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Orange County COVID-19 hospitalizations flare up as Fourth of July weekend nears

A 2016 fireworks show over Newport Dunes in Newport Beach.
As locals plan to celebrate Independence Day with in-person gatherings, health officials reported Tuesday COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased 16.8% over last week.
(File Photo)

As Orange County residents look forward to celebrating the upcoming Fourth of July weekend with a host of in-person gatherings, local health officials are beginning to see an uptick in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Figures provided Tuesday by the Orange County Health Care Agency indicate the average number of COVID-19 hospitalizations reported from Friday through Monday had eclipsed the 200-mark, with a total of 209 patients — a 16.8% increase from figures provided last week and a nearly 10% jump in the three-day average.

In that same period, an additional 3,688 infections were reported, bringing the county’s cumulative number of cases to 600,229. So far, a total of 7,103 Orange County residents have died from the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Since the hyper-transmissible Omicron variant appeared in early December, the coronavirus has affected nearly every family and social circle.

As statewide cases near 10 million, health officials say the hyper-transmissible Omicron variant is spreading to individuals who’d previously escaped infection. Nearly half of California’s infections have been recorded since Omicron’s presence was confirmed on Dec. 1, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a UC San Francisco infectious-disease expert urged residents to remain vigilant in their efforts to stop the spread of the virus, despite its ubiquity.

“It’s going to get easier and easier to get and harder to escape infection. But that doesn’t mean we put ourselves in a sort of mind-set that, ‘You know, to hell with it. I’m just going to do anything I want to do anyway,’” he told The Times Friday.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended COVID-19 vaccines for children between 6 months and 5 years of age. Though the availability of Orange County doses remains unclear, officials advised parents and guardians to contact healthcare providers or search online at vaccines.gov for local supplies.

As of Tuesday, more than 2.3 million residents countywide had been fully vaccinated, while nearly 1.34 million had received at least one additional dose or booster shot, OCHA reported.

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