SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County health officials are reporting seven COVID-19 fatalities, raising the death toll in the county to 306, and a jump in patients hospitalized due to the virus.
The seven fatalities raise this week's death toll to 39. Wednesday was the deadliest day since the pandemic began as officials reported 26 fatalities.
More than half of the county's fatalities -- 157 -- involve residents of nursing homes, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The county reported 506 new coronavirus cases, raising the cumulative to 11,511. The number of hospitalized patients rose from 363 on Wednesday to 394, with the number of patients in intensive care increasing from 145 to 147.
A total of 231,902 tests have been completed, and the number of documented recoveries stands at 5,326.
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 2,415 cases, followed by Anaheim with 2,207. 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.
In Orange County's jails, 392 inmates have tested positive for coronavirus with 387 having recovered. Five inmates are experiencing symptoms are in medical quarantine and officials are awaiting the results of 77 tests.
Orange County CEO Frank Kim and Dr. Clayton Chau, the Health Care Agency's director and interim chief health officer, met with reporters on Thursday to unveil details of a new county website regarding COVID-19 that will launch on Friday.
They also discussed a $600,000 advertising blitz the county has begun to reach residents in Santa Ana and Anaheim to help educate them about the virus in the hopes that would stem the tide in those hot spots.
When Chau was hired recently he noticed the rising cases in Santa Ana and Anaheim and set out to meet with officials in those cities to discuss ways to tackle the problem. The newly redesigned website, which includes data by ZIP code in the county, is a product of those discussions, Kim said.
The two emphasized that residents should not be quick to draw too many conclusions about the caseloads in various areas of the county.
“It doesn't mean you're safer or at greater risk,'' Chau said.
Santa Ana and Anaheim lend themselves in part to higher case loads because of their density and concentration of extended families living together. Three's also some distrust of government with many immigrants, who fear being deported if they seek help, the two said.
County officials are steering residents toward community clinics, because there is a level of trust there for many immigrants who receive medical aid under the CalOptima insurance program for the area's needy.
Some residents who cannot physically distance from their relatives and roommates have been placed in hotels by the county so they can recuperate and quarantine, Kim said.
County officials are working on contracting with another hotel to do more of that as they have under the Project Room Key that sets aside hotel rooms for transients who get infected.
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