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Coronavirus cases in Orange County jump to 125

A man takes his child on a walk in downtown Huntington Beach amid coronavirus restrictions last week.
A man takes his child on a walk in downtown Huntington Beach amid coronavirus restrictions last week.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The number of coronavirus infections in Orange County cracked triple digits on Monday.

There are now 125 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county, up 30 from Sunday, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. Despite the steady increase in cases, no deaths have been reported.

Of the confirmed cases, 73 are men and 52 are women. Most of the patients — 72 — are between the ages of 18 and 49, but 19 seniors and one person under the age of 18 have also tested positive, health officials said.

So far, 1,776 people have been tested for the coronavirus in the county.

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“Experiencing symptoms? Stay home while you’re ill,” health officials wrote on Twitter. “Need to seek medical care? Call your health care provider first so appropriate precautions can be taken.”

Of the county’s cases, 38 are categorized as community acquired — meaning they aren’t linked to travel or contact with another known case.

“COVID-19 is here and can’t be restricted to one location, but we can mitigate ... its impact on our residents and our healthcare system,” county Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel said in a statement Monday.

Like their counterparts in Los Angeles County, Orange County health officials have shifted their approach to dealing with the coronavirus away from containment. Instead, Orange County is dialed in on a mitigation strategy, which “shifts the focus from labor-intensive contact tracing, the process of identifying every person a known COVID-19 case has potentially exposed, to protecting the most vulnerable populations” — namely seniors and those with chronic health conditions — “by minimizing their exposure to the virus,” health officials said Friday.

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The county also operates two hotlines — one for public information, (714) 628-7085, and a Health Care Agency referral line, (800) 564-8448 — that are now available daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, state-, county- and city-level leaders have ordered California residents to stay indoors as much as possible and to maintain a six-foot buffer around themselves should they venture outside.

Some Orange County officials renewed those calls Monday and over the weekend, when crowds flocked to some of California’s most famous beaches.

While many are staying at home or maintaining a six-foot buffer when outside, other Californians are hitting the beach and working out in close proximity.

At an emergency meeting Sunday, the Laguna Beach City Council directed its staff to close city beaches by Monday night and work toward blocking local trail access to county wilderness parks.

“We were unanimous that these steps must be taken now in our city to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Bob Whalen said in a statement. “I urge everyone to comply with our actions for the health of everyone in our community and beyond.”

Huntington Beach officials reemphasized the importance of social distancing in a prepared statement Sunday. While the city believes it’s important to keep beaches, parks and other outdoor spaces “open to provide the public with an opportunity to get fresh air and maintain one’s mental and physical health during this challenging time,” doing so means everyone has to be responsible.

As of Monday, Newport Beach closed its dog park as well as all its sport courts, fields, playgrounds and fitness equipment “to further discourage gatherings of any size,” officials wrote on Twitter.

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Concerns over the coronavirus pushed the Orange County registrar of voters office to scuttle in-person voting for an upcoming recall election in the city of Westminster, officials announced Monday.

Eligible voters were instead sent ballots that they can either mail in or deliver to a drop box. Ballots must be submitted by 8 p.m. on April 7. More information is available at ocvote.com.


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