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Orange County reports 14 more coronavirus deaths

Workers process COVID-19 tests at Pangea Lab in Costa Mesa on April 24.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Orange County tallied 14 new deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, with nursing homes again taking the brunt.

Ten of those fatalities were among skilled nursing facility patients, according to the county Health Care Agency, bring the death toll from the disease caused by the coronavirus to 40 in nursing homes and 112 overall.

The healthcare agency also reported 115 new infections Thursday and 1,311 additional tests over Wednesday. This brings Orange County to 4,841 known cases of COVID-19 and 90,130 total tests given. Daily updates are preliminary and subject to change as the county receives new information.

Reported hospitalizations were at 247 with 89 in intensive care across all 25 hospitals eligible to report coronavirus cases.

Email david.carrillo@latimes.com to sign up for the newsletter featuring the latest news involving Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Fountain Valley and other parts of Orange County.

Thursday set a county high mark for most deaths reported in a single day, one day after Wednesday set a record with 10. With 24 deaths reported in two days, the COVID-19 toll has increased by 27% in 48 hours.

Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau said at a Thursday news conference that he offers “a heartfelt message of condolences and sympathy as well as prayers to the families of those who we’ve lost these last few days.”

He cleared his throat. “Sorry, I get a bit emotional.”

In nursing homes, losses have climbed even more sharply.

At skilled nursing facilities, known COVID-19 deaths have increased by 18, or 82%, over two days.

The county did not name the facilities where patients have died of COVID-19, but a state registry shows deaths at eight facilities in Los Alamitos, Anaheim, Laguna Hills, Santa Ana and Huntington Beach as of Thursday. Each had fewer than 11 deaths, which the state did not detail further because of privacy guidelines.

County health officer Dr. Nichole Quick said the county currently has coronavirus outbreaks — at least two known cases among residents within a two-week period — at 17 skilled nursing facilities, two assisted living facilities and two care homes. Public health staff contacts facilities weekly about best practices and to offer assistance, and has a team of doctors to do on-site assessments within two days of an outbreak, she said.

Chau said that a review of select data of deceased COVID-19 patients as of May 5 showed that a majority had at least two underyling conditions, “so that speaks to the frailty of our senior residents.” He said diabetes, obesity and hypertension were some of most common pre-existing conditions.

Fatal cases of COVID-19 continue to hit elderly patients hardest; more than half of all county deaths to date have been in people 75 or older. By age range, patients who have died were:

  • 85 and up: 30
  • 75 to 84: 31
  • 65 to 74: 19
  • 55 to 64: 15
  • 45 to 54: 11
  • 35 to 44: 4
  • 34 and younger: 2

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

  • Santa Ana: 858 (25.4 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Anaheim: 758 (21.1 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Huntington Beach: 307 (15.1 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Irvine: 164 (5.9 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Newport Beach: 135 (15.5 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Costa Mesa: 82 (7.1 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Fountain Valley: 50 (8.8 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. Chau said the county would start adding recovery data next week.

For information on getting tested at one of the nearly two dozen public clinics around the county, visit occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing-and-screening.

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