ORANGE COUNTY, CA— It is the first day of the third week Orange County has hovered in the Substantial (Red) Tier of California's coronavirus tracking system. Without more testing, Orange County Supervisors fear the county will be held back from forging ahead in the reopening framework.
On Monday, the county reports 138 new coronavirus cases and an unchanged death toll of 1,128.
On Monday, Orange County averaged 4.7 positive cases per 100,000 residents, and had a 3.9 percent positive testing rate. According to the state, when case rates and positivity measures fall in two different tiers, the county is assigned the more restrictive tier's guidelines.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations in the county dropped from 194 Sunday to 178 Monday, with the number of patients in intensive care dipping from 65 to 64, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The OCHCA reported that 798,188 COVID-19 tests have been conducted, including 4,485 reported Monday. There have been 46,948 documented recoveries.
Since the pandemic began, 423 skilled-nursing facility residents and 77 assisted-living facility residents in Orange County have succumbed to the coronavirus.
The county has 65% of its ventilators available and 35% of its intensive care unit beds. The change in 3-day average hospitalized patients stands at -4.5%.
The county's daily case count per 100,000 people fell from 5.2 last week to 4.7, and the seven-day rate of residents testing positive for the coronavirus dropped from 4.2% last week to 3.9%.
Orange County was upgraded from the most restrictive purple tier to the red tier earlier this month. The move allowed for churches, theaters and other businesses to resume indoor operations, but with strict limits on capacity and other health measures in place.
Theaters, restaurants and churches are restricted to 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. Museums, zoos and aquariums also were allowed to reopen indoor activities at 25% capacity. Shopping centers were given the green light to expand from 25% capacity to half-capacity under the red tier, while gyms were allowed to reopen at 10% capacity.
All schools will be allowed to reopen for in-class instruction by Tuesday, according to OCHCA Director Dr. Clayton Chau, who said the return to in-person instruction will happen in phases.
Safe Return For Capo Students As Schools Reopening Plans Continue
Some school districts will remain on distance learning, and some will stagger reopenings, he said Thursday.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, all districts started the school year with students learning completely online.
Last week, the Board of Supervisors approved a plan to set up drive- thru flu vaccine clinics in each of the county's five districts to help stave off a potential "twindemic" of the flu and COVID-19 this fall, along with a plan to expand testing to reach residents who are of Asian-Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern and North African heritage.
"The Latino community remains the highest hot spot in the county, but the next highest is the API community as well as Middle Eastern and North African," Supervisor Andrew Do said then. "This shows the board is very proactive in trying to address potential hot spots."
Officials in Orange County cities that are home to large venues such as theme parks appealed to the state last week for guidance on reopenings so they can better prepare. The state shutdown order of March 14 affected Disneyland, the Anaheim Convention Center, the Honda Center and Angel Stadium in Anaheim and Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said last Wednesday that the state plans to make announcements "soon" relating to reopening guidelines for theme parks.
City News Service, Ashley Ludwig contributed to this report.