As Orange County continues to experience increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the Orange County Board of Supervisors and the OC Health Care Agency (HCA) leadership are encouraging residents to stay vigilant with COVID-19 prevention measures, testing and vaccinations in order to keep our residents safe and businesses open.
Current data in Orange County shows that unvaccinated individuals are over six times more likely to become infected with COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated. Between July 15 and July 21, the county experienced an increase in the seven-day average case rate, from 2.95 to 6.1 per 100,000 people, with the average number of daily COVID-19 cases increasing from 121 to 209. The positivity rate also increased from 2.2 percent to 4 percent, and hospitalizations jumped from 119 to 149 per day.
The agency also reminds those who experience COVID-19 symptoms to get tested, regardless of their vaccination status. Self-collection, at-home COVID-19 test kits can be ordered at no cost by visiting www.ochealthinfo.com/covidtest.
Individuals seeking information about the COVID-19 vaccines, are encouraged to follow credible sources to learn more about their benefits, safety and effectiveness. The World Health Organization, for example, recently updated a list of questions and answers (Q&A) to address COVID-19 vaccine safety. Other sources include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDPH, the Food and Drug Administration, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
On July 26, 2021, the State of California is taking decisive action to combat the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable communities – implementing a first-in-the-nation standard to require all state workers and workers in health care and high-risk congregate settings to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week, and encourage all local government and other employers to adopt a similar protocol.
California will also be requiring health care settings to verify that workers are fully vaccinated or tested regularly. Unvaccinated workers will be subject to at least weekly COVID-19 testing and will be required to wear appropriate PPE. This requirement also applies to high-risk congregate settings like adult and senior residential facilities, homeless shelters and jails. These steps will help protect vulnerable patients and residents.
The new policy for state workers will take effect on August 2 and testing will be phased in over the next few weeks. The new policy for health care workers and congregate facilities will take effect on August 9, and health care facilities will have until August 23 to come into full compliance.
Despite California leading the nation in vaccination, with more than 44 million doses administered and 75 percent of the eligible population having received at least one dose, the state is seeing increasing numbers of people who refused to get the vaccine being admitted to the ICU and dying. This increase heavily due to the Delta variant, which is more contagious and kills people faster:
- As of last week, California’s statewide case rate more than quadrupled from a low in May of 1.9 cases/100,000/day to at least 9.5 cases/100,000.
- Our testing positivity was at a low of 0.7 percent in June, now it has risen to 5.2 percent.
- Our hospitalizations were at a low in June of under 900, and we are now approaching 3,000.
- The vast majority of new cases are among the unvaccinated, with 600 percent higher case rates among the unvaccinated than for those who are vaccinated.
The State of California remains committed to keeping the state’s economy open while ensuring that employees feel safe in the workplace. To that end, the state is encouraging employers to ensure that their employees are vaccinated, and will lead by example by implementing new vaccination measures for state and health care workers.