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More coronavirus tests than ever, also more deaths, in Orange County

A healthcare professional helps a driver waiting in line for a COVID-19 test at a drive-through testing site at the Westminster Mall on April 7.
A healthcare professional helps a driver waiting in line for a COVID-19 test at a drive-through testing site at the Westminster Mall on April 7.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Orange County saw several single-day highs in key coronavirus metrics Friday, including positive tests, a corresponding peak in tests given — and a peak in deaths.

The OC Health Care Agency announced five additional deaths Friday related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, along with 163 new cases and 2,594 tests. This brings Orange County to 50 total deaths, 2,537 total known infections and 34,128 cumulative tests given.

The testing high comes amid a wider network of public clinics to test for COVID-19. The OC COVID-19 Testing Network debuted April 21 and currently has clinics backed by the healthcare agency in Anaheim, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove and at UCI Health locations. Tests are by appointment only for people with symptoms of what could be COVID-19.

When county officials unveiled the testing network, they hoped to see 2,000 tests per day by this month. The clinics augment testing opportunities offered by private healthcare providers.

Emboldened protesters gathered on Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway Friday to demonstrate against measures in place to fight COVID-19, including economic shutdowns and beach closures.

COVID-19 continues to be the most consequential for elderly people. The most recently reported deaths were all in patients older than 75, according to healthcare agency data. Twenty-eight of all 50 people whose deaths the county attributed to COVID-19 were in this age range. Another five were between 65 and 74.

Orange County’s previous single-day high point for fatalities came April 18, when four deaths were reported. Its previous high-water mark for new known cases was more recent — Thursday — with 145 new cases and Sunday for tests given, with 2,267 reported that day.

The Health Care Agency also said Friday that 181 people were hospitalized with the virus and 61 of them in intensive care, with 23 hospitals reporting. Including COVID-19 patients, area hospitals were at 57% capacity.

Here are the latest case counts for select cities, with their numbers per 10,000 residents:

  • Santa Ana: 430 (12.7 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Anaheim: 364 (10.1 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Huntington Beach: 225 (11 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Irvine: 133 (4.7 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Newport Beach: 98 (11.2 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Costa Mesa: 40 (3.5 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Laguna Beach: 37 (15.8 cases per 10,000 residents)

Updated figures are posted daily at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc.

For information on getting tested, visit occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing-and-screening.

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