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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

Current and projected coronavirus numbers in Southern California had improved enough to lift the state’s regional stay-at-home order on Monday, Jan. 25, and the downward trends in cases, hospitalizations and ICU patients continued through the week.

However, while all those are important marks for optimism as California comes down the other side of its winter coronavirus surge, many continue to suffer losses as January’s marking as the deadliest month of the pandemic continues to grow.

The Orange County Health Care Agency reported 1,460 new COVID-19 cases and 107 new coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, Jan. 29, which adds up to 11,016 cases and 428 deaths recorded in the last seven days. There were 12,830 cases and 270 deaths in the previous seven-day period.

San Juan Capistrano recorded another nine deaths this week, with 23 in the last 30 days. Dana Point saw another four deaths this week, with 19 in the last 30 days. San Clemente recorded one coronavirus-related death this week.

Over the last 30 days, there have been 73,184 cases and 1,101 deaths in Orange County. In the 30 days previous to that, there were 78,020 cases and 297 deaths, which means there were 4,836 fewer cases over the last 30 days than the previous and 804 more deaths.

The death rate continues to increase as today’s 30-day number is at 1,101 – a rise from last week’s 766, the 559 of two weeks ago, and 365 of three weeks ago.

Cumulatively, there have been 229,757 cases and 2,975 deaths in Orange County since the beginning of the pandemic. The county reported its first cases on March 4, 2020.

While the death rate continues to rise, hospitalizations have continued to decline in recent days.

There were 1,896 hospitalizations reported by the county on Friday – the lowest since Dec. 16. Friday’s total was a decrease of 205 from a week ago and of 363 from two weeks ago. Friday was the 10th straight day of decrease and 19th in the last 21 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 a 7% decrease in hospitalizations over the last three days.

Orange County reported 426 ICU patients as of Friday, which is a decrease of 90 from one week 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 10.1% of total ICU beds available, an increase from last week’s 7.2% and the 4.5% of two weeks ago. There are 35% of ventilators available.

The Southern California region was lifted from the state’s regional stay-at-home order, as it was projected to reach 33.3% available ICU capacity by Feb. 21. As of Monday, Jan. 25, Southern California region remained at 0% adjusted available ICU capacity. The region had been under the stay-at-home order since Dec. 6, when it fell under 15% adjusted ICU capacity available.

The San Joaquin Valley and Bay Area regions were also released from the stay-at-home order on Monday. Greater Sacramento was lifted from the order on Jan. 12. Northern California never entered a stay-at-home order.

The county’s most recently reported seven-day average of new cases from Jan. 20 is 1,738 new cases per day, which is down from the highest of the pandemic on Dec. 19 of 3,357 and 298 fewer than reported a week ago with 2,703 per day on average from Jan. 13. The seven-day case average is reported on a 14-day lag.

In Orange County, there are 86,886 cases where race or ethnicity is not available or provided, but of the cases where race or ethnicity is known, 44.37% are Hispanic or Latino, 24.78% are white, 15.79% are listed as other, 11.47% are Asian and 1.28% are Black.

Of the 2,975 total deaths, 1,015 are aged 85 or older, 689 are aged 75-84, 573 are aged 65-74, 397 are aged 55-64, 198 are aged 45-54, 63 are aged 35-44, 33 are aged 25-34, six are aged 18-24 and one is aged under 17. Of the total deaths, 1,103 are Hispanic or Latino, 1,075 are white, 556 are Asian and 28 are Black.

The county’s reported estimated amount of recoveries stands at 171,134 cases. The estimated recoveries are based on the previous 28-day’s cumulative case count.

Over the last 30 days, there have been 81,261 recoveries, which is much more than the 30 days prior to that at 30,090.

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 (46.6), countywide testing positivity (12.9%) and health equity positivity rate (16.6%) all showed decent decreases this week.

Where California’s counties stand in the state’s four-tiered, color-coded coronavirus monitoring system as of Jan. 29. 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 2,430 total cases and 19 total deaths, with 146 cases and one death in the last week. The city recorded 922 cases and seven deaths in the last 30 days, an increase from the 790 cases and two deaths of the 30 days previous to that.

San Juan Capistrano has 2,390 total cases and 33 total deaths, with 131 cases and nine deaths in the last week. The city has recorded 870 cases and 23 deaths in the last 30 days, an increase from the 783 cases and three deaths of the 30 days previous to that.

Dana Point has 1,293 total cases and 24 total deaths, with 82 cases and four deaths in the last week. The city recorded 442 cases and 19 deaths in the last 30 days, an increase from the 430 cases and one death of the 30 days previous to that.

Rancho Mission Viejo has 287 total cases and less than five total deaths, with 27 cases in the last week. The city recorded 101 cases in the last 30 days, an increase from the 82 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. 23, there was a cumulative total of 2,421 cases in Orange County schools with 36 reported from Jan. 17-23 and 144 from Jan. 10-16. Of the 2,118 total cases, there were 1,410 student cases, 546 teacher cases and 465 cases among other staff. As of Jan. 23, there were 1,350 cases in elementary and middle schools, 635 cases in high schools, 74 cases in combined K-12 schools and 362 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, Truman Benedict Elementary School has three cases and Concordia Elementary School, Vista Del Mar Elementary School, Bernice Ayer Middle School, and San Clemente High School each have one case.

In Dana Point, Dana Hills High School has six cases and R.H. Dana Elementary School and Palisades Elementary School each have one case.

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

In schools whose boundaries include those cities, Niguel Hills Middle School has five cases, Moulton Elementary School, John Malcom Elementary School has three cases, and Viejo Elementary School and Capistrano Valley High School each have two cases.

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