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Orange County closing in on removal from state’s coronavirus monitoring list

A local mom carries a new backpack for her son during a distribution of back-to-school supplies in Costa Mesa on Friday.
A local mom carries a new backpack for her son during a distribution of back-to-school supplies at Rea Elementary School in Costa Mesa on Friday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)
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Orange County is on the brink of its removal from the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list.

Data provided by the Orange County Health Care Agency indicated that the county has met the thresholds set forth by the state since Wednesday.

A county must meet the state thresholds for three days before it can be taken off the monitoring list. The county was expected to come off the state watch list on Saturday. Due to a one-day delay in posting by the California Department of Public Health, the county healthcare agency said in a tweet that it anticipates the county will be removed from the list on Sunday.

Once taken off the monitoring list, Orange County could start a 14-day countdown for schools to reopen. Schools must also have an option for online learning if parents do not want their children to go back to school.

Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley said that if the county comes off the coronavirus watch list, it would be good news, but she is also urging the community to continue take a proactive approach to fighting the spread.

“It’s really important that we not rush back too quickly,” Foley said. “We’re doing such a great job as a county overall and as a community, especially in Costa Mesa.

“Wear the masks, make sure you maintain social distance, avoid crowds. We’re doing all that, and it’s reflective in the numbers. This concept is so basic, because the virus can’t jump from one host to another if it doesn’t have any place to go.”

Foley warned that failure to be cautious could result in another wave, much like the spike that resulted in a rollback of the first attempt at reopening businesses.

Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen believes people will keep that in mind.

“I think everybody wants this time to open up in a smart and intelligent way that keeps us open,” Whalen said. “The last thing anybody wants is to have to roll back a second time because it’s devastating for our businesses.

“I’ve been very encouraged the last few weeks. I think the percentage of people wearing masks has increased significantly, and I think, based on what I hear from all the health experts, that’s what’s allowing our numbers to come down here in Orange County, and that’s what’s going to get us off the watch list.”

The Orange County Health Care Agency reported 14 coronavirus deaths and 493 new infections on Saturday in its latest numbers. The deaths included five skilled nursing facility residents and five residents not living in a facility.

In total, the county has had 896 virus-related fatalities while seeing its case count reach 45,801.

Hospitalizations due to the virus were at 392, with 110 of those patients in intensive care units.

There were 7,559 tests reported on Saturday, bringing the cumulative number of tests administered in the county to 588,919. An estimated 37,241 recoveries have been made following a battle with COVID-19.

The testing positivity rate in the county is currently at 5.4%. The county has 30.9% of its intensive care unit beds and 58.7% of its ventilators available. Over the most recent 14-day period, the case rate per 100,000 residents is 92.9. Those statistics meet the California Department of Public Health’s thresholds.

Here are the latest cumulative coronavirus case counts and COVID-19 deaths for select cities:

  • Santa Ana: 8,898 cases; 221 deaths
  • Anaheim: 7,809 cases; 204 deaths
  • Huntington Beach: 2,034 cases; 57 deaths
  • Costa Mesa: 1,540 cases; 17 deaths
  • Irvine: 1,385 cases; 12 deaths
  • Newport Beach: 990 cases; 18 deaths
  • Fountain Valley: 445 cases; nine deaths
  • Laguna Beach: 164 cases; less than five deaths

And here are case counts followed by deaths, by age group:

  • 0 to 17: 3,083 cases; one death
  • 18 to 24: 6,785 cases; three deaths
  • 25 to 34: 10,041 cases; 13 deaths
  • 35 to 44: 7,403 cases; 26 deaths
  • 45 to 54: 7,451 cases; 74 deaths
  • 55 to 64: 5,527 cases; 125 deaths
  • 65 to 74: 2,705 cases; 181 deaths
  • 75 to 84: 1,557 cases; 197 deaths
  • 85 and older: 1,217 cases; 276 deaths

Updated figures are posted daily at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc. For information on getting tested, visit occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing.

A family of siblings ride away with new school backpacks during a distribution of back-to-school supplies on Friday.
A family of siblings ride away with new school backpacks compliments of Newport-Balboa Rotary Club during a distribution of back-to-school supplies from Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast at Rea Elementary School in Costa Mesa on Friday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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