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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.

Compiled by Zach Cavanagh

As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continued to rise in Orange County at earlier pandemic rates of June and July, the Orange County Health Care Agency began reporting information on COVID-19 cases in county schools.

From Aug. 16 to Nov. 14, there was a cumulative total of 390 cases in Orange County schools with 76 from Nov. 1-7 and 25 from Nov. 8-14. Of the 390 total cases, there were 204 student cases, 80 teacher cases and 106 cases among other staff. As of Nov. 14, there were 192 cases in elementary and middle schools, 85 cases in high schools, six cases in combined K-12 schools and 107 cases in colleges, universities and vocational schools.

The Capistrano Unified School District also recently began 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, San Clemente High School has two cases, and Truman Benedict Elementary School has one case.

In Dana Point, R.H. Dana Elementary and the R.H. Dana Exceptional Needs Facility each have one case.

In San Juan Capistrano, San Juan Hills High School has four cases, San Juan Elementary School has two cases and Marco Forster Middle School has one case.

In schools whose boundaries include those cities, John Malcolm Elementary School and Fred Newhart Middle School each have two cases, and Moulton Elementary School, Viejo Elementary School, Capistrano Valley High School and Tesoro High School each have one case.

There were 506 hospitalizations reported by the Orange County Health Care Agency on Friday, which is an increase of 173 cases from just a week ago. Friday’s number of hospitalizations is the highest since Aug. 6 as the county began to decline from mid-July highs. The county reported a 16.8% rise in hospitalizations over the last three days.

Orange County reported 139 ICU patients as of Friday, which is an increase of 37 from a week ago. The county has not been at that level since Aug. 13 with 152 ICU cases. In the county’s hospitals, there are 25% of the ICU beds currently available and 65% of ventilators available.

Orange County reported 1,008 new COVID-19 cases and seven new coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, which adds up to 6,759 cases and 37 deaths in the last seven days.

Over the last 30 days, there have been 15,882 cases and 110 deaths in Orange County. In the 30 days previous to that, there were 5,765 cases and 251 deaths, which means there were 10,117 more cases over the last 30 days than the previous, but 141 fewer deaths.

Cumulatively, there have been 75,095 cases and 1,577 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Total Cases

The county’s most recently reported seven-day average of new cases from Nov. 14 is 348 new cases per day, which is the highest since July 23 at 532 per day and 157 more than reported a week ago with 348 per day on average from Nov. 7. The seven-day case average is reported on a 14-day lag.

There are 30,147 cases where race or ethnicity is not available or provided, but of the cases where race or ethnicity is known, 48.15% are Hispanic or Latino, 26.31% are white, 13.16% are listed as other, 8.79% are Asian and 1.33% are Black.

Of the 1,577 total deaths, 520 are aged 85 or older, 343 are aged 75-84, 309 are aged 65-74 and 219 are aged 55-64. Of the total deaths, 674 are Hispanic or Latino, 531 are white, 290 are Asian and 23 are Black.

The county’s reported estimated amount of recoveries stands at 59,080 cases. The estimated recoveries are based on the previous 28-day’s cumulative case count.

Over the last 30 days, there have been 6,228 recoveries, which is much more than the 30 days prior to that at 4,897.

Orange County remained 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, Nov. 24. The county’s daily new cases per 100,000 (17.2) continued to rise higher into purple levels. The countywide testing positivity rate (6.8%) jumped up into the red “substantial” level. The health equity testing positivity rate was not updated and stayed with the rate last reported on Nov. 10 (5.5%).

Last 30 Days

Locally in South Orange County, every community saw a sharp rise in cases.

San Clemente has 816 total cases and 11 total deaths, with 108 cases and no deaths in the last week. The city recorded 212 cases and two deaths in the last 30 days, an increase from the 72 cases and a decrease from the four deaths of the 30 days previous to that.

San Juan Capistrano has 825 total cases and 16 total deaths, with 96 cases and no deaths in the last week. The city has recorded 189 cases and one death in the last 30 days, an increase from the 125 cases and a decrease from the four deaths of the 30 days previous to that.

Dana Point has 400 total cases and four total deaths, with 60 cases and no deaths in the last week. The city recorded 90 cases and one death in the last 30 days, an increase from the 35 cases and the same amount of deaths (one) of the 30 days previous to that.

Rancho Mission Viejo has 99 total cases and less than five total deaths, with seven cases in the last week. The city recorded 22 cases in the last 30 days, an increase from the 16 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.

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