Orange County Coronavirus Vaccine Appointments In Short Supply

Ashley Ludwig

ORANGE COUNTY, CA—A website for vaccination appointments in Orange County drew over 100 million hits this week as frustrated residents attempted to protect themselves from coronavirus.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors expects thousands of more doses of the vaccine next week, they say.

The county expects 35,000 more doses next week, Dr. Clayton Chau said, adding that OC is handling distribution of about 20 percent of the doses sent from the state, with healthcare providers doling out the rest.

The goal is to vaccinate all over 65-years-old to protect the county's most vulnerable population. Many elderly residents Patch talked with are confused by the current vaccination appointment model or are anxious to drive as far as Disneyland from their homes.

Other residents remain frustrated by the app, which merely takes their information and suggests they "bookmark the page" and "check back for future appointments."

Meanwhile, the new vaccination Super POD site in Anaheim has been operating "much smoother today," Kim said. When the county gets more vaccines, other points of distribution will open, they say.

Read: Disneyland Vaccination Site Opens, Othena Registration Struggles

The registration website suffered multiple crashes throughout its first day as residents sought vaccination appointments.

Still, drawing about 100 million page visits overnight was a win, according to Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee.

With only 3.2 million residents in Orange County, the large volume of hits suggests that individual users made multiple attempts to make appointments.

Drivers who showed up at the Disneyland Resort-based Vaccination Point Of Distribution were turned away if they could not show a valid appointment time for the day.

"(Othena) was the number one hit for Google we found out," Chaffee said. "It blew me away." The trend, he says, " tells you how much they want to get vaccinated."

It's not clear how many times the Othena app has been downloaded on smartphones.

Patch has reached out for comments on how the county plans to streamline the appointment process and will provide an update when that is received.

Orange County Thursday reported 16 more COVID-19 fatalities and 3,331 new cases.

Of the fatalities reported Thursday—bringing the death toll to 2,195—two were skilled nursing facility residents and lived at an assisted living facility.

Since the pandemic began, the virus has killed 707 skilled nursing facility residents and 242 assisted living facility residents. Since Sunday, the county has reported 154 deaths. Last week, the county logged 140 deaths.

Read: Orange County's Senior Citizens Remain Hardest Hit By Coronavirus

The number of patients hospitalized with coronavirus dropped from 2,180 on Wednesday to 2,169. The number of intensive care unit patients remained unchanged at 544, just short of Sunday's record of 547.

The county's state-adjusted ICU bed availability remains at zero, and the unadjusted figure increased from 6.9% to 7.4%. The state created the adjusted metric to reflect the difference in beds available for COVID-19 patients and non-coronavirus patients.

The Southern California region remains at zero ICU availability, and only 85 ICU beds are available within the county, according to Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley.

According to the HCA, the county has 34% of its ventilators available.

The 16,401 tests reported Tuesday raises the cumulative total to 2,300,064, according to the HCA. The cumulative case count stands at 202,753.

The county's positivity rate has been declining over the past several days, Orange County CEO Frank Kim said.

Last weekend, the positivity rate was 19.75, and now it's down to 18, Kim said. Testing demand is also slowing, he added.

Orange County's adjusted daily case rate per 100,000 was released on Tuesdays and increased to 78.8 from 67.8 last week.
The county's Health Equity Quartile Positivity Rate, which measures the cases in highly affected, needier parts of the county, rose to 24.2% from 23.4% last week.


First Hurdle: Getting Residents To Vaccinate In Orange County

City News Service, Patch Editor Ashley Ludwig contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on the Orange County Patch