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Gov. Gavin Newsom issues statewide mask order

Jenny Farrell, right, with OC Cutworks
Jenny Farrell, right, with OC Cutworks and her mother Preechar Sullivan work on a pattern to create face masks for UC Irvine healthcare workers.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

On the same day Orange County reported seven deaths due to COVID-19 and an additional 132 cases of the coronavirus in the latest numbers released by the Orange County Health Care Agency, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a new order on Thursday mandating that Californians must wear face coverings while in public.

The order comes as concerns grow about a spike in coronavirus cases as more of the state’s residents leave their homes.

“Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered — putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease,” Newsom said in a statement. “California’s strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if people act safely and follow health recommendations. That means wearing a face covering, washing your hands and practicing physical distancing.”

Customers of restaurants and people engaged in recreational activities are among those exempt from having to wear masks in public, provided social distancing is practiced.

The new health order marks a major shift in many parts of California, where most counties — including Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino — do not have mask requirements.

Face coverings are not required for children 2 years old or younger and people who have a medical, mental health or developmental disability that would prevent them from wearing a face covering.

The order requires a mask to be worn by people in their workplace and while walking through common areas such as hallways, parking facilities and while riding elevators.

Face coverings to stem the spread of the coronavirus had gone from being required to being recommended in public in Orange County, which has seen a total of 9,292 reported cases during the pandemic.

The county is closing in on 200,000 coronavirus tests administered. Another 1,199 tests were reported on Thursday, bringing that number to 199,015 overall.

The county death toll due to COVID-19 is now 250, with 128 of those fatalities involving a skilled nursing facility resident.

A pandemic-high of 345 COVID-19 cases are currently hospitalized, and 144 of those patients are in an intensive care unit. The total coronavirus-related hospitalizations are a new high for the second straight day. There were 328 in Wednesday’s report.

The county estimates that 4,496 people have recovered from COVID-19 infections. That number is determined by taking the difference between the cumulative case count from 28-days earlier and the current day mortality.

By age range, patients who have died were:

  • 85 and up: 78
  • 75 to 84: 64
  • 65 to 74: 45
  • 55 to 64: 33
  • 45 to 54: 20
  • 35 to 44: 7
  • 34 and younger: 3

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

  • Santa Ana: 1,994 (59.0 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Anaheim: 1,784 (49.6 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Huntington Beach: 455 (22.3 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Irvine: 252 (9.0 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Newport Beach: 182 (20.9 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Costa Mesa: 188 (16.2 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Fountain Valley: 83 (14.7 cases per 10,000 residents)
  • Laguna Beach: 52 (22.3 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 nearly two dozen public clinics around the county, visit occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing-and-screening.

Los Angeles Times staff writers Phil Willon and Hannah Fry contributed to this report.

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