Orange County Coronavirus Cases Now at 656; 13 Deaths

SANTA ANA (CNS) - The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Orange County increased from 656 on Thursday to 711 today, but the death toll remained unchanged at 13.

On Wednesday, the number of cases stood at 606 with 10 deaths.

The number of hospitalized patients decreased from 115 on Thursday to 103 on Friday, and the number of patients in intensive care dipped from 47 to 44.

On Wednesday there were 31 in intensive care.

Of the county's cases, 41% are between the ages of 45 and 64, 16% between 35 and 44, 15% between 25 and 34, 10% between 18 and 24, and 18% over 65. One patient is described as a child, but an age and gender were not released. Men make up 56% of the county's cases; 44% are female.

Of the patients who have died of complications from COVID-19, seven were 65 or older, two were 25 to 34, one was 35 to 44, and three were 45 to 64. A half-dozen were female, and seven were male.

As of Friday, 8,727 people had been tested for COVID-19 in the county, an increase of 936 from Thursday. Officials said they currently have enough tests for 1,072 more people.

Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do on Tuesday implored residents to stay at home as much as possible to stem the tide of the pandemic.

“Social distancing and isolation is no longer a debate,” Do said.

Stay-at-home orders in other countries have lessened the spread of the disease, Do said, adding that Orange County residents might not know for weeks or months how effective their efforts have been. “But we can do more than hope for the best,” he said.

Do noted he had received multiple text messages and photos of large groups of people gathering last weekend in violation of the social-distancing recommendations.

“I have even heard of people hosting coronavirus parties,” Do said. “Stop it. ... Don't make play dates. Don't go see your cousin. ... Just don't.”

Do pointed out that “Just because you don't feel sick, doesn't mean you're not sick,” referring to the incubation period of the virus before symptoms flare up.

Calls for help have been flooding the county's social services agencies, officials said at a news conference Thursday.

The county's office on aging has received more than 2,000 calls, “roughly six times the usual call volume this week,” said Dylan Wright, director of OC Community Resources, who encouraged residents to check in on elderly neighbors.

County officials plan to call 500,000 seniors this week to check in on them, Wright said. Frozen meals are being delivered twice a week instead of daily to help reduce the amount of contact, he said.

Debra Baetz, director of the county's Social Services Agency, said the agency has seen a 65% increase in call volumes for various types of public aid. In the past two weeks, the agency has received more than 12,000 applications for public assistance programs, “which is a drastic increase,” Baetz said.

On the issue of whether people should wear face masks, Orange County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick discouraged residents from seeking out surgical masks or N95 masks, which are in short supply and badly needed by healthcare workers. Instead, Quick recommended any sort of face covering, including scarves and bandannas, because they can be effective in cutting down the spread of the virus, though people should still stay at home and practice social distancing.

County Public Health Director David Souleles said Tuesday there are enough hospital beds to handle patients because elective surgeries have been rescheduled, but that could change if an expected surge of patients occurs in the next week or two.

State officials on Wednesday announced they would use the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, which was in the process of being shut down, as an overflow site for patients who do not have coronavirus to make room for beds in area hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients.

Irvine has the most cases in the county with 69. Newport Beach has 67, and Anaheim has 63.

Other cities with the most cases include Huntington Beach with 48, Santa Ana with 43, San Clemente with 35, and Laguna Beach with 29.

Photo: Getty Images

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