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Orange County reports 1 new coronavirus death; officials commend social distancing

St. Jude Medical Center
Medical personnel from St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton stand on the sidewalk as Fullerton and Brea firefighters, EMS and police join together in a show of support for healthcare workers.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Orange County officials Monday reported one additional coronavirus-linked death, raising the toll to 33.

The county also announced an additional 41 COVID-19 cases, with the total now at 1,676. There were 142 cases reported over Saturday and Sunday, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

While the county saw a slowing in the number of infections early last week, with only seven new cases Monday and 21 cases Tuesday, the number shot back up over the days that followed.

David Souleles, director of public health services for the county Health Care Agency, said during a Monday news briefing that hospitalizations have remained “relatively flat for a while” and that the total number of cases has been doubling at a slower frequency.

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“Those are all indicators to us that the efforts at social distancing and other efforts we have asked our community to undertake are helping to begin to flatten our curve a little bit,” he said.

Officials said the county is looking for ways to mitigate the impact of revenue losses due to the pandemic.

Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel said that an ad-hoc committee bringing together business leaders to forge a plan to address the economic fallout will have its first meeting Tuesday.

County Executive Officer Frank Kim said officials have been looking into expanding hotel capacity for first responders and people living in crowded housing units who may need a safer place to self-isolate.

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Of those who have died, 19 were at least 65 years old and 11 were 45 to 64. Two victims were age 25 to 34 and one was age 35 to 44. Twenty of the victims have been men and 13 have been women.

County officials also released a breakdown of the victims by race and ethnicity, which showed that 11 of those who died were Asian, nine were Latino, eight were white and two were black. Information was unavailable for remaining victims.

According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, 18,766 people have been tested by the county and commercial labs to date.

Over the past few days, the county has seen various protests calling for the lifting of stay-at-home orders in California. In San Clemente’s business district, protesters on Sunday held up signs that read “Open Our Beaches,” “Let Me Be Free,” “Freedom Is Essential” and “The Media Is the Virus.” On Friday, a group of more than 100 protesters gathered in Huntington Beach.

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County Supervisor Donald Wagner said that protesters have been lawfully exercising their 1st Amendment rights.

“What you’re seeing is a number of people around the county rightly asking the question … ‘How do we get this county back open for business?’” he said. “Folks are rightfully asking those questions and they want answers from their government.”


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