ORANGE COUNTY, CA — Orange County has reached day three on the right side of the California coronavirus numbers, according to officials. If Orange County continues to meet state thresholds, it will come off the state's watch list on Saturday, starting the clock for all schools to reopen by Sept. 6., officials say.
Though another 26 residents died as a result of COVID-19 in Orange County, raising the death toll to 882, other trends regarding case counts and hospitalizations are moving in the right direction, leading officials to anticipate coming off the state's watch list soon.
On Friday, 372 people were newly diagnosed with coronavirus, hiking the cumulative to 45,308.
Orange County officials say 24 elementary schools have been approved to be reopened, including six in the Los Alamitos Unified School District.
The state mandates a county must be off the watch list for 15 days before all schools can reopen, Dr. Clayton Chau, the county's interim chief health officer and director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, said Thursday.
For parents still leery of returning students to classrooms, Chau said the county "encourages" them to continue online learning, "especially children who are at a higher risk."
The county will provide tests for staff and students and a "full medical team" that includes pediatricians, while infectious disease experts from Children's Hospital of Orange County and UC Irvine "will be standing by to assist when needed," Chau said.
Wednesday was the first day the county fell below the state's monitoring thresholds, Chau said.
It is possible various business sectors that are shut down for commerce indoors may be allowed to return to normal, Chau said. County officials are expecting "new guidance" from the state next week.
The Orange County Health Care Agency Friday reported 397 patients hospitalized, down from 400 on Thursday, with 117 intensive care unit patients on Friday, down by one from the day before.
Of those whose deaths as a result of coronavirus were reported Friday, 10 were skilled nursing facility residents and one lived in an assisted living facility. Since the pandemic began, 339 of the fatalities were skilled nursing facility residents and 50 were assisted living facility residents.
The actual dates of deaths are delayed, according to Chau. Sometimes there are delays in confirming deaths, so many of this week's reported fatalities date back to beyond a week or more. Since Sunday, nine people have actually died with six fatalities on Monday.
The rate of county residents testing positive for COVID-19 decreased from 5.7% to 5.5%, below the state's desired threshold of 8%. And the change in the three-day average of hospitalized patients went from -3.3% to -2.3%, which is lower than the state's threshold.
The county's case rate per 100,000 residents dropped from 96.6 to 95.6, which is still far higher than the California Department of Public Health threshold of 25 per 100,000 residents.
But because that number is under 100 and the positivity rate is below 8%, the county is poised to be taken off the state's watch list soon under newly outlined metrics, Orange County CEO Frank Kim said Wednesday.
The county has 30% of intensive care unit beds available, which is better than the state's 20% threshold. And the county's hospitals have 58% of their ventilators available, well above the state standard of 25%.
As students are reporting back to school, Orange County officials are also keeping an eye on coronavirus cases among children. The state is allowing schools in grades up to sixth to apply for a waiver from all online learning.
As of Friday, 458 children up to 3 years old have tested positive for COVID-19; 627 4-9 years old; 486 between 10 and 12; 456 between 13 and 14; and 1,610 between 15 and 18.
There has been one reported pediatric death, of a teenage girl with preexisting health conditions, the OC Health Care Agency has said.
Of those who have died as a result of coronavirus, their ages and totals are as follows:
0-17: 1 death
18-24: 3 deaths
25-34: 13 deaths
35-44: 26 deaths
45 to 54: 73 deaths
55 to 64: 124 deaths
65 to 74: 176 deaths
75 to 84: 196 deaths
85 and up: 270 deaths
Here are Friday's city-wide coronavirus case counts:
Aliso Viejo - 320 Total Cases
Anaheim - 7726 Total Cases
Brea - 415 Total Cases
Buena Park - 1295 Total Cases
Costa Mesa - 1492 Total Cases
Coto de Caza - 32 Total Cases
Cypress - 472 Total Cases
Dana Point - 224 Total Cases
Fountain Valley - 441 Total Cases
Fullerton - 2050 Total Cases
Garden Grove - 2468 Total Cases
Huntington Beach - 2005 Total Cases
Irvine - 1377 Total Cases
La Habra - 1179 Total Cases
La Palma - 139 Total Cases
Ladera Ranch - 145 Total Cases
Laguna Beach - 162 Total Cases
Laguna Hills - 265 Total Cases
Laguna Niguel - 346 Total Cases
Laguna Woods - 49 Total Cases
Lake Forest - 723 Total Cases
Los Alamitos - 141 Total Cases
Midway City - 107 Total Cases
Mission Viejo - 676 Total Cases
Newport Beach - 987 Total Cases
Orange - 2076 Total Cases
Placentia - 795 Total Cases
Rancho Mission Viejo - 54 Total Cases
Rancho Santa Margarita - 282 Total Cases
Rossmoor - 56 Total Cases
San Clemente - 397 Total Cases
San Juan Capistrano - 376 Total Cases
Santa Ana - 8810 Total Cases
Seal Beach - 249 Total Cases
Silverado - 44 Total Cases
Stanton - 569 Total Cases
Trabuco Canyon - 167 Total Cases
Tustin - 1082 Total Cases
Villa Park - 46 Total Cases
Westminster - 859 Total Cases
Yorba Linda - 599 Total Cases
The HCA reported that a total of 581,360 COVID-19 tests have been conducted as of Friday. An estimated 36,830 residents have recovered from coronavirus.