582 More Orange County Residents Test Positive, OC Curfew Coming

ORANGE COUNTY, CA — An additional 582 Orange County residents were diagnosed with coronavirus Thursday, raising the cumulative case count to 67,167. Nine additional residents have died as a result of coronavirus, raising the county’s death toll to 1,537 as hospitalizations continue to climb.

In response to the rapid rise in coronavirus cases across the Southland, all purple tier counties will begin a mandatory 10 p.m. curfew, per the governor’s office. Sheriff Don Barnes of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department says that they will take an “education first” standing, while they assess the governor’s order.

“At this time, we will not be responding to requests for masks or for social-gatherings enforcement,” Barnes announced over social media.

One of the fatalities was a skilled nursing facility resident and another was an assisted living facility resident. Last week, the county reported 18 deaths, compared with 24 the week before. Since Sunday, the county has reported 13 deaths within the county.

The number of residents hospitalized with the virus rose from 291 Wednesday to 304 Thursday, with the number in the intensive care unit dropping from 90 to 83, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

The change in the three-day average of hospitalized patients went from 13.5% to 17.8%. The county has 29% of its intensive care unit beds and 65% of its ventilators available.
County officials are confident local hospitals can handle the surge.

“I think it’s important to take a look at the positive COVID-19 cases in the county, but also as a percentage of those cases, how many of those are individuals who get hospitalized and also keep track of our hospital bed capacity,” County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said.

Bartlett, who is also president of the California State Association of Counties, said state officials are concerned about having enough medical staff to cover its hospital beds, but local medical center executives say they are prepared for the surge.

“Right now we still have significant bed staffing in Orange County,” Bartlett said. “But we need to keep track as COVID cases rise and how many get hospitalized. We want to sure our health care system doesn’t get overwhelmed.”

Hospital officials must not only keep track of coronavirus hospitalizations, but for other patients as well, Bartlett said.

The state has a “mutual aid” policy regarding medical staffing of hospitals, so if there is a surge regionally outside the county, Orange County’s medical professionals would be assigned where there is the greatest need.

The county’s intensive care units have not seen a sharp rise in patients, which could be owed to “better therapeutics” as doctors get more efficient at treating the virus, Bartlett said.

The biggest source of transmission of coronavirus was attributed to friends and families getting together.

According to Bartlett, the majority of these are “small to medium private gatherings, where people are in close proximity without face coverings.”

Orange County leaders have argued that the tighter restrictions on businesses as the county has been placed back into the most restrictive, purple, tier of the state’s four-tier regulatory system. It amounts to “punishing” businesses when they aren’t as much a vector for the disease, they say.

“We can only shut down so much,” Bartlett said. “That’s why with the private gatherings we have to figure out how to target those.”

With Thanksgiving around the corner, and Christmas right behind, the county has pleaded with residents not to travel, but if they do, to quarantine once they return.

Orange County CEO Frank Kim, who himself contracted coronavirus, said it is also likely that the Nov. 3 election contributed to the rise as well.

“Any time you have a public gathering that could include social or election-related or community protests — we’re not saying you can’t do those things — but we’re saying they’re absolutely one of the areas of greater risk because you’re interacting with people outside of your normal cohorts and you don’t know what parts of the community these people are coming from, so now you have a mixture of people who may or may not be from the same county. It’s an unstable cohort and that is added risk.”

Testing is key, in understanding who has been infected and alerting contacts.

The county is rolling out a program to distribute no-cost home test kits for residents of Anaheim and Santa Ana, and later to all cities, to help encourage quarantining and social distancing.

Read: How At-Home Coronavirus Tests Will Work For Orange County

Visit a testing Super Site to be tested for both COVID-19 and the flu. Find information and book your appointment at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/supersite.

This most recent surge in coronavirus cases is still dwarfed by the rise that occurred in July, when daily case rates reached 1,000 some days. Hospitalization rates soared as high as 700 on some days during the July surge.

Bartlett cautioned that deaths are often a lagging indicator and as hospitalizations increase, so could fatalities.

The number of tests conducted is 1,300,097, which includes 21,263 received Thursday. There is not a one-to-one correlation with the tests, as some people have received multiple tests.

There are a total of 3.2 million residents of Orange County.

Across the county, here are the number of cases by city as of Thursday:

  • Aliso Viejo – 495 Total Cases

  • Anaheim – 11438 Total Cases

  • Brea – 693 Total Cases

  • Buena Park – 1957 Total Cases

  • Costa Mesa – 2283 Total Cases

  • Coto de Caza – 63 Total Cases

  • Cypress – 698 Total Cases

  • Dana Point – 338 Total Cases

  • Fountain Valley – 691 Total Cases

  • Fullerton – 3250 Total Cases

  • Garden Grove – 3743 Total Cases

  • Huntington Beach – 2945 Total Cases

  • Irvine – 2261 Total Cases

  • La Habra – 1850 Total Cases

  • La Palma – 198 Total Cases

  • Ladera Ranch – 211 Total Cases

  • Laguna Beach – 280 Total Cases

  • Laguna Hills – 404 Total Cases

  • Laguna Niguel – 581 Total Cases

  • Laguna Woods – 90 Total Cases

  • Lake Forest – 1063 Total Cases

  • Los Alamitos – 265 Total Cases

  • Midway City – 156 Total Cases

  • Mission Viejo – 1115 Total Cases

  • Newport Beach – 1367 Total Cases

  • Orange – 3150 Total Cases

  • Placentia – 1230 Total Cases

  • Rancho Mission Viejo – 88 Total Cases

  • Rancho Santa Margarita – 441 Total Cases

  • Rossmoor – 72 Total Cases

  • San Clemente – 688 Total Cases

  • San Juan Capistrano – 721 Total Cases

  • Santa Ana – 12830 Total Cases

  • Seal Beach – 337 Total Cases

  • Silverado – 44 Total Cases

  • Stanton – 788 Total Cases

  • Trabuco Canyon – 258 Total Cases

  • Tustin – 1641 Total Cases

  • Villa Park – 75 Total Cases

  • Westminster – 1368 Total Cases

  • Yorba Linda – 1005 Total Cases

Read also:

How At-Home Coronavirus Tests Will Work For Orange County

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Top 10 Shows To Binge-Watch In Orange County

Rescind Newsom’s Coronavirus Restrictions! OC Residents Beg Board

This article originally appeared on the Orange County Patch

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