As coronavirus cases continue to increase, public health officials report there are 15 patients battling COVID-19 at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, the “highest number ever” of children being treated there during the pandemic.

Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, said during a news conference Tuesday that 14 of the children are in the intensive care unit of the hospital.

Earlier this month, the county reported that a third child under 5 had died in December from COVID-19 complications. No vaccine has been authorized for children in that age group.

New data released Tuesday from the three-day Martin Luther King Day weekend showed an increase in cases in Orange County for the third consecutive week, highlighting the winter surge driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

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