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California

Orange County coronavirus infections more than double in a week, now top 700

Jose Secundino and other temporary employees in face masks pack boxes at an Orange County food bank.
Jose Secundino, center, joins other recently hired temporary employees to pack food boxes for the needy Wednesday at Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Orange County reported 57 new coronavirus infections Friday, hiking its total number of cases to 711 — more than double what it was a week ago.

The county’s death toll remained unchanged at 13 — the first time in four days that more COVID-19-related fatalities haven’t been reported in the region.

Countywide, 103 people are currently hospitalized, 44 of them in intensive care, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

To date, 8,727 people have been tested for coronavirus infection in the county.

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As the number of cases continues to surge countywide, local health officials are now saying residents should consider wearing face coverings when they go outside.

Face masks could help against the coronavirus, but they aren’t an excuse for leaving your home for nonessential business, health officials say.

“Wearing a cloth face covering when leaving the house for essential activities may help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by residents who are positive but don’t have any symptoms,” county Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick said in a statement. “However, it’s important for community members to remember that face coverings are not a replacement for prevention measures like social distancing and frequent hand washing, which continue to be the best way to protect yourself.”

County officials also announced this week that they have entered into an agreement to convert two Ayres Hotels, located in Orange and Laguna Woods, into temporary housing and medical facilities for the homeless.

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The hotels will be leased on a month-to-month basis to shelter and provide medical care for homeless individuals who are over age 65, have underlying health conditions, are showing symptoms of the coronavirus or who have tested positive, county officials said.

“Speed is of the greatest importance,” county Executive Officer Frank Kim said during a news conference Thursday. “Our ability as a community to share in this incredibly difficult burden, as well as respond as quick as possible to isolate these highest-risk individuals and provide the necessary medical and provision of services within this motel environment, is something we were directed to do.”

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