By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County’s hospitalizations for COVID-19 dropped below 200 again on Saturday.

There are now 197 people hospitalized for the virus. The number of patients in ICUs also dropped to 43.

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Orange County also reported 118 new cases of COVID-19 and 26 virus-related fatalities.

Officials are eyeing when the county might move into the orange tier of the state’s reopening system, given the positive trends in key metrics.

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The case rate is currently 4 per 100,000 residents, but that does not automatically propel the county into the orange tier. That will not happen until April 7 at the earliest if the current trends continue.

Orange County CEO Frank Kim said the county could make it to the orange tier sooner if the state authorizes it, as it did when officials allowed the county to move into the red tier early.

The county’s advancement could also hinge on the number of people vaccinated.

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