Orange County Reports 26 Deaths From COVID-19

SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County health officials have reported their highest one-day total of deaths from the coronavirus, announcing 26 fatalities, along with 354 newly confirmed cases.

The numbers bring the county's totals to 11,016 cases and 299 deaths, and continue the recent trend of increased cases and fatalities as more sectors of the local economy are reopening following three months of lockdown orders.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus rose from 349 on Tuesday to 363, with the number of patients in intensive care rising from 137 to 145, the Orange County Health Care Agency said Wednesday.

A total of 227,962 tests have been completed, and the number of documented recoveries stands at 5,249.

The total number of Orange County coronavirus cases break down to 50% men and 50% women, but men account for 56% of the deaths, according to the HCA.

Last weekend, the agency reported record numbers of COVID-19 cases and blamed the high numbers in part on a backlog in the reporting of test results. But many Southland health officials have also cited a recent increase in community transmission.

Santa Ana leads all county cities with 2,332 cases, followed by Anaheim with 2,119. The high numbers in Orange County's two largest cities are attributed to their population size and the presence of multiple nursing homes in both cities.

Dr. Clayton Chau, the Health Care Agency's director and interim chief health officer, told the Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, As of yesterday we're doing quite well with our numbers.''

The county's positive test results for coronavirus is 6.7%, which is lower than the state's standard of 8%, which triggers a state response, Chau said. The county also has more than enough beds in its hospitals and intensive care units, he said.

Supervisor Don Wagner said the hospitalization rate includes patients who may have been brought to a hospital for a slip and fall'' or appendicitis'' but tested positive for COVID-19.

The rate also includes about 30 people from Imperial County, who have been treated in Orange County as part of a plan to relieve a surplus of patients there. There are nine patients from Imperial County in Orange County's beds, prompting Wagner and Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel to call for a more specific breakdown of the numbers on the county's website.

How in the world can you make medical decisions and we make policy decisions on this amorphous data,'' Wagner said.

Chau said he intends to debut a version 2.0'' of the county's coronavirus website by week's end.

Chau said he is most concerned about watching the positivity rate'' and whether the county has enough bed space to handle a surge of patients.

Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said she would like county officials to list restaurants that have had to close for COVID-19-related reasons. Restaurants are listed publicly when they have to shut down for a pest infestation, she noted.

Also, Bartlett pointed out, they are doing it in neighboring counties such as Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside. Bartlett said when she went to dine at a couple of area restaurants recently she was alarmed at how lax the staff cleaned up after patrons and that one restaurant did not have disposable menus as required.

In what is becoming a weekly ritual, dozens of residents spoke out Tuesday on facial coverings at the Board of Supervisors meeting, with a growing number speaking in favor of wearing masks.

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