SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County health officials reported nine new COVID-19 cases today -- the lowest day-to-day increase since March 17 -- while the county's death toll remained unchanged at 19.
The number of COVID-19 cases stands at 1,283, with 103 people hospitalized and 51 in intensive care, Orange County Health Care Agency officials said.
“Overall, our trend has been headed in the right direction,” Dr. Nichole Quick, the county's chief health officer, said in a media briefing. “I am cautiously optimistic in Orange County.”
Quick added, “We do not have any specific explanation why our cases today were significantly lower.”
David Souleles, a deputy director of the OC Health Care Agency, said a single day's data is less helpful than a longer-term trend when determining when the county may get past the pandemic.
“The best we can do right now is continue and monitor and see how the trend line over the next week or so” changes, Souleles said.
The number of people tested for COVID-19 in the county stands at 14,175, with enough kits for 1,519 more specimens. Since Sunday, 647 people have been tested.
Of the county's total cases, 2%, or 20, involve people under 18 years old; 8%, or 105, are between 18-24; 17%, or 220, are between 25-34; 15%, or 191, are between 35-44; 39%, or 501, are between 45-64, and 19%, or 246, are 65 or older. Men make up 53% of the county's cases, and 53% of its fatalities.
Of the deaths, two were 25 to 34 years old, one was 35 to 44, five were 45 to 64, and 11 were 65 or older. Of the fatalities, eight were Asian, four were white, five were Latino, one was black and one was not classified.
Anaheim has the most COVID-19 cases in the county with 148, followed by Santa Ana with 114 and Irvine with 100. Huntington Beach has 87, but Newport Beach is close behind with 85.
The number of Orange County Jail inmates testing positive for COVID-19 stands at 13, sheriff's officials reported last week. A dozen of the inmates are men and one is a woman, and three have since recovered, said Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
The 10 inmates still afflicted with COVID-19 were in medical isolation, and 11 others were in medical isolation because they were showing symptoms of the virus but had not tested positive, Braun said.
No more inmates are being accepted in the men's and women's jails and they are not being transferred to other lockups, Braun said. Newly booked inmates are also being quarantined, she said.
Orange County's chief health officer on Thursday issued a recommendation “strongly encouraging” face coverings for workers at essential businesses that remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Quick, who has the authority to mandate the action, stopped short of doing so. Her order was issued two days after the Orange County Board of Supervisors rejected Supervisor Andrew Do's motion to make face coverings mandatory for at least food industry workers.
Quick said she decided on a recommendation versus a mandate “based on what we're seeing numbers-wise. I'm hopeful we're seeing a flattening of the curve.”
The evidence that there has been a slowing of coronavirus cases in Orange County due to social distancing may be shown in the fact that the county is not seeing an exponential increase in cases on a daily basis, Quick said. The number of hospitalizations has also remained stable, she noted.
If COVID-19 cases take off again down the line, Quick said she would revisit a mandate.
A face covering should be worn over the nose and mouth, she said. Any sort of ties or straps should be used to secure it to the head. They can be factory-made, folded, sewn or improvised from common household items such as scarves, T-shirts, sweatshirts or towels, she said.
“Face coverings are an additional tool that may help protect staff and patrons from COVID-19, but they are not a substitute for proven protective measures like frequent hand washing, keeping your hands away from your face, practicing social distancing and staying home,” she said.
Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner said he learned on a conference call with UC Irvine Medical Center experts that there is concern about another wave of COVID-19 in the fall. Wagner said he would discuss with the rest of the board at Tuesday's meeting the possibility of stockpiling more masks and other types of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers for another potential wave.
“This is something that if we get a hiatus soon we need to start looking at what do we do to take care of it next time,” Wagner said.
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