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Orange County moves to ‘medium’ levels of COVID-19 infections

As Southern California continues to see a rise in COVID-19 cases, Orange County has now moved into “medium” levels of COVID-19 infections on Friday.

Health officials are worried as a troubling uptick in COVID-19, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and influenza cases have been keeping hospitals full, with some deeming the confluence of illnesses a “tripledemic.”

The latest metrics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed Orange County is officially in the “Medium COVID-19 Community Level.”

“The worsening COVID-19 Community Level indicates a higher risk for more individuals to catch COVID-19 this winter,” said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, Orange County Health Officer. “In order to reduce the potential for increased hospitalizations, the community is encouraged to take extra precautions to protect those at higher risks. This includes getting vaccinated and masking up when indoors.”

Over the past week, Orange County reported 3,690 new cases of COVID-19.

The community level is determined by the number of new COVID cases in the county over the past 7 days, the number of newly admitted patients with confirmed COVID, and the percentage of staffed inpatient beds that are occupied by patients with coronavirus.

“We would be back to saying our health care system is getting stressed out and we need to slow down transmission,” said Los Angeles County Director of Public Health, Barbara Ferrer, of the rising infection rates.

If trends continue upward, Ferrer says mandatory indoor masking could return to places like restaurants, bars and schools throughout L.A. County.

In addition to COVID-19, health officials are seeing sharp increases in flu cases throughout the U.S., well beyond the numbers at this same point in previous years.

Experts say young children and older adults are most susceptible to severe outcomes from influenza such as hospitalization or death.

Officials strongly recommend getting fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 and the flu to prevent more severe symptoms and hospitalization.

Those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 or tested positive for coronavirus should contact their healthcare provider or locate a nearby testing site.