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New online feature from Orange County health gets into details on COVID-19 and kids

Teenagers walk the path near Heisler Park in Laguna Beach on July 16.
Teenagers walk the path near Heisler Park in Laguna Beach on July 16.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Though COVID-19 is generally uncommon and leads to less serious complications in younger patients, every city in Orange County has children who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

More than half of pediatric COVID-19 patients in Orange County are teenagers, specifically 15 through 17 years old. Another 16% are babies 3 years old and younger.

As the start of the school year draws closer, a new portal on the Orange County Health Care Agency’s coronavirus website gets into granular detail on COVID-19’s impact on children, allowing deep dives not broken out for any other age group: cases by city, ZIP Code, and school district, further divided into age subgroups.

There’s good news: Children 17 and younger comprise only 6% of all COVID-19 cases countywide, and no local children have died of the respiratory disease.

The California Department of Public Health has provided new coronavirus guidance for youth sports. Orange County said youth sports and P.E. classes must adhere to the state’s guidance regarding safety protocols.

But over the last five days, known cases among kids have grown at a slightly higher rate than the overall patient count. Total COVID-19 cases numbered 35,778 on Thursday and 38,066 on Tuesday, for an overall increase of 6.4% over five days. Cases among children have grown by 7.2% in the same time frame, from 2,140 to 2,295.

Only seniors 75 and older — those most at risk for severe complications and death — have tested positive at greater rates.

There are some limitations to the data: Figures are cumulative, do not show how many children are actively sick, how many are presumed recovered or how many have been hospitalized.

To see the virus’ impact on Orange County’s kids, visit occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc and click on data maps.

Overall, Orange County had 253 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the total to 38,066, according to the Health Care Agency. Hospitalized coronavirus patients numbered 539, with 167 in intensive care. The testing positivity rate was at 8.6%, ICU bed availability at 34%, and the change in the three-day average of hospitalized patients at -4.8%. Estimated recoveries are at 26,234. The county reported two related deaths Tuesday, bringing the total to 653.

Here are the latest cumulative case counts and deaths for select cities:

  • Santa Ana: 7,288 cases; 178 deaths
  • Anaheim: 6,521 cases; 157 deaths
  • Huntington Beach: 1,728 cases; 47 deaths
  • Costa Mesa: 1,246 cases; 10 deaths
  • Irvine: 1,198 cases; nine deaths
  • Newport Beach: 896 cases; nine deaths
  • Fountain Valley: 370 cases; nine deaths
  • Laguna Beach: 136 cases; fewer than five deaths

And here are the demographics in Orange County for the case counts followed by deaths:

By age:

  • 0 to 17: 2,295; zero
  • 18 to 24: 5,677; two
  • 25 to 34: 8,550; 10
  • 35 to 44: 6,208; 20
  • 45 to 54: 6,217; 60
  • 55 to 64: 4,579; 86
  • 65 to 74: 2,231; 123
  • 75 to 84: 1,272; 147
  • 85 and older: 1,008; 205

By race/ethnicity:

  • Latino: 8,934; 276
  • White: 5,523; 205
  • Asian: 1,612; 93
  • Black: 287; eight
  • Unknown: 17,385; nine
  • Other (includes Pacific Islander, American Indian and multiple races): 4,576; 62

Some hair salons and barbershops have taken their operation outside in order to get back to work during the coronavirus pandemic.

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