O.C. Health Officials Urge Locals to Stay Safe to Keep County Open
As Orange County continues to experience intermittently surging COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the Orange County Board of Supervisors and the O.C. Health Care Agency (HCA) leadership continue encouraging residents to stay vigilant with prevention measures, testing and vaccinations in order to keep residents safe and businesses open.
“Our County has been doing a tremendous job in getting the vaccines out into our community,” said Chairman Andrew Do, First District. “It’s safe, effective, free and the surest way to help bring us out of this pandemic. We need our residents to continue with the preventative steps that allow us to draw closer together as a community.”
Current data in Orange County shows that unvaccinated individuals are over six times more likely to become infected with COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated.
“Getting vaccinated doesn’t just mean we are protecting ourselves - we are also protecting our family members, friends and coworkers,” said Vice Chairman Doug Chaffee, Fourth District. “We are all part of the same community. We’re asking residents to encourage loved ones to get vaccinated.”
In July 2022, the county experienced an increase in the seven-day average case rate, from 2.95 to 6.1 per 100,000 people, with the average number of daily COVID-19 cases increasing from 121 to 209. The positivity rate also increased from 2.2% to 4%, and hospitalizations jumped from 119 to 149 per day.
“We are still seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, especially among those who are not yet fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, deputy county health officer. “We expected to see an increase when mask requirements were lifted and physical distancing was reduced, but we want to take every opportunity we can to reduce the spread of infection. This means staying focused on preventive measures to protect those who are unable to be vaccinated.”
Prevention continues to be a critical piece of the agency’s message for county residents.
“We are strongly encouraging everyone to avoid large crowds, where it is easy for the virus to pass from person to person,” said Dr. Clayton Chau, HCA director and county health officer. “Regardless of your vaccination status, wear a mask if you’re around someone at risk, with people whose vaccination status is unknown especially indoors, or have unvaccinated children or other loved ones at home. If you are not fully vaccinated, you must wear a mask indoors in accordance with guidelines from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).”
The agency also reminds those who experience COVID-19 symptoms to get tested, regardless of their vaccination status. Self-collection, at-home COVID- 19 test kits can be ordered at no cost by visiting ochealthinfo.com/covidtest.
Individuals seeking information about the COVID-19 vaccines are encouraged to follow credible sources to learn more about their benefits, safety and effectiveness. The World Health Organization (WHO), for example, recently updated a list of questions and answers to address COVID-19 vaccine safety. Other sources include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Orange County COVID-19 case counts and testing figures are updated daily, Monday through Friday, at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc. Individuals interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine can schedule an appointment by visiting othena.com or calling the O.C. COVID-19 hotline at (714) 834-2000.