After a surge in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases over the weekend, Orange County’s total case count hit 2,126 Monday — up more than 500 from a week ago.
Orange County saw its biggest two-day increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases so far over the weekend, reporting 123 — a daily record for the county — on Saturday and 105 on Sunday, county data show. Public health officials reported 54 new cases of the virus on Monday.
Despite the steady increase — 282 new coronavirus infection cases have been reported in the last three days alone — the county did not report any new fatalities on Monday, leaving the death toll at 39.
Officials also reported that 157 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized with 62 of them in intensive care. To date, 26,347 people countywide have been tested for coronavirus.
The county’s surge in cases comes as some residents continue to call for statewide stay-at-home orders to be relaxed, if not completely lifted. California has experienced only a fraction of the deaths of coronavirus hot spots such as New York and New Jersey, and experts attribute that in part to early orders that forced people to observe social distancing and stay home.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has reiterated that it is too early to lift those rules and urged people to continue to stay home to stem the spread of the virus. Despite that request, dozens gathered at the circle in Old Towne Orange on Monday amid a chorus of honking cars to protest what they say are unnecessary restrictions on public life.
Few wore masks, and many carried American flags and signs urging officials to “save California’s small businesses” and “reopen California.”
“Let us live and take our chances,” one sign read.
“We’re out here protesting in a great way for our freedom,” Dennis Murphy of Santa Ana told reporters. “We want to have O.C. open up.”
Dr. Nichole Quick, the county’s health officer, told the Board of Supervisors last week that staff is working to strengthen six areas that Newsom said earlier this month would need to be in place before he would consider loosening the stay-at-home order.
Customers defy social distancing and the wearing of masks to stand in line at the recently opened Nomads Canteen in San Clemente. The restaurant opened its doors to dine-in services over the weekend in defiance of the California’s stay-at-home order. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)
Christina Dagle and her daughter, Eleanor Eades, 4, of Seal Beach, wait in line to buy flowers for a friend from Devynn’s Garden in Seal Beach. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Station 17 owner Cynthia Freund says that roller skates, shown at left, has been her most popular on-line sale item as she reopens for curb-side shopping in Seal Beach. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Armando Mendoza, of Anaheim, celebrates with all his health-care professionals and his family and supporters as he is released after spending 45 days at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Health care workers dance and take images while a mariachi band plays as Armando Mendoza, of Anaheim, gets released from St. Joseph Hospital in Orange. Mendoza was the hospital’s second-ever COVID-19 patient and spent 45 days at St. Joseph Hospital before being released. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
People stroll along Main Beach in Laguna Beach as city ,with State’s blessings, reopened its beaches for active use only. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)
Ian Hanna skimboards along the shoreline on Main Beach in Laguna Beach, after it reopened to active use only. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)
A sailboat cruises by as a lone beach-goer in Newport Beach, despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s hard closure of the beach. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
An aerial view of a few surfers and beach-goers in Newport Beach despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s hard closure. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Beach goers ignore social distancing and beach closures as they walk in groups to the beach access stairs to Salt Creek Beach. ( Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)
Elizabeth Robles of Laguna decides to park in a “No Parking” zone and get the $30 ticket so she could walk to Salt Creek Beach to surf. “The ticket is worth it to me. I broke my arm recently and haven’t surfed in 8 months,” she said. ( Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)
With parking lots closed, a man heads to the beach on the bike path with kids, beach chairs and paddle board loaded on his electric bike in Capistrano Beach. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
John and Jamie Garcia, of La Habra, celebrate Jamie’s birthday by relaxing in loungers at the Beachcomber Inn with a view of an empty, closed beach and pier due to the coronavirus restrictions amid a heat wave in San Clemente. The council voted to reopen the beach for recreational activity such as walking, running, swimming and surfing, but have also said residents should not bring a blanket and hang out. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Cal State Fullerton student Linh Trinh, 21, right, and her boyfriend Tan Nguyen, 21, walk around a deserted CSUF campus. The school is planning to begin fall semester with online classes, one of the first universities in the nation to make that move as campuses throughout the country grapple with how long to stay closed to most students amid the coronavirus outbreak. (Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
Russel and Kathleen Sion, of Torrance, celebrate tying the knot in a parking lot at the Honda Center in Anaheim, where the County of Orange Clerk Recorder is performing wedding ceremonies. (Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
Irvine couple Xiakuan Qian, left, and Qingyun Zhu, get married in a parking lot at the Honda Center in Anaheim. (Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
UC Irvine Medical Center healthcare workers wave as about 25 Orange County first-responder vehicles participate in a drive-by parade of gratitude as healthcare staff battle COVID-19 at the hospital. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
UC Irvine Medical Center healthcare workers bang on the windows as they watch about 25 Orange County first-responder vehicles participate in a drive-by parade of gratitude as they battle COVID-19 at the hospital, which currently has eight patients with the virus. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Healthcare workers tend to a driver in line at a drive-through coronavirus testing site at the Westminster Mall in Westminster. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
MaryAnn Lawson collects prayer requests from people gathering in their cars in a parking lot in Santa Ana to worship in an Easter service by Rev. Robert A. Schuller. Schuller is reviving a practice that launched his father to worldwide acclaim -- the drive-in ministry. (Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
Security guard Carlos Reyes wears a protective mask and gloves while patrolling the nearly empty Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center amid coronavirus physical distancing restrictions in Santa Ana. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Charlton Paul, 31, and his soon-to-be wife, Heather Paul, 32, arrive at the Honda Center where the County of Orange Clerk-Recorder set up three booths for marriage licenses and weddings in Anaheim. (Raul Roa/Times Community News)
Paul Jones, left, wears a custom-made face mask as does his bride, Annamarie Sucher-Jones, during their wedding in a parking lot at the Honda Center where the County of Orange Clerk-Recorder set up three booths for marriage licenses and weddings in Anaheim. (Raul Roa/Times Community News)
Kayakers, boaters and a paddle boarder observe coronavirus social distancing rules while exercising and gliding through Huntington Harbor on the first warm day in weeks with a view of recently snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains in Huntington Beach. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
UC Irvine Medical Center healthcare workers react as an Anaheim police officer joins about 25 Orange County first-responder vehicles participating in a drive-by parade of gratitude as healthcare staff battle COVID-19 at the hospital. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Ashley Amon, and her daughters, Alysha, 2, and Alexandria, 4, who are currently homeless, attend a gathering with fellow worshipers in their cars in a parking lot in Santa Ana to worship in an Easter service by Rev. Robert A. Schuller. (Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
An aerial view of the closed San Clemente pier and beach. Officials said the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Marine Safety, Code Enforcement and Park Rangers will increase monitoring and people who do not comply could be cited. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
A couple takes in a sunset together near the San Clemente pier after San Clemente closed its beaches to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Kristen Edgerle of Victorville collects information from a blood donor before drawing blood at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library blood drive during the coronavirus pandemic in Yorba Linda. (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)
Protest organizer Elizabeth Coe, waves the American flag out of her sun roof and Laguna Woods resident Debbie Bloom, 67, left, parades her sign while joining mostly Laguna Woods seniors protesting after learning nearby Ayres Hotel will be used to treat homeless COVID-19 patients in Laguna Woods. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Kylie Wortham, who was laid off when her entire company was closed due to coronavirus restrictions, relaxes with a book in a hammock overlooking the beach in Huntington Beach. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
A social distancing sign alerts visitors to keep their distance from other people on the mostly empty board walk in Huntington Beach. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Jose Secundino, center, joins fellow recently hired Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County temporary employees, who have been laid off from restaurant jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, as they pack boxes of food for the needy. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Daniel Guzman, right, an unemployed pool supervisor from Garden Grove, sits alone in the mostly closed and normally crowded Pacific City shopping mall in Huntington Beach. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Jessica Estebane, a temporarily unemployed restaurant worker from Huntington Beach, rests from her jog in front of closed Huntington Surf & Sport. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
Laguna Beach closes all city beaches and their adjacent parks. (Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
Laguna Beach has closed all city beaches and their adjacent parks (Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
The six criteria are the ability to closely monitor and track potential cases; prevent infection of high-risk people; prepare hospitals to handle surges; develop therapies to meet demand; ensure schools, businesses and childcare facilities can support social distancing; and develop guidelines for when to ask Californians to stay home again if necessary.
Quick noted that regardless of when state guidelines are relaxed, Orange County will have a local order maintaining certain restrictions, probably for many months.
While outdoor recreational areas and restaurants will at some point begin to reopen, recommendations about face coverings in public and physical distancing mandates will probably continue, she said.
“We’re going to alter our normal,” Quick said. “The last thing we want to do is open the floodgates and watch our case count start to go up again uncontrolled.”