Orange County Reports 44 New Cases of COVID-19, No Deaths

SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County today reported just 44 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, and, for the second day in a row, no new deaths.

The county's cumulative coronavirus case total increased to 50,974, while the death toll stands at 1,093.

Last week, the Orange County Health Care Agency reported 42 COVID-19 fatalities. The week before saw 76 deaths reported.

In more good news, hospitalizations in the county continued to drop, decreasing from 196 on Sunday to 193 Monday, with the number of intensive care patients dropping from 58 to 56.

The county's daily case count per 100,000 people stands at 5.2, and the seven-day rate of residents testing positive for the coronavirus is 4.2%

To move up from the state's red tier to the orange tier, the county must have a daily new case rate per 100,000 of 1 to 3.9 and a positivity rate of 2 to 4.9%.

The OCHCA reported that 741,247 COVID-19 tests have been conducted, including 3,689 reported Monday. There have been 45,396 documented recoveries.

On the six-month anniversary of the shutdown of large venues such as theme parks, Anaheim officials appealed publicly to the state for some kind of guidance on the reopening of Disneyland so they can better prepare. The state shutdown order of March 14 also affected the Anaheim Convention Center, the Honda Center and Angel Stadium.

Anaheim officials need “guidance on theme parks to reopen safely and responsibly when it is right,'' city spokesman Mike Lyster said. “We actually need a roadmap for recovery.''

The need to plan and prepare is more crucial now that case rates in the county and in hotspots like Anaheim are declining, Lyster said.

“We're seeing cases come down significantly in Anaheim, even in our most hardest-hit neighborhoods,'' he said.

The county's outreach to neighborhoods with the highest coronavirus cases has made a difference, Lyster said. City officials expect the county to meet the state's orange tier standards as of tomorrow, he said.

“We believe now is not the time to necessarily open the theme parks, but to talk about the economic recovery road map,'' Lyster said.

The city's unemployment rate has reached 15%, which is higher than the peak of 12% during the Great Recession a decade ago.

“That's 26,000 people in our city. That's a significant amount of people dislocated from their jobs,'' Lyster said, noting that Anaheim “is looking at a $100 million deficit.''

Compounding matters is many of the unemployed have had trouble getting unemployment benefits, Lyster said.

A planned reopening in mid-July was scrapped because of outbreaks stemming from the Fourth of July. Lyster said city officials believe that Disney's management of the reopening of its Downtown Disney businesses shows it can responsibly reopen with social distancing and enforcement of face coverings.

“It really is a model to go forward containing coronavirus and also allowing people to get back to work,'' Lyster said. “What's frustrating is beaches, zoos and parts of Sea World (in San Diego) are open. These are attractions that can draw tens of thousands of people. We want to see the same opportunity for theme parks.''

Orange County was upgraded from the purple to the red tier in California's coronavirus monitoring system last week. The move allowed for churches, theaters and other businesses to resume indoor operations, but with strict limits on capacity and other health measures in place.

Theaters, restaurants and churches are restricted to 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. Museums, zoos and aquariums also were allowed to reopen indoor activities at 25% capacity. Shopping centers were given the green light to expand from 25% capacity to half-capacity under the red tier, while gyms were allowed to reopen at 10% capacity.

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