Orange County officials declare local health emergency over coronavirus

Orange County officials declared a local health emergency Wednesday in response to the coronavirus, which has now infected more than 81,000 people worldwide.

Michelle Steel, chair of the county Board of Supervisors, and board Vice Chair Andrew Do made the announcement at an early afternoon 
news conference.

“Our declaration of local emergency today signed by Dr. Quick is about preparedness. It does not indicate a greater risk of harm, there are no current incidents reported in the county of Orange,” stated Supervisor Andrew Do.

Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.   

The CDC on Tuesday warned the American public to prepare for an outbreak of the disease. 

Health officials believe that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted most commonly through respiratory droplets in the air as well as close contact with an infected person or touching areas contaminated with the virus before washing. The digestive tract may also transmit the disease.

There has only been one confirmed case of the virus in Orange County, according to county health officer Nichole Quick, that one patient has been treated and is no longer showing signs.

Click here for more news related to the coronavirus outbreak.

“What it appears like with coronavirus is that maybe the older individuals that are dying more than others, but once again we don’t have all the scientific information on coronavirus,” Dr. Quick said. 

San Diego County officials declared a local emergency in response to the coronavirus on Feb. 14. Officials there stressed that the declaration was not an indication of a greater risk of contracting the virus locally, only an effort to ensure the county was prepared to respond should an outbreak occur.

The San Diego County declaration came while hundreds of people who had been evacuated from Wuhan, China -- the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak -- were under quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Those evacuees have since cleared quarantine and have been released. Two of those people were diagnosed with the virus, but they were treated and eventually released.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a local emergency on Tuesday. There have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus -- known as COVID-19 -- in that city.


Worldwide, more than 81,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, including 2,770 deaths, the vast majority of them in China. More than 50 cases have been confirmed in the United States.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to file an amicus brief supporting Costa Mesa in a federal lawsuit seeking to block COVID-19 patients from being housed at the former Fairview Developmental Center.

Costa Mesa filed the suit late last week, and a judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the federal government and state from moving any patients to the facility. That order will remain in place until next Monday, when another court hearing will be held.

Costa Mesa officials contend they received little notification of the planned move, and questioned the suitability of the location, noting that state officials had previously questioned its viability as a temporary housing facility for the homeless. Attorneys for the federal government contended that U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials had inspected the site and determined it was suitable. They also said the government planned to use the facility to house 10 people who have tested positive for the virus but have not yet shown
any symptoms.

The patients are believed to be among those who were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which had been under quarantine while docked in Japan.

President Donald Trump will also be holding a news conference Wednesday afternoon with CDC officials at 3 p.m. PT to provide an update on the coronavirus threat in the U.S. Click here to watch live.