Deadliest week of COVID-19 in Orange County concludes

Another 130 cases of COVID-19 and seven additional deaths were reported in Orange County on Saturday, at the end of what county health officials called the deadliest week since the pandemic began.  

The county has recorded a total of 8,269 cases and 217 deaths associated with COVID-19 -- the disease caused by the coronavirus.  

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The Orange County Health Care Agency said the total number of fatalities in the last week was 43.  

The number of people hospitalized was 306 as of Saturday, while the number of patients in intensive care was 151.  

The number of people tested for the virus in the county stands at 177,950, with 3,947 documented recoveries.   Santa Ana leads all county cities with 1,774 cases, followed byAnaheim with 1,553.

The high numbers in those cities are attributed to their large populations and to the presence of multiple nursing homes in the cities.  

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The numbers come as more sectors of the economy are authorized to begin reopening in the area. In addition to bars, gyms and theaters, community pools, schools, day camps, museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums, wineries, and family entertainment centers also received permission to reopen as early as Friday in Orange County.  

Also Friday, the state authorized the reopening of nail salons next Friday. Workers and customers will be required to wear face coverings, according to the state guidelines.   Sen. Tom Umberg, D-Santa Ana, and Assemblyman Tyler Diep, R-Westminster, led an Orange County coalition of lawmakers that pressed Gov.Gavin Newsom to reopen the nail salons.  

"Nail salons, and the cosmetic industry at large, are essential businesses that keep the Orange County community on its feet," Umberg said."The successful correspondence we had with the governor's office illustrates the coordinated efforts needed for reopening the state safely amid the economic crisis we are in... The reopening of the nail salon industry will help bring Californians back to work."  

Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel said Thursday that the county has "reason to be positive about where we are" in terms of coronavirus statistics when compared to neighboring counties and the state.  

"Because we took this pandemic seriously, we have continued to have low numbers of COVID-19 relative to our surrounding counties and regions," Steel said.  

Steel said she has sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom asking him to allow the county to reopen some businesses in Phase 3 that include nail salons, youth sports, and theme parks.  

"Our businesses are hurting and they need to open immediately, "Steel said.  

Supervisor Andrew Do noted the county declared a state of emergency in February before there was even one confirmed case in Orange County.  

At the time, the county was opposing the state's plans to house COVID-19 patients from a cruise line at the Fairview Developmental Center in CostaMesa.  

Do said the county "remains best positioned of all the urban counties" because "we've taken tremendous steps in protecting our workers and residents and identifying populations at risk to minimize the spread of COVID-19."  

On Thursday, Dr. Clayton Chau -- the HCA's director who was appointed the county's chief health officer on Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors following the abrupt resignation of Dr. Nichole Quick -- modified the county's previous mandate requiring people to wear face coverings in public.

He made it a "strong recommendation" instead.