SANTA ANA—Orange County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have remained steady this week, leading one epidemiologist to speculate that the county may be nearing its peak in this latest Delta variant-fueled surge.
Hospitalizations due to the virus increased from 497 on Thursday to 498 on Friday, the Orange County Health Care Agency reported, while the number of patients in intensive care units decreased from 126 to 120.
Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, said that with hospitalizations increasing since Wednesday, it could mean the county has seen the worst of this latest surge.
“We may have found the peak of the wave,” Noymer told the City News Service. “It remains to be seen whether that is the case, but we are headed in the right direction. Still, it is too early to make a call.”
The percentage of positive cases “was up a bit again today, but it’s an unsettling number,” Noymer said.
“Ultimately, hospitalization is the key metric,” Noymer said.
“I’m pleased to see that it looks like we can top the hospital numbers … It will be interesting to see what happens on Monday.”
Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said during the surge, it is not unusual for the number of patients to rise and fall and levels drop.
“It’s important to look at how long people have been in the hospital,” Bartlett said. “Are they there for three months or three days?”
Bartlett also said, “We have a lot of capacity, a lot of ventilators. Our health care system is still in good shape even with spikes in COVID, so Orange County is doing well at the moment. “
Bartlett, immediate past president of the California State Association of Counties, said officials in every county are eyeing positivity rates because it’s estimated that about 18 percent of the infected end up in hospitals.
Noymer said a number of factors are involved in a doctor’s decision to move a patient to intensive care. It does not mean that patients in ICU are in critical condition or are fighting for their lives.
“What constitutes an ICU bed is like a judgment call inside a hospital,” Noymer said. “If overall hospitalization hasn’t happened, that’s good because it means the county-level severity hasn’t changed and will hopefully decrease soon.”
Orange County CEO Frank Kim told the City News Service that the trend has been that at least 20 percent of those hospitalized will end up in intensive care.
Officials believe “there will be more clarity in the next two weeks,” Kim said on Aug.
If hospitalizations level off, the increase will decrease, but if they keep rising, “it’s more difficult to manage,” he said.
On Friday afternoon, Kim told CNS he had been cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the latest figures.
“My employees caution me to wait at least a week and a half before drawing conclusions,” he said.
Overall, county hospitals have enough staff and beds to handle this summer’s surge, Kim said.
Orange County Board Vice President Doug Chaffee said county officials modeled on past waves showed they lasted about six weeks.
“And we’re at the end of week four,” Chaffee said. “It means that by September, if we are following the same pattern, we will see some relief, but the delta is different from other stuff.”
Dr. Colleen Cunningham, chief pediatrician at Children’s Hospital in Orange County, said the facility has admitted nearly 600 children for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
“Earlier this summer, for several days we didn’t have a single child with coronavirus at CHOC,” Cunningham said at a media briefing organized by Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley.
“It seemed that the worst was over. … From the beginning of July, we started seeing a steady increase in children with COVID,” said the doctor.
Cunningham said that as of Thursday, the CHOC had 10 COVID-19 patients, half of whom were in intensive care.
“They are seriously ill,” she said. “These are not kids with runny noses.”
Cunningham acknowledged that children are less likely to experience serious illness from COVID-19, “but they are not immune and some can become seriously ill.”
Cunningham said many children initially experience mild symptoms of COVID-19 but later end up in hospital because they develop pneumonia or multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which is damage to the heart and other organs. can deliver. He said that the CHOC has treated 77 patients of MIS-C precipitated from COVID-19.
He said that some patients in the hospital have developed long-lasting symptoms of COVID-19.
Cunningham advocated for more masking and social distancing in an effort to help stop the spread of the virus.
Noymar underlined that already infected residents should understand that they can get the coronavirus again. The delta version, he said, is “much more contagious and people can get infected twice.”
The last time Orange County had so many COVID-19 patients in intensive care was in late February. The last time he was admitted to the hospital, it was higher on February 25.
Noymar said last year’s peak of summer was 722 hospitalized patients.
Hospitalization is the most important metric public health experts are looking at, as infection rates may be driven by high demand in testing or breakthrough infections of vaccinated people, who typically experience little or no symptoms. .
On August 13, the county reported 933 new infections, raising the cumulative caseload since the start of the pandemic to 273,847.
Two additional deaths were recorded, one on August 2 and the other on August 3, raising the death toll in the month to three.
The death toll in July is 13; 16 for June; for May 22; 43 for April; 199 for March; 612 for February; 1,563 for January—the deadliest month of the pandemic—and 968 for December, the next deadliest month.
The county’s cumulative death toll is 5,156.
Experts expect fewer deaths because the demographic of patients is smaller than the winter growth. Now, vaccines are available for every age group over the age of 12, and the vast majority of county seniors — who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 — are vaccinated.
On August 12, the county updated its vaccination numbers. Out of a population of approximately 3.2 million in the county, 1,941,560 are fully vaccinated residents, including 127,665 who have received the Johnson & Johnson shot.
Experts say the number of residents who have received at least one shot of two-dose vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna is 232,057, and most of them will get their second shot.
According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, the case rate for fully vaccinated residents is much lower than the case rate for fully vaccinated residents. As of Thursday’s update, the seven-day case rate is 7.4 per 100,000 for those who are fully vaccinated, but 40.1 for those not fully vaccinated.
The county reported 12,341 tests on Friday, bringing the cumulative total to 4,466,241. Kim said the high demand for COVID-19 testing may be driven by state and employers’ requirements. As of Friday, the county had 22% of ICU beds and 70% of ventilators available.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times