Orange County Reports One More Death From Coronavirus


SANTA ANA (CNS) - Local health officials today reported one additional death and 145 new COVID-19 cases in Orange County, as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a temporary “hard close” of the county's beaches, where crowds gathered during last weekend's heat wave amid social-distancing mandates.

The latest coronavirus-related fatality raises the county's death toll to 45 and brings the total number of confirmed cases to 2,393, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

The HCA reported that the number of hospitalized patients jumped from 175 on Wednesday to 190, while the number of intensive care patients declined from 70 to 63.

The number of people in the county tested for the virus increased by 1,594 to 31,534.

Of the county's total cases, 2%, or 45, involve people under 18 years old; 9%, or 204, are between 18-24; 17%, or 403, are between 25-34; 15%, or 362, are between 35-44; 19%, or 454, are between 45-54; 17%, or 415, are between 55-64; 11%, or 253, are between 65-74; 7%, or 157, are between 75-84; and 4%, or 100, are 85 and older.

Men make up 53% of the county's cases and 62% of its fatalities.

Of the patients who died, 4% were 25 to 34 years old, 7% were 35 to 44, 11%, were 45-54, 16% were 55-64, 11% were 65-74, 33% were 75-84, and 18% were 85 or older.

Whites account for 31% of the fatalities, followed by Latinos (29%), and Asians (27%). According to the HCA, 7% were black, 2% were native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 2% were unknown, and 2% fall into the category of “other.”

Santa Ana has the most cases with 366, followed by Anaheim at 346, Huntington Beach at 223, and Irvine at 130. They are the four biggest cities in the county.

Despite restrictions designed to slow the spread of the virus, crowds flocked to Orange County beaches over the weekend as temperatures rose to summer-like levels, prompting Newsom's “hard closure” order.

There was some speculation Newsom would order a statewide closure of beaches, but he focused just on Orange County, saying he wanted to “reward” the officials elsewhere in the state who have worked to keep large crowds away from the shoreline.

Unlike in neighboring Los Angeles County, the public was not strictly prohibited from spending time on the sand in Orange County last weekend, though county beach parking lots have been closed.

City councils in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and San Clemente held special meetings Tuesday to discuss their schedules for closing and/or re- opening beaches and parks. County supervisors did not address the issue at their meeting on Tuesday but did approve a list of business guidelines for when stay-at-home orders are relaxed, which Newsom praised.

When Newsom was asked Wednesday by a reporter to comment on erroneous reports that the county had “reopened” its businesses, she handed the phone to Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner, a former assemblyman, who scrambled to correct the reporter that the county's guidelines do not supersede the state's orders.

“I was unaware the phone would be stuck in my face to say something to the governor,” Wagner told City News Service afterward. “My point to the governor is that we recognize the importance of following state, local and individual city orders and encourage people to follow those orders.”


The Newport Beach City Council, in a 3-2 vote on Tuesday, rejected an emergency motion to shut down its beaches for the next three weekends, despite Newsom's admonishments. Instead, the city intended to close the parking lots to the beaches and have police beef up patrols to enforce social distancing. Also, popular spots such as the Oceanfront Boardwalk, the Newport and Balboa piers and the Wedge would have remained closed.

Newport Beach City Councilman Kevin Muldoon led the effort to fend off the proposed ordinance, arguing that the state should be looking to relaxing quarantine conditions before more damage is done to the economy.

Wagner does not support any shutdown of beaches. Newsom “is rightly saying it should be driven by data and the data suggests that sunlight and outdoor activities help people fight off the coronavirus,” he said.

Wagner also disputed reports of mass gatherings of beachgoers ignoring social distancing.

Orange County's guidelines encourage sick people or anyone 65 or older or who have underlying medical conditions or chronic illnesses to continue follow stay-at-home orders.

Physical distancing of six feet between customers, employees and general public are encouraged, and if that is impractical then face coverings should be worn. Telecommuting is encouraged as much as possible.

Employees should wash hands every 30 minutes or use hand sanitizer or wear disposable gloves and have their temperature checked before each shift. Anyone with a temperature above 100.4 should be sent home.

The guidelines suggest customers wear face coverings, as well.

The Sheriff's Department on Thursday reported the number of inmates testing positive for COVID-19 jumped from 117 on Wednesday to 122. The department is awaiting results of 20 more tests. So far, 22 inmates have fully recovered. The number of inmates testing positive for COVID-19 has jumped as officials expand testing, Sheriff Don Barnes said.

Sheriff's officials were previously testing symptomatic inmates, but with the availability of more tests, expanded it to newly booked inmates and those who were quarantined because they came in contact with sick inmates but didn't have any symptoms.

Three deputies who have tested positive for coronavirus have fully recovered, Barnes said.

Photos: Getty Images

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