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Orange County says it’s too soon to tell whether COVID-19 surge is finally peaking

A man wears a mask while sweeping outside a restaurant in Laguna Beach.
Javier Garcia wears a mask in Laguna Beach while sweeping outside Broadway by Amar Santana in May. Orange County has seen a surge in coronavirus cases this summer.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

An Orange County health official said Wednesday it was too soon to say whether the county has reached the peak of a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that has been fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant.

“I don’t want to jump to that conclusion yet because we know that it can always change,” Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, the county’s deputy health officer, said, especially if people ease up on protective measures. “And we know, more recently, schools just opened and that can also impact numbers” in coming weeks.

Chinsio-Kwong said that rates of coronavirus cases remain at levels categorized as “high transmission,” although recent rates of positive tests have been reassuring.

As of Thursday morning, 573 people in Orange County were hospitalized with the virus, including 129 in intensive care, according to statistics provided by the county health agency.

California hospitalizations for COVID-19 have continued to rise, reaching more than 8,300 patients

The number of people in ICUs seems to be holding steady, but “our hospitals are challenged with continuing to care for the people who are requiring hospital beds ... so the more we can drive that number down, the better off we are as a county,” Chinsio-Kwong said.

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As it stands, roughly one-fifth of adult beds in the county’s ICUs are available, according to the most recent statistics provided by the Orange County health agency.

Health officials have continued to urge Californians to get vaccinated. Nearly 65% of residents in Los Angeles County have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 56.7% fully vaccinated, according to The Times tracker. The numbers are slightly higher in Orange County.


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