Orange County reports 67 more COVID-19 cases, one additional death

Orange County's number of coronavirus cases climbed by 67 Wednesday to an overall total of 1,753, while the death toll ticked up by one to 34.

The number of hospitalized patients increased from 148 on Tuesday to 162 on Wednesday, with the number of intensive care patients climbing from 54 to 70.

The COVID-19 cases have risen as county Health Care Agency officials grapple with outbreaks at a nursing home in Huntington Beach and another one in Anaheim. Overall, there have been 170 coronavirus cases in the county's nursing homes with 102 residents diagnosed with COVID-19 and 68 staffers falling ill to the virus.

County officials have contracted with a temporary nursing staffing agency to make sure there are enough emergency medical technicians to help in the event that nursing home staffers refuse to report for work. Two residents of Huntington Valley Health Care Center -- a 77-year-old and a 79-year-old -- died over the past couple of days. Fourteen other patients are hospitalized, and 24 staffers have tested positive for the virus. 

Of the county's total cases, 2% involve people under 18 years old; 7% are between 18-24; 16% are between 25-34; 14% are between 35-44; 39% are between 45-64, and 21% are 65 or older. Men make up 53% of the county's cases and 62% of its fatalities.

Of the deaths, 6% were 25 to 34 years old, 3% were 35 to 44, 32% were 45 to 64, and 59% were 65 or older, according to the OCHCA. People of Asian descent accounted for 32% of the fatalities, while 26% were Latino, 29% were white, 6% were black, 3% were of unknown ethnicity and 3% were in the category of "other.''

The number of people tested for COVID-19 in the county stands at 20,145, with enough kits for 2,371 more specimens. Public and private labs have performed 662 tests since Tuesday.

Orange County's chief health officer, Dr. Nichole Quick, said health officials believe that the "statewide stay-at-home order has been effective.''

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A key step in lifting restrictions is to increase testing, and OCHCA officials began a new network of tests for COVID-19 on Tuesday. David Souleles, deputy agency director of Public Health Services, announced six testing sites spread out through the county. Initially, the county is expected to boost tests by 600 per day.

Residents who have symptoms related to coronavirus who lack insurance or cannot get a test through their health care provider can now go to AltaMed sites in Anaheim and Santa Ana as well as Nhan Hoa Comprehensive Health Care Clinic in Garden Grove and various UC Irvine Health sites.

"Our goal is to get 10 sites up and running in the next two weeks, so we can get up to 1,000 tests per day and then move onto 2,000 tests per day next month,'' Souleles said. Ultimately, the county is shooting to test about 640,000 residents.

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