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California

Orange County reports highest daily death toll from coronavirus

San Clemente Pier
Families practice social distancing while playing in the water and sand near the San Clemente Pier on Monday.
(Gabriella Angotti-Jones / Los Angeles Times)

Orange County recorded 14 new coronavirus-related fatalities Thursday — the most in a single day since the pandemic began — an uptick that officials attribute to outbreaks of the virus in nursing homes.

The rise in deaths comes a day after the county reported 10 fatalities related to COVID-19. Of those who have died in the past two days, 18 were residents in skilled nursing facilities, Orange County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick said during a news conference.

“We’ll have to watch that over the coming week to see if this is a trend or if it was just a couple of days of increase,” Quick said. “We hope it was just that.”

Before Wednesday, the county hadn’t reported more than five deaths in a single day. The county’s death toll reached 112 on Thursday. Deaths among those living in skilled nursing facilities make up about 35% of the county’s overall fatalities.

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Hospitalizations in Orange County also reached new heights this week.

On Tuesday, 253 people were hospitalized for issues related to the coronavirus, a new record for the county. A day later, that number dropped slightly to 247. Currently, 89 people are being treated in intensive care units.

Public health officials Thursday also reported 115 new cases of the virus, bringing the county’s total number of infections to 4,841. More than 500 of those individuals are living in skilled nursing facilities and 364 are inmates in the county’s jail system.

The uptick in deaths and hospitalizations comes as county officials continue sprinting toward reopening more of the region’s economy.

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County officials have submitted a plan to the state asking for approval to move deeper into Phase 2 of California’s reopening strategy.

As of Thursday, more than two-thirds of California counties — including San Diego, Kern, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura — had received clearance to reopen restaurant dining rooms and more retail businesses for in-store shopping with certain modifications.

“We believe we have met all the criteria,” Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel said. “We submitted a draft plan and are currently in the process off meeting with the state to finalize our variance.”

It is not clear when the state will issue its decision.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom foreshadowed a sizable number of requests when he unveiled the state’s new reopening criteria this week. On Monday, he said the revised rules would allow 53 of California’s 58 counties to move further into the second of four stages toward reopening.

Under the state’s earlier criteria, the ability to reopen more expeditiously was effectively restricted to more rural, less-populated counties that have not seen the same number of coronavirus infections and deaths as their urban counterparts.

Here’s the breakdown of coronavirus data for Orange County:

Age breakdown of cases

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0-17 — 155
18-24 — 482
25-34 — 871
35-44 — 707
45-54 — 859
55-64 — 762
65-74 — 460
75-84 — 318
85+ — 226

Age breakdown of deaths

25-34 — 2
35-44 — 4
45-54 — 11
55-64 — 15
65-74 — 19
75-84 — 31
85+ — 30

Cases by community

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Aliso Viejo — 26
Anaheim — 758
Brea — 32
Buena Park — 146
Costa Mesa — 82
Coto de Caza — 6
Cypress — 61
Dana Point — 26
Fountain Valley — 50
Fullerton — 164
Garden Grove — 246
Huntington Beach — 307
Irvine — 164
La Habra — 83
La Palma — 18
Ladera Ranch — 13
Laguna Beach — 44
Laguna Hills — 27
Laguna Niguel — 36
Laguna Woods — 8
Lake Forest — 39
Los Alamitos — 63
Midway City — 12
Mission Viejo — 64
Newport Beach — 135
Orange — 226
Placentia — 95
Rancho Mission Viejo — 7
Rancho Santa Margarita — 19
San Clemente — 58
San Juan Capistrano — 46
Santa Ana — 858
Seal Beach — 15
Stanton — 51
Trabuco Canyon — 12
Tustin — 78
Villa Park — 6
Westminster — 85
Yorba Linda — 71
Other — 364
Unknown — 240

Note: “Other” category includes unincorporated areas, as well as cases in the county’s jails. Daily updates are preliminary and subject to change as the county receives new information.


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