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After nearly two weeks with no coronavirus deaths, Ventura County reports 5

Beachgoers hit a volleyball around at Harbor Cove Beach in Ventura on May 2.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

After nearly two weeks with no coronavirus-related deaths, Ventura County reported five fatalities in the last two days, bringing the death toll to 24.

On Wednesday, Ventura County reported three deaths. The county had announced two others Tuesday. Most of the county’s victims — 17 of them — were at least 65 years old. Five were ages 45 to 64, and the other two were 25 to 44.

All of those who have died had other health problems, according to the county.

Also on Wednesday, the county reported 725 cases of COVID-19 infections — with 477 patients having recovered. Its cumulative number of confirmed infections is far fewer than those of nearby Santa Barbara and Kern counties, both of which have nearly double the number of cases. Neighboring Los Angeles County has more than 34,000 cases.

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The latest maps and charts on the spread of COVID-19 in California.

Amid the slow uptick in the number of cases and deaths, more businesses are being allowed to reopen their doors as officials have further relaxed local coronavirus restrictions.

Car washes, and pet grooming and landscape gardening services were allowed to reopen Wednesday , as well as outdoor museums, open galleries and other public spaces, with modifications.

Child care is also now available for nonessential workers, and office-based businesses can reopen — though county officials said teleworking was strongly encouraged if feasible.

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All businesses must review and meet certain criteria before they can resume operations. Among the requirements are that owners conduct a risk assessment and write a site-specific COVID-19 prevention plan.

“We are positioned to move forward because our businesses and residents have sacrificed so much to comply with the local order,” County Executive Officer Mike Powers said in a statement. “We trust our business community. We know they are working so hard to meet the guidelines. We want them to be able to reopen safely, and we know they will do a great job.”

California allows some retailers to open with curbside service, including bookstores, florists and toy stores. Many parks will reopen Saturday.

The latest round of reopenings in Ventura County continues a gradual unlocking of businesses statewide as California begins to crawl out of an economic crater caused by the coronavirus pandemic and inch toward some semblance of normalcy.

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Starting Friday, clothing stores, sporting goods retailers, bookstores, music stores, toy stores and florists could start providing curbside service for customers. Restaurants and shopping malls also will be able to reopen in counties that meet certain state standards regarding testing and coronavirus case growth, Gov. Gavin Newsom said this week.

Even as more businesses open, Ventura health officials said it was important to proceed cautiously, so as not to unwind the county’s progress.

“We must continue to practice social distancing, and businesses must make modifications needed to lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure,” Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin said in a statement. “This will help keep our numbers low so we can continue to move forward.”


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