SANTA ANA (CNS) - The Orange County Health Care Agency has reported 198 new coronavirus cases, but no deaths, marking the first day in a week without any new fatalities, while Anaheim officials revealed an outbreak at one of the city's fire stations that has left one fire captain critically ill.
Last week, the deadliest in Orange County since the pandemic began, saw 36 fatalities, and Saturday and Sunday saw another 11 deaths, bringing the total to 221. Of that number, 104 deaths involved residents of skilled nursing home facilities, according to the HCA.
The agency also reported an uptick in hospitalizations -- a closely watched metric. The HCA said 315 coronavirus patients are hospitalized in Orange County -- up from 290 on Sunday. Of that number, 144 are being treated in intensive care units, unchanged from the previous day.
The county has reported 8,759 cases of COVID-19 and 4,138 documented recoveries.
Santa Ana leads all county cities with 1,880 cases, followed by Anaheim with 1,662. Their high numbers are attributed to their large populations and the presence of multiple nursing homes in both cities.
An outbreak at an Anaheim fire station that officials declined to identify has sickened seven firefighters who have contracted COVID-19 since May 27, said city spokesman Mike Lyster.
Three have recovered and returned to work, and two are recovering at home, but two others are hospitalized, including one who is in intensive care on a ventilator, Lyster said.
Capt. Dave Baker was admitted to Mission Hospital on June 7, according to his wife.
Baker was the model for a painting Disneyland created with Mickey Mouse to show appreciation to the city's firefighters in 1993. The painting hangs in the Anaheim Fire & Rescue Department's offices.
According to Anaheim Fire & Rescue spokesman Shane Carringer, the other firefighter admitted to an ICU unit is in stable condition and improving.
Apart from the two hospitalized firefighters, two are at home with mild symptoms and three have returned to work, Fire Chief Pat Russell said in a statement.
“One of the greatest strengths of this organization is how we rally to help our members in need,'' Russell said. “As with all challenging situations that we are all forced to endure, we will continue to lift each other up, support each other, and take care of one another.''
Anaheim officials have not traced which call infected the first firefighter, Lyster said. But officials also have not ruled out that the infections could have come from multiple sources, he said.
It is the first time any of the city's 211 firefighters and paramedics have fallen ill to the coronavirus, Lyster said. The city has heightened sanitizing with hospital-grade cleanings of its stations and first-responders are all equipped with personal protective equipment, but the infections show the challenge of avoiding the highly contagious disease, he said.
“All the protocols are in place, and it's a very high standard,'' Lyster said. “It's just the reality of a first responder, who can still be at risk of exposure.''
The Orange County Sheriff's Department reported Monday that 387 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with 376 having recovered and seven currently showing symptoms. Sheriff's officials are awaiting results of 89 tests.
With more sectors of the economy authorized to begin reopening, Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel said Thursday that the county has “reason to be positive about where we are'' in terms of coronavirus statistics when compared to neighboring counties and the state.
In addition to bars, gyms and theaters, community pools, schools, day camps, museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums, wineries and family entertainment centers received permission last week to reopen in Orange County.
On Friday, the state authorized the reopening of nail salons on June 19. Workers and customers will be required to wear face coverings, according to the state guidelines.
On Thursday, Dr. Clayton Chau -- the HCA's director who was appointed as the county's chief health officer following the abrupt resignation of Dr. Nichole Quick at the start of last week-- modified the county's previous mandate requiring people to wear face coverings in public. He made it a “strong recommendation'' instead.
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