COVID-19 hospitalizations rise to over 200 in Orange County, officials encourage safe practices

Masked volunteers fill plates at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana.
Volunteers wearing masks fill plates during the traditional Thanksgiving dinner and turkey giveaway at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana. COVID-19 hospitalizations reached 203 this week in Orange County.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

COVID-19 hospitalizations reached 203 this week, and 32 patients are being treated in intensive care units, according to weekly data reported by the Orange County Health Care Agency on Wednesday.

This is up from the 175 reported last week. Data indicate that about 68% of those hospitalized did not complete the primary series of vaccination. Of the patients in intensive care, 68.4% haven’t completed their primary series.

Countywide, 1,959 COVID-19 cases were reported this week and 23,223 tests were conducted. Test positivity sits at around 6.8%, which matches the health equity quartile positivity rate.

About 2 million residents in Orange County are fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

County health officials are encouraging residents to not only get vaccinated against COVID-19 but also to get their annual flu shot. Officials statewide raised the alarm for a possible combined triple threat of respiratory syncytial virus (commonly referred to by its acronym RSV), the flu and COVID-19 that could strain hospitals and their resources as the holiday season begins.

Orange County declared an RSV health emergency in early November and, though the last few influenza seasons have been milder due to precautionary measures taken in response to the pandemic, many of those previous restrictions no longer exist.

“We encourage the public practice preventive measures throughout the Thanksgiving holiday and winter season: Wear a mask in public areas, practice good hand hygiene, practice respiratory hygiene and stay home if you are sick,” county health officer Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong said Wednesday. “If feeling ill, the public should get tested [for the flu or COVID-19], as there are treatments available for both.

“There are many ways to get access to care: Telehealth, primary care, urgent care and hospitals are all options. We can all get through this fall [and] winter safely, but it requires everyone to take precautions to minimize further burdening of an already taxed health system.”

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