What’s the current situation with COVID-19 / coronavirus cases in Orange County, both countywide and for particular cities? This page compiles statistics from the Orange County Health Care Agency along with some other sources, to help provide an overview.
Hospitalizations & Deaths
I think the most useful data we have for Orange County COVID-19 trends is the chart on hospitalizations from the OCHCA site. This is because testing in Orange County (as well as in many places) is inconsistent.
One day, there can be a lot of tests. That can produce a lot of new cases. But the cases aren’t necessarily new or indicative of a rise or drop. They just might not have been detected or missed, before.
In addition, the cases counts for Orange County so far are only cumulative and don’t reflect active versus recovered cases. A city with 40 cases at the beginning of March could still be shown as having near or slightly above that amount at the beginning of May, even though some of those cases are no longer active. Actual infectious cases are likely lower than the counts. However, and this is important, because testing is so inconsistent as previously noted, there might be many more active cases than the cumulative counts show, even if they removed recovered cases.
Given all this uncertainty, hospitalizations seem to give a much more consistent view of the spread of COVID-19 in the county. If those are up, regardless of inconsistency of testing, that seems a good sign that there’s a spread and, in particular, one that’s serious enough to increase visits to the hospital. If they drop, that would seem a positive sign.
For more on these issues, see these Voice of OC articles:
- Coronavirus Hospitalizations Have Been Rising in OC, Despite Claims of ‘Flattened’ Curve, April 20, 2020
- Why Does Orange County’s Coronavirus Testing Still Lag Behind Other Large Counties?, May 7, 2020
- When Will Orange County’s Recoveries from Coronavirus Be Reported?, May 11, 2020
According to OCHCA, Orange County has 6,053 hospital beds (with 673 of those being ICU beds, according to past updates) and overall hospital capacity at 59%, with about 800 ventilators available (though the county also once said it had 8,000 ventilators available).
Here’s the OC hospitalization trend. Trend lines are linear, added automatically by Google Sheets (and thanks for the idea on adding the trend lines):
Here is the cumulative number of people who have died from COVID-19 in Orange County, over time (NOTE, MAY 21 — I didn’t have time to update this entire page today. But since the number of deaths set a new historic high, I did want to update this part and point to this series of tweet from OCHCA about the rise, primarily out of skilled nursing facilities):
FYI, the large spike on May 19 involved seven people in skilled nursing facilities. I haven’t been charting these separately from overall deaths. OCHSA does report the breakout each day. I might go back to update later.
See also this information on Orange County hospitalizations from California’s statewide database. It shows both positive and suspected cases.
Testing & Cases
The next charts show the number of tests per day, cases found per day and the cumulative number of cases over time. As noted above, if you get a spike of new testing, you might get a spike of new cases simply because you’re now detecting cases that previously hadn’t been found.
NOTE: It’s common that OCHCA updates its most recent daily test figure significantly in following days. For example, it initially reported 196 tests had been conducted on May 10. Two days later, on May 13, that figure was updated to 1,112.
Seven Day Average
To better understand trends, it can be useful to look at them over a seven-day average period. That’s what the Big Local News COVID-19 Case Mapper does. Here’s data for Orange County below. You can toggle to see cases or fatalities. Hospitalization trends are not shown.
Orange County city stats
Each day, the Orange County Health Care Agency releases stats showing COVID-19 cases for individual Orange County cities and some major unincorporated areas. However, stats from previous days are not retained. This makes it impossible to see trends for particular cities.
For those interested in this, I’ve been recording each day’s stats into my Orange County COVID-19 / Coronavirus cases by city spreadsheet. You’ll also find data and charts from it embedded below. There are tabs at the bottom that give views of the data sorted by count, rate and alphabetically.
As noted on my spreadsheet itself — and echoing what OCHCA has said — cities with high counts, rates or trends are not necessarily unusual hot spots. Case counts reflect where people reside, but they may have been infected in other cities or outside Orange County. Also, if residents in some cities have better access to testing, cases in cities with less access might be undercounted (see this Los Angeles Times article for more about that).
Orange County city totals
Here are the most recent charts from my spreadsheet showing totals by city (two charts; the second chart drills down into those with smaller figures). All the caveats above about testing applies. If you have some cities with a spike in new cases, it could be that there’s just additional testing that’s happening. You also can expect cities with larger populations to have a larger number of cases.
Again: cases are assigned to each city based on where someone actually lives, not where they were tested or hospitalized. If you live in Costa Mesa, got tested in Irvine and hospitalized in Newport Beach, you would be counted as a Costa Mesa case.
ALSO IMPORTANT NOTE: Beginning May 4, anyone in jail in Santa Ana or Orange was moved from those city totals and into the “Other” category — that’s why there’s a big drop for Santa Ana. There appears to have been another revision that also happened on May 6, which is why there’s a drop there.
Orange County city rates
Here are the most recent charts from my spreadsheet showing rates per 10,000 by city (two charts; the second chart drills down into those with smaller rates). Rate charts adjust for the fact that cities with larger populations might naturally have more cases. The provide you a better idea of how widespread COVID-19 might be within a city. That said, again, all the caveats about testing applies. If some cities have little testing, there can be cases missed and a low rate, even if the disease might be more widespread.
Also keep in mind that localized outbreaks in nursing homes and assisted living facilities could cause a small population city to have a high rate that might not reflect the rate among the general population. See these articles from the Orange County Register for more about this specific to Orange County:
- Coronavirus cases, deaths jump in O.C. nursing homes
- Why is Orange County’s coronavirus death rate lower than its neighbors?
NOTE: The weird rise and drop of Santa Ana’s rate is due to cases from the county jail in Santa Ana being moved by OCHCA into the “Other” category.
For more stats, see Tracking coronavirus in California for a great set of interactive graphics that cover the entire state, including trend lines for individual counties. There’s also this nice compilation I found by someone with interactive, up-to-date charts.
Voice of OC has a great Latest Infections, Deaths and Projections for Orange County and COVID-19 page of interactive stats, which is also embedded below:
Here is some city-specific information. Some have stats; most have general advice for those in these Orange County cities:
- Aliso Viejo
- Buena Park
- Costa Mesa
- Dana Point
- Fountain Valley
- Garden Grove
- Huntington Beach
- La Habra
- La Palma
- Ladera Ranch
- Laguna Beach
- Laguna Hills
- Laguna Niguel
- Laguna Woods
- Lake Forest
- Los Alamitos
- Mission Viejo
- Newport Beach
- Rancho Santa Margarita
- San Clemente
- San Juan Capistrano
- Santa Ana
- Seal Beach
- Villa Park
- Yorba Linda
NOTE: There are ads on this page, because my blog overall has a default template to carry ads. I find that useful to understand how webmasters in general may have sites that interact with ads. I don’t have an easy way to disable ads just on this page only for now, otherwise I would. However, ad revenue for the overall site is never much (maybe $10 per month or less). Suffice to say I’m donating (and will donate) far more to COVID-19 relief in various ways than anything this page might inadvertently earn.