Mixed results in OC COVID-19 statistics

The number of COVID-19-positive patients in Orange County hospitals continues to climb — but positivity rates are declining while a dozen more deaths have been logged, though most date back to the winter, according to data released Tuesday by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

“It’s a little perplexing, to be honest, because the testing positivity keeps going down,” Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, said of the divergence between hospitalizations and positivity rates.

The county’s testing positivity rate decreased from 15.6% Thursday to 14.8% Monday and remained at 18.3% in the health equity quartile, which measures the communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

“That’s a significant decline,” Noymer told city News Service. “But the hospitalization numbers are kind of stable, it not increasing a little bit, and the ICU numbers are likewise.”

Noymer noted that the ICU hospitalizations “doesn’t include incidental” patients, who were admitted for another malady and happened to test positive for COVID-19.

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