‘Cautiously optimistic,’ Orange County reports fewest new coronavirus infections in a month

People exercise on a bike path in Huntington Beach on Friday.
People on a bike path amid rain in Huntington Beach on Friday.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Orange County reported nine new coronavirus infections Monday — the lowest day-over-day figure in almost a month.

Officials were quick to stress, though, that a single day of data is not necessarily indicative of how things will go in the days to come. Prior to Monday, the county had a five-day streak in which at least 55 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed each day.

“Overall, our trend has been headed in the right direction,” said County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick. “I am cautiously optimistic in Orange County.”


Quick added “we do not have any specific explanation as to why our cases for today were significantly lower.”

The last time the county reported so few new cases in a single day was March 17, before the virus’ spread began to ramp up and widespread social distancing orders were put in place across the state, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

The scant number of new infections, which bring the county’s total to 1,283, didn’t seem to result from a lack of testing. Since Sunday, 647 people in the county were tested for coronavirus infection, health officials said.

“I think the important thing to focus on here is not a single day’s reporting, but rather what the trend is,” said David Souleles, director of public health services for the county Health Care Agency. “And we won’t know the meaning of today’s reporting until we see it in the context of additional reporting in the days to come.”

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April 2, 2020

The county’s death toll remained at 19 on Monday.

Of those who have died as a result of COVID-19, 11 were 65 or older and five were 45 to 64, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.


Two other victims were in the 25 to 34 age bracket, and the other was between 35 and 44.

Countywide, 103 people battling COVID-19 are hospitalized, and 51 of them are in intensive care.

The bulk of confirmed coronavirus infections, about 58%, have been among adults who are at least 45 years old, health officials said.

As the case count increases, county officials are urging residents to take precautions to protect themselves.

Those measures include following health orders to stay home as much as possible and regular, thorough hand washing.

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April 14, 2020

The county Health Care Agency also cast itself in the role of myth buster Friday, posting on its Facebook page that the World Health Organization assured “5G mobile networks DO NOT spread COVID-19.”

The misinformation connecting the wireless technology to the spread of the coronavirus has taken root in some corners of the internet, and recently was amplified by social media posts from prominent individuals such as actors Woody Harrelson and John Cusack.

“Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks,” the Health Care Agency wrote. “COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.”

Rather, COVID-19 is “spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks” or when someone touches “a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose,” health officials said.

Fears over the proliferation of 5G predate the coronavirus’ arrival. Some residents throughout Orange County and the state have expressed concerns with the technology, which activists allege could endanger public health because of the use of higher-frequency radio waves.