O.C. residents can get daily coronavirus text alerts; Huntington Beach closes pier

A surfer leaves the water near the Huntington Beach Pier in this file photo. The structure was closed Tuesday as the city works to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

As the ongoing coronavirus outbreak upends everyday life on an everyday basis, Orange County residents can now get the latest facts at their fingertips.

The county has launched a new text-alert system to share updates and resources related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Residents can sign up by texting OCCOVID19 to 888777. The county’s Emergency Operations Center will send out daily text message updates to those who enroll.


The system, a collaboration with Everbridge Nixle, is the latest telephonic resource the county has rolled out to distribute information regarding the coronavirus — which so far has infected 125 residents.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Orange County increased by 30 on Monday, health officials said. No deaths have been reported.

March 23, 2020

Two hotlines — one for public information, (714) 628-7085, and an Orange County Health Care Agency referral line, (800) 564-8448 — are also available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Orange County's new alert system will send news and updates to residents via text message.
(Los Angeles Times)

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Orange County and throughout the state, officials have steadily ramped up their efforts to lessen the disease’s spread.

A centerpiece of the local-, county- and state-level response has been ordering residents to stay home as much as possible and to maintain a 6-foot buffer around themselves should they venture outside.


However, popular destinations — particularly along the coast — continued to draw crowds of cooped-up Californians over the weekend, leading some officials to take more drastic steps to curtail the congregations.

Huntington Beach officials announced the closure of the city’s iconic pier, effective Tuesday.

“Although Huntington Beach prides itself on its amenities, our top priority remains the health and safety of our community,” Mayor Lyn Semeta said in a video statement.

The Laguna Beach City Council also directed its staff to close city beaches by Monday night and work toward blocking local trail access to county wilderness parks.

Amid the continuing outbreak, Gov. Gavin Newsom has deployed the California National Guard to assist food banks statewide. President Trump also has announced that the federal government would pay for National Guard deployments in the state.

“I applaud our brave men and women in uniform that have been activated in California to assist the people of this great state as we combat the coronavirus pandemic,” Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel said in a statement Monday. “I welcome the National Guard’s assistance in providing necessary food and supplies to our residents in this time of great need.”