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Orange County: Nursing home, jail infections behind most recent increase in coronavirus cases

An atomic resolution 3-D model of the novel coronavirus, SARS-Cov-2.
(Visual Science)

Orange County hit a new single-day high in coronavirus case counts but reported no new related deaths Thursday.

The county Health Care Agency reported 229 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and 1,510 additional tests. This brings Orange County to 3,968 cumulative known infections and 61,619 total tests given. Deaths were steady at 80.

Reported hospitalizations dropped to 227, with 79 in intensive care. That’s down from a record 248 COVID-19 inpatients from the day before, but Thursday’s figures also came from fewer hospitals — 21 out of 25 eligible to report COVID-19 cases. Wednesday’s figures came from all 25 hospitals.

Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau said at a Thursday news conference that most of the known case increase over the past two to three weeks has come from institutional living situations — nursing homes and jails. Nursing home residents also make up the bump in hospitalizations, which were as low as 148 inpatients on April 25, less than three weeks ago.

As of Thursday, 407 residents of skilled nursing facilities and 331 inmates in the county jails had tested positive for the virus. Of those, 17 of the nursing home patients have died. No inmate has died of COVID-19.

County Chief Executive Frank Kim said Thursday the nursing home spike came to Orange County later than it did to neighboring counties, “But it is here now ... and we have to step up the amount of testing, we have to step up our protocols for cleaning,” which he said facilities are doing in collaboration with public health staff. He said all jail staff, including asymptomatic staffers, have been tested, and the county is “identifying enhanced testing” for nursing homes.

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

  • Santa Ana: 665 (19.7 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Anaheim: 615 (17.1 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Huntington Beach: 280 (13.7 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Irvine: 147 (5.2 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Newport Beach: 131 (15 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Costa Mesa: 60 (5.2 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Fountain Valley: 45 (7.9 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Laguna Beach: 44 (18.8 cases per 10,000 residents)

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

For information on getting tested at one of the 14 clinics in the county-run OC COVID-19 Testing Network, visit occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing-and-screening.

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