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California

Coronavirus-related deaths in Orange County top 50

Protesters refuse to practice social distancing while crossing the street at Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach on Friday.
(Scott Smeltzer/Daily Pilot)

Deaths related to the coronavirus topped 50 in Orange County as officials announced two new fatalities Saturday, bringing the death toll to 52.

The county also reported 99 new cases, bringing the total to 2,636. The total number of people hospitalized stood at 202.

Gov. Gavin Newsom closed the beaches over the objections of Orange County officials after crowds turned out last weekend.

Many local officials have pushed back, saying there has been enough progress in the fight against the coronavirus to allow people at the beach.

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Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said his department did not plan to cite people simply getting out for beach exercise. He said most beachgoers have acted responsibly.

“As long as people are social distancing and doing what they’re expected to do, the sheriff does not have interest in criminalizing people enjoying the beach,” department spokeswoman Carrie Braun said.

Legal battles are brewing in Orange County, where city leaders in Dana Point and Huntington Beach voted during emergency meetings Thursday night to approve filing for an injunction to block Newsom’s directive to close their beaches.

On Friday afternoon, Orange County Superior Court Judge Nathan Scott rejected a request from the two cities seeking a temporary restraining order to keep beaches open. He set a hearing for May 11 to consider the cities’ request for an injunction.


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