Advertisement
California

Orange County coronavirus deaths grow to 17 as cases top 1,000

The Pacific City shopping mall in Huntington Beach
Daniel Guzman, right, an unemployed pool supervisor from Garden Grove, sits alone in the mostly closed Pacific City shopping mall in Huntington Beach on April 2.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Orange County now has more than 1,000 confirmed coronavirus infections, as health officials reported one of the region’s largest single-day increases in confirmed cases.

Along with 91 new COVID-19 cases — for a total of 1,016 — the Orange County Health Care Agency also announced two additional coronavirus-related deaths Wednesday, bringing the county’s toll to 17.

One of the new victims was at least 65 years old, and the other was between the age of 45 and 64, county figures show.

The 91 COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday were the second most in one day in the county since the pandemic began, data show. Health officials confirmed 104 new cases on April 1.

Advertisement

Roughly 59% of all confirmed coronavirus patients in the county are at least 45 years old, according to the Health Care Agency.

Countywide, 99 people are currently hospitalized — 59 of them in intensive care.

“While we want to provide information that best educates our community during this pandemic, it’s important to understand that hospitalization numbers capture a point in time and will fluctuate daily,” County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick said in a statement. “Looking at historical data over a period of weeks can give us a better understanding of trends in our community.”

Advertisement

For weeks, county officials have been prepping for an expected surge in hospital patients as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Along with working to increase the capacity of existing hospitals, the county also has been endeavoring to secure new patient care facilities — like the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa.

“We are grateful for the local and state partnerships that have allowed us to take the necessary measures to ensure Orange County is prepared for a likely increase in demand on our hospitals,” Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel said in a statement. “We will continue to assess the situation and determine any additional steps we need to take to ensure our community will have the services it needs.”

In line with guidance from state and federal health officials, Orange County now recommends residents wear some kind of face covering when they have to go outside to limit the spread of infectious particles.

Advertisement

However, the county so far has held off on mandating that people cover their faces while outside, a step Riverside and San Bernardino counties have taken.

Despite a push from Supervisor Andrew Do, Orange County officials on Tuesday opted against requiring workers who interact with the public — including those at pharmacies, grocery stores and other businesses that serve food — to cover their faces while on the job.

Such a condition is now in place in San Diego County, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a similar order Tuesday evening requiring a mask, bandanna or other type of covering for employees at most essential businesses, as well as residents visiting those establishments.

Advertisement

“I strongly feel that we need to be consistent with our advisory of wearing face coverings when in public,” Do said Tuesday. “This advisory is especially necessary when it comes to people who handle our groceries and food. We have to look out for each other.”

Fellow county Supervisor Don Wagner, however, said, “Members of the Board of Supervisors do not have medical degrees, and we should defer to our healthcare professionals to best protect the public.”

Advertisement


Newsletter
The stories shaping California

Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
Advertisement