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Orange County death toll from coronavirus rises to 14; 112 hospitalized

Jose Secundino, center, works at Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.
Jose Secundino, center, joins fellow temporary workers at Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. They previously worked at restaurants but their jobs were cut during the pandemic.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The death toll in Orange County from coronavirus increased to 14, with the total number of cases rising to 786, officials said Saturday.

The number of fatalities rose from 13 on Friday and cases grew by 75.

Officials said 112 COVID-19 patients were currently hospitalized, with 71 in intensive-care beds.

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.

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“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,” Orange 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.”

Newport Beach is placing a six-week moratorium on vacation rentals in its latest move to tamp down the number of visitors during the coronavirus pandemic. The City Council decided on the moratorium Friday night.

Councilwoman Diane Dixon said market forces — driven by stay-at-home orders in California and nationwide intended to stem the spread of the virus that causes the respiratory illness COVID-19 — have eliminated up to 95% of local short-term rental business. But Newport is an “attractive nuisance,” she said.

“What I am concerned about ... is that 5%,” Dixon said. “Why are people still coming to Newport Beach?”

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Business leaders and elected officials have tried to ease the fallout from a decimated customer base by helping businesses gain access to loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Small businesses are pleading for shoppers to buy local.

Costa Mesa will look into easing the process for local businesses by exploring a partnership with the Orange County Inland Empire Small Business Development Center Network. The consulting and training center hosted by Cal State Fullerton has been helping small businesses throughout the region as they navigate the SBA loan process.


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