Orange County Records Just 22 New Cases of COVID-19


SANTA ANA (CNS) - Weekly COVID-19 numbers show a continued decline in cases in Orange County as it maintains its status in the least-restrictive yellow tier.

The county Tuesday also reported just 22 new COVID-19 infections, upping the cumulative caseload to 255,070.

According to the weekly state data released every Tuesday, the average for the county's daily case rate per 100,000 people dropped from 1.5 to 1.3. The overall test positivity rate improved from 0.9% to 0.8%, and the county's Health Equity Quartile rate, which measures positivity in hot spots in disadvantaged communities, declined from 0.9% to 0.7%.

Hospitalizations declined from 76 on Monday to 72, with the number of intensive care unit patients declining from 11 to nine.

Two more fatalities were logged, raising the death toll to 5,054. One of the fatalities occurred this month and another happened in January.

The death toll for May rose to five, while the death toll for April stands at 40. The death toll for March is 181, and 581 for February.

The death toll for January, the deadliest during the pandemic, increased to 1,545, followed by 936 fatalities in December, the second deadliest month.

Another 8,272 COVID-19 tests were reported Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 3,879,109.

As has been the case for several months, hundreds of critics of the county's pandemic response showed up at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting. Some anti-vaccination and anti-mask activists have also taken to holding protests at the homes of county officials.

Last year, the former Orange County Public Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick resigned amid protests at her home. Last week, the activists showed up at the home of the current county public health officer, Dr. Clayton Chau, who also is director of the Orange County Health Care Agency.

It appears the activists may be planning another protest in front of the home of newly elected Supervisor Katrina Foley.

“If people have concerns about policy or want to petition the government, the right place to do that is at the county Board of Supervisors meeting,'' Orange County CEO Frank Kim said Monday. “That's an appropriate forum. The county has never closed its doors to the members of the public during the pandemic. We certainly encourage the public to come to the board meetings. That's the place to do it.''

Supervisor Don Wagner criticized the protests.

“Apparently they didn't make any threats (to Chau),'' Wagner said. “He is not worried for his own safety, but he's sort of upset for the neighbors. They are not helping themselves and their case. As I've said before, Dr. Chau is not the problem. The problem is the damned governor.''

Some of the critics of the pandemic-related restrictions have continually called on the supervisors to override the state's orders, which they legally cannot do. Some have called for Chau's firing and some have perpetuated multiple debunked conspiracy theories such as the pandemic was a hoax.

Orange County last Wednesday officially entered the least-restrictive yellow tier of the reopening blueprint, which allows for greater attendance for many businesses such as movie theaters and gyms, while museums, zoos and aquariums can open at full capacity. For the first time, bars and distilleries can open indoors. Theme parks such as Disneyland can expand attendance.

Orange County Probation Department officials on Monday announced that in-person visiting will resume at the Orange County Juvenile Hall, Youth Leadership Academy and Youth Guidance Center on May 31 for the first time since March 2020. Visitors must wear a mask and maintain social distancing.

Photo: Getty Images

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