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Picket Fence Media will post weekly updates on the compilation of COVID-19 statistics and information, which is reported daily by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

For COVID-19 numbers specifically in Schools and South Orange County, scroll down.

Compiled by Zach Cavanagh

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions all continued their downward trajectory in numbers reported by the Orange County Health Care Agency on Friday, Feb. 5.

The OCHCA reported 1,028 new COVID-19 cases and 30 new coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, which adds up to 6,581 cases and 304 deaths recorded in the last seven days. There were 11,016 cases and 428 deaths in the previous seven-day period.

San Juan Capistrano recorded four deaths this week, with 23 in the last 30 days. San Clemente saw three deaths this week, and Dana Point recorded one coronavirus-related death.

Over the last 30 days, there have been 61,306 cases and 1,336 deaths in Orange County. In the 30 days previous to that, there were 86,190 cases and 310 deaths, which means there were 24,884 fewer cases over the last 30 days than the previous and 1,026 more deaths.

The death rate continues to increase as today’s 30-day number is at 1,336 – a rise from last week’s 1,101, the 766 of two weeks ago, and 559 of three weeks ago.

Cumulatively, there have been 236,338 cases and 3,279 deaths in Orange County since the beginning of the pandemic. The county reported its first cases on March 4, 2020.

The hospital system is finally seeing some relief after the winter highs.

There were 1,896 hospitalizations reported by the county on Friday – the lowest since Dec. 11. Friday’s total was a decrease of 663 from a week ago and of 821 from two weeks ago. Friday was the 17th straight day of decrease and 26th in the last 28 days since a pandemic-high 2,259 hospitalizations on Jan. 8. There had been new record highs for county COVID hospitalizations in 33 of 37 days prior to Jan. 8. The county reported an 8.2% decrease in hospitalizations over the last three days.

Orange County reported 426 ICU patients as of Friday, which is a decrease of 84 from last week and of 174 from two weeks ago and down from the pandemic-high of 547 on Saturday, Jan. 9. The county’s hospitals remained at a 0% adjusted capacity of the ICU beds currently available. There are 11.1% of total ICU beds available, an increase from last week’s 10.1% and the 7.2% of two weeks ago. There are 53% of ventilators available.

The Southern California region is projected to reach 43.7% available ICU capacity by March 1.

The county’s most recently reported seven-day average of new cases from Jan. 27 is 1,234 new cases per day, which is the lowest since Nov. 29 and 504 fewer than reported a week ago with 1,738 per day on average from Jan. 20. The seven-day case average is reported on a 14-day lag.

In Orange County, there are 87,204 cases where race or ethnicity is not available or provided, but of the cases where race or ethnicity is known, 44.41% are Hispanic or Latino, 24.74% are white, 15.45% are listed as other, 11.69% are Asian and 1.28% are Black.

Of the 3,279 total deaths, 1,109 are aged 85 or older, 779 are aged 75-84, 628 are aged 65-74, 433 are aged 55-64, 215 are aged 45-54, 72 are aged 35-44, 36 are aged 25-34, six are aged 18-24 and one is aged under 17. Of the total deaths, 1,209 are Hispanic or Latino, 1,189 are white, 616 are Asian and 29 are Black.

The county’s reported estimated amount of recoveries stands at 195,526 cases. The estimated recoveries are based on the previous 28-day’s cumulative case count.

Over the last 30 days, there have been 91,566 recoveries, which is much more than the 30 days prior to that at 41,544.

Orange County’s tier monitoring metrics all saw decent decreases this week, but the county remained deep in the state’s purple “substantial” tier – the highest risk level of the state’s four-tiered, color-coded coronavirus monitoring system – in the state’s tier update on Tuesday, Jan. 26. However, the county’s daily new cases per 100,000 (39), countywide testing positivity (10.9%) and health equity positivity rate (13.9%) all showed decent decreases this week.

Where California’s counties stand in the state’s four-tiered, color-coded coronavirus monitoring system as of Feb. 2. Graphic: California Department of Public Health

COVID-19 in South OC

Locally in South Orange County, every community continued to see a sharp rise in cases, with Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano seeing a rise in deaths.

San Clemente has 2,687 total cases and 23 total deaths, with 257 cases and four deaths in the last week. The city recorded 822 cases and nine deaths in the last 30 days, a decrease from the 868 cases and increase from the two deaths of the 30 days previous to that.

San Juan Capistrano has 2,583 total cases and 47 total deaths, with 193 cases and five deaths in the last week. The city has recorded 785 cases and 28 deaths in the last 30 days, a decrease from the 913 cases and an increase from the two deaths of the 30 days previous to that.

Dana Point has 1,293 total cases and 24 total deaths, with 56 cases and one death in the last week. The city recorded 403 cases and 18 deaths in the last 30 days, a decrease from the 468 cases and an increase from the three deaths of the 30 days previous to that.

Rancho Mission Viejo has 300 total cases and less than five total deaths, with 13 cases in the last week. The city recorded 94 cases in the last 30 days, an increase from the 91 cases of the 30 days previous to that. As unincorporated land with under 25,000 residents, the exact death total will not be reported for Rancho Mission Viejo until it reaches five, as it was for cases.

COVID-19 in Schools

Orange County continued to update school cases, which saw a large jump as data from earlier weeks was updated.

From Aug. 16 to Jan. 30, there was a cumulative total of 2,658 cases in Orange County schools with 57 reported from Jan. 24-30 and 84 from Jan. 17-23. Of the 2,658 total cases, there were 1,555 student cases, 600 teacher cases and 503 cases among other staff. As of Jan. 30, there were 1,499 cases in elementary and middle schools, 686 cases in high schools, 83 cases in combined K-12 schools and 390 cases in colleges, universities and vocational schools.

The Capistrano Unified School District is reporting cases in each of its schools to an online dashboard. CUSD’s dashboard lists “active” cases on its dashboard, with the case remaining on the dashboard for 14 days from initial symptoms or test date.

In San Clemente, Las Palmas Elementary School and Vista Del Mar Elementary School each have three cases, and Truman Benedict Elementary School, Bernice Ayer Middle School, and San Clemente High School each have one case.

In Dana Point, Dana Hills High School has four cases, Palisades Elementary School has two cases and R.H. Dana ENF has one case.

In San Juan Capistrano, San Juan Elementary School has four cases, Esencia K-8 has three cases, Kinoshita Elementary School has two cases, and Del Obispo Elementary School and San Juan Hills High School each have one case.

In schools whose boundaries include those cities, John Malcom Elementary School, Niguel Hills Middle School and Tesoro High School each have two cases, and Viejo Elementary School and Capistrano Valley High School each have one case.

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