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Orange County to shut down two COVID-19 testing super sites at the end of April

Vehicles line up at the COVID-19 testing super site at the Orange County Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa on Jan. 22.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

As the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines continues, Orange County health officials say that demand for testing super sites is in decline.

The county announced on Monday that it will be closing two COVID-19 testing super sites at the Orange County Fairgrounds and the Anaheim Convention Center on April 30.

“When COVID-19 testing was first developed more than one year ago, availability was limited and many residents had to wait to experience symptoms before qualifying,” Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, said in a statement. “While we’re pleased that the County of Orange was able to stand up these Super Sites to meet initial community need, we have a robust network in place today that makes no-cost testing easily accessible. One of the many testing options is our at-home test kit.”

In response to a question about the reason for the closures, Jessica Good, a spokesperson for the health care agency, said in an email, “We made the strategic decision to shift from the Super Site model to more nimble pop-up events, neighborhood sites, and no-cost mail order due to decreasing demand from the community.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a temporary stop to the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Tuesday. The recommendation comes “out of an abundance of caution” after severe blood clots were found in six recipients who had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States.

As of Monday, the CDC reported that 6.8 million doses of the vaccine had been administered nationwide. The recommended pause will take place while the Food and Drug Administration reviews the six cases of the reported blood clots, which were identified as six women between the ages of 18 and 48.

Orange County will pull the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from its points of distribution while continuing to administer the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to those who have an appointment, the county’s health care agency stated Tuesday.

About 27,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been used at the county’s distribution sites between March 8 and April 12, the health care agency’s statement said.

People who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last three weeks are advised to look for symptoms of the blood clots, including severe headaches, abdominal or leg pain, and shortness of breath.

As for vaccine passports, Orange County Supervisors Andrew Do, the chairman of the board, and Donald Wagner voiced their opposition to the idea in a prepared statement on Monday.

“This is America,” Do said in the news release. “Under no circumstances would or should we ever need a passport to live and get services within our community.”

Orange County reported 10 deaths and 102 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday in the latest data released by the health care agency.

The pandemic has taken 4,849 lives countywide, for which the cumulative case count is now 252,538.

There are currently 115 hospitalizations in the county because of the virus, with 31 of those patients being treated in intensive care units.

There were 10,355 more tests for the virus reported on Tuesday, bringing the total number of tests administered to 3,481,646. The county health care agency estimates that 244,823 residents have recovered after contracting the virus.

Orange County, which is in the orange tier in the state’s reopening guidelines, is averaging three daily new cases per 100,000 residents. Its testing positivity rate of 1.6% and health equity quartile positivity rate of 1.8% meet the criteria for the least-restrictive yellow tier.

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

  • Santa Ana: 44,677 cases; 841 deaths
  • Anaheim: 41,711 cases; 846 deaths
  • Huntington Beach: 10,665 cases; 212 deaths
  • Costa Mesa: 8,929 cases; 130 deaths
  • Irvine: 10,554 cases; 83 deaths
  • Newport Beach: 3,826 cases; 73 deaths
  • Fountain Valley: 3,494 cases; 84 deaths
  • Laguna Beach: 830 cases; seven deaths

Here are the case counts by age group, followed by deaths:

  • 0 to 17: 26,324 cases; one death
  • 18 to 24: 34,960 cases; 10 deaths
  • 25 to 34: 50,406 cases; 50 deaths
  • 35 to 44: 39,278 cases; 106 deaths
  • 45 to 54: 40,436 cases; 307 deaths
  • 55 to 64: 31,821 cases; 687 deaths
  • 65 to 74: 15,768 cases; 938 deaths
  • 75 to 84: 7,983 cases; 1,203 deaths
  • 85 and older: 5,400 cases; 1,547 deaths

Updated figures are posted daily at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc. Information on COVID-19 vaccines in Orange County can be found at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-vaccine-resources.

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