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Orange County’s Latest Coronavirus Update: No Deaths Reported

ORANGE COUNTY, CA — Orange County case counts are trending back in a positive direction, according to officials who remain hopeful at reopening more schools and businesses soon. On Monday, OC Health Care Agency reported 117 newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases, raising the cumulative total to 55,892, but no deaths were reported, leaving the Orange County coronavirus death toll unchanged at 1,341.

Orange County CEO Frank Kim has said that the county wants to see daily diagnoses below 130. Monday’s case counts were welcome news after Sunday’s report of 244 cases and one death.

To reach the less-restrictive orange tier established by the state, the county needs to average closer to 130 daily cases, Kim said.

Last week, 54 deaths were reported, down from 72 the week before and 77 the week before that.

Hospitalizations inched up from 164 on Sunday to 167 on Monday, while the number of intensive care unit patients dipped from 57 to 56.

The change in the three-day average of hospitalized patients went from -4.1% to -5.8%. The county has 31% of its intensive care unit beds and 67% of its ventilators available.

The positivity rate, which is reported each Tuesday, inched up from 3.1% two weeks ago to 3.2% last week, and the daily case rate per 100,000 people rose from 4.4 to 5.2, which is higher than the cutoff of 3.9 to qualify for a move from the red to the orange tier.

Kim told CNS on Friday that the county is averaging 4.9 cases per 100,000 residents, down from a peak of 5.4 on Oct. 5.

“Our numbers are heading in the right direction,” he said.

To qualify for the orange tier, the positivity rate must be 2% to 4%, and the case rate per 100,000 must be 1% to 3.9%.

Moving to the orange tier would mean retail businesses could operate at full capacity, instead of 50% as required in the red tier. Shopping malls could also operate at full capacity, but with closed common areas and reduced food courts, just as in the red tier.

According to OCHCA data, 948,671 COVID-19 tests have been conducted, including 4,504 reported Monday. There have been 49,947 documented recoveries.

Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the OCHCA and the county’s chief health officer, said increased testing can lower the positivity rate, but it can also lead to an increase in the case rate per 100,000. The state introduced a health equity measure, which launched last Tuesday, to help counties address high case counts concentrated within certain ZIP codes that include high-density housing and language barriers, among other issues.

Orange County got a head start on that weeks ago with its Latino Health Equity program, which raised awareness of coronavirus within hotspots in Santa Ana and Anaheim, Chau said.

Positivity rates as high as 20% have fallen to single digits in some of those neighborhoods, Chau said.

There is an “accelerator” in the state’s formula that if the positivity rate makes it to the least-restrictive

Montgomery County’s COVID-related deaths now 143

Montgomery County logged its 143rd COVID-19-related death Monday.

The death is a Spring woman in her 60s who died at the hospital. The woman had other health conditions in addition to testing positive for COVID-19.

The county’s total number of cases is now 12,365. Of those total cases, 1,914 are active, an increase of 177, according to the Montgomery County Public Health District.

Total hospitalizations, both county and noncounty residents, increased by 15 to 71 with 14 of those patients in ICU.

The reason for the difference in the new cases and active cases is the Montgomery County Public Health District is continuing to process cases that were reported to the Department of State Health Services directly by health care providers and entered into the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System.

Online registration is still available for COVID-19 testing in Montgomery County.


To get a voucher, go to mchd-tx.org or mcphd-tx.org and click on the “need to be tested” link. Fill out the information. A voucher will be emailed. Once you have the voucher, make an appointment at your choice of testing centers and get tested.

The MCHD/MCPHD COVID-19 Call Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 936-523-3916.

[email protected]

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Montgomery County’s new COVID-19 cases jump by 238

Online registration is still available for COVID-19 testing in Montgomery County. To get a voucher, go to mchd-tx.org or mcphd-tx.org and click on the

Online registration is still available for COVID-19 testing in Montgomery County. To get a voucher, go to mchd-tx.org or mcphd-tx.org and click on the “need to be tested” link. Fill out the information. A voucher will be emailed. Once you have the voucher, make an appointment at your choice of testing centers and get tested.

Jason Fochtman, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

Montgomery County public health officials confirmed 238 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and a drop of 54 in active cases.

The county’s total number of cases is now 11,682. Of those total cases, 1,576 are active, according to the Montgomery County Public Health District.

Total hospitalizations, both county and noncounty residents, increased by seven to 50 with seven of those patients in ICU.

The reason for the difference in the new cases and active cases is the Montgomery County Public Health District is continuing to process cases that were reported to The Department of State Health Services directly by health care providers and entered into the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System.


Online registration is still available for COVID-19 testing in Montgomery County.

To get a voucher, go to mchd-tx.org or mcphd-tx.org and click on the “need to be tested” link. Fill out the information. A voucher will be emailed. Once you have the voucher, make an appointment at your choice of testing centers and get tested.

The MCHD/MCPHD COVID-19 Call Center is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 936-523-3916.

[email protected]

Source Article

Deadly delays in L.A. County’s public hospital system

A tip from a doctor led Times reporters to investigate specialty appointment waits in Los Angeles County's public hospital system. <span class="copyright">(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)</span>
A tip from a doctor led Times reporters to investigate specialty appointment waits in Los Angeles County’s public hospital system. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

It started with a phone call in the fall of 2018 from a doctor working for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

Patients by the thousands were suffering unnecessarily because of extremely long waits to see specialists, the doctor said. Some were dying before they could get an appointment.

The tip launched an investigation that spanned nearly two years and focused on the county’s sprawling safety-net healthcare system that serves more than 2 million, primarily the region’s poorest and most vulnerable residents.

We interviewed dozens of current and former county healthcare providers, patients and outside medical experts. We also analyzed L.A. County data from hundreds of thousands of specialist referrals and obtained thousands of pages of medical records.

How we verified long waits

The stories we heard were always the same: Wait times were dangerously long.

But the patients and their families were most often relying on memory. Doctors and nurses can’t talk about cases for fear of retaliation from their bosses and concerns about violating strict medical privacy laws. We needed medical records to verify the accounts.

By law, medical records are private. So requests have to be signed by patients or, if the patient has died, by the person who signed the death certificate. We spent months driving across Southern California knocking on doors and collecting signatures.

More months passed as families waited to receive the records. When the documents finally arrived, county health officials had almost always withheld important parts of the medical files.

Conspicuously absent were records from eConsult, an internal email-like system that primary care doctors and nurses use to discuss cases and arrange face-to-face appointments with specialists. We helped the family members push back and demand everything they were entitled to.

It was only after county officials learned The Times was working with the families that they turned over records from the referral system — with an apology for the delay.

After asking for permission from the families, we shared the documents the county finally produced with medical experts inside and outside the county system. Long waits were obvious in every case.

Half a dozen of the patients died after waiting at least three months to see a doctor in a critical specialty — cardiology, oncology, gastroenterology and nephrology. It wasn’t always clear how much the long waits contributed to the patient’s death, but in every case, the experts said, the patient should have been treated much sooner.

Though the individual stories were heartbreaking, they were also anecdotal. We needed to find out whether they were unusual or represented a common experience for L.A. County patients.

How we calculated overall wait times

We knew that it was possible to measure wait times for routine specialist appointments provided by the Department of Health Services. In 2017, two county health services executives published a study with