COVID-19 cases rise to 1,221 in Orange County

Orange County officials confirmed another 85 cases of COVID-19 and one additional death Saturday, for a total of 1,221 cases and 18 deaths.

The number of hospitalized patients dipped from 124 to 118, with the number of patients in intensive care increasing from 57 to 63, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Officials said 13,288 people have been tested for COVID-19 in the county, with enough kits for 1,557 more specimens.

Of the county's cases, about 2% involve people under 18 years old; 8% are between 18-24; 17% are between 25-34; 15% are between 35-44; 39% are between 45-64, and 19% are 65 or older. Men make up 53% of the county's cases, and 56% of its fatalities.

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The number of Orange County Jail inmates testing positive for COVID-19 has risen to 13, sheriff's officials reported. A dozen of the inmates are men and one is a woman, and three have since recovered, said Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

The 10 still afflicted with COVID-19 are in medical isolation, and 11 more inmates are in medical isolation because they are showing symptoms of the virus but have not tested positive, Braun said.

No more inmates are being accepted in the men's and women's jails and they are not being transferred to other lockups, Braun said. Newly booked inmates are also being quarantined, she said.

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Anaheim has the most COVID-19 cases in the county with 135, followed by Santa Ana with 102 and Irvine with 95. Newport Beach has 84, but Huntington Beach is close behind with 83.

Laguna Woods, which resisted the use of a local hotel to house homeless people with the virus, has seven coronavirus cases. Wednesday was the first time the Health Care Agency reported statistics from the South County community, which has a population under 25,000, most of whom are of retirement age. Cases from such cities are not reported until they exceed five.

Villa Park, which has a population of 5,933, on Thursday entered the list since it reached five cases.

For the first time, the county on Thursday provided some demographic statistics related to COVID-19 in the area, but  cautioned that officials were only getting about half of the racial breakdowns of patients and victims. Of the 17 patients who died as of Thursday, six were Asian, three were Latino, two were white, five were of unknown ethnicity, and one was "other.''

Of the total cases, 51% are of an unknown race or ethnicity, 21% are white, 12% are Latino, 7% are Asian, 6% are in the "other'' category. Nine people, or about 1%, are black, and another 1% are multiple ethnicities.

Orange County's chief health officer Thursday issued a recommendation "strongly encouraging'' face coverings for workers at essential businesses which remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Nichole Quick, who has the authority to mandate the action, stopped short of doing so. Her order was issued two days after the Orange County Board of Supervisors rejected Supervisor Andrew Do's motion to make face coverings mandatory for at least food industry workers.

Quick said she decided on a recommendation versus a mandate "based on what we're seeing numbers-wise. I'm hopeful we're seeing a flattening of the curve.''

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