public to watch for.

“As cases fall and testing goes up the case rates can be deceptively misleading,” Noymer said. “The hospitalizations is what you really want to look for… and they’re going in the right direction.”

Noymer also mentioned t intensive care unit numbers in the county haven’t been below 50 in months.

“The number one predictor of deaths is people in the ICU — like a few weeks prior,” Noymer said.

The county’s case rate as of Wednesday was 3.8 per 100,000 residents, although that doesn’t automatically propel the county into the orange tier. Moving to the orange tier won’t happen until April 7 if the current trends continue unless the state approves an earlier date.

READ MORE: Man Fatally Shot In Rowland Heights

Meanwhile Thursday, the Orange County Health Care Agency reported 114 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 additional deaths.

The numbers brought the county’s caseload to 249,181 and the cumulative death toll to 4,522.

Kim said he was a “little nervous” about another surge such as the one being reported in Europe.

“The goal is to get these vaccines done and that’s it,” Kim said.

Lines are appearing at some local pharmacies as vaccines are ramped up at drug store chains. County staff has estimated that the big drug store chains are vaccinating about 100 people a day in each location, Kim said.

As of Thursday, the county has inoculated about 1 million people, a little less than one-third of its population.

MORE NEWS: LAUSD Begins Phased-In Reopening Starting This Week

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