Orange County health officials reported 274 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths Saturday, bringing the county’s totals to 7,321 cases and 176 fatalities.
The number of hospitalized patients decreased from 283 Friday to 282, and the number of patients in intensive care units dipped from 123 to 122, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The number of people tested for the virus in the county stands at 154,511, with 3,156 documented recoveries.
Men account for 51% of the county’s COVID-19 cases and 56% of its deaths.
Santa Ana leads all county cities with 1,438 cases, followed by Anaheim with 1,297. Many of the cases in both cities are tied to long-term nursing care facilities.
The HCA has reported outbreaks at 26 skilled nursing homes, three assisted living facilities and two care homes. An outbreak is defined as having at least two coronavirus cases.
HCA Assistant Director Lilly Simmering said Thursday the agency is boosting testing capacity in institutional settings and is “increasing the number of staff working at skilled nursing home facilities.”
The agency also continues to work with UC Irvine on a “training curriculum” with skilled nursing home facility staff “to ensure that their facilities are hygienic and doing proper precautions for COVID-19,” she said.
As of mid-week, 867 nursing home residents had tested positive for coronavirus and 427 staffers had contracted the virus, increases of 81 and 46, respectively, since Monday.
In Orange County’s jails, 381 inmates have tested positive for coronavirus with 367 now recovered. Fourteen inmates are currently sick and in medical isolation. Sheriff’s officials are awaiting tests on 84 inmates.
Orange County CEO Frank Kim told reporters Thursday officials are concerned that widespread protests against police brutality will boost coronavirus cases.
“We’re always concerned when we see a large group gathering,” Kim said.
Officials respect the rights of protesters to speak out, but implore the activists to follow social distancing guidelines of keeping six feet apart and wearing face coverings, Kim said.
Simmering echoed the importance of face coverings. She said county officials appreciate the objections of some residents, but the practice has helped stem the spread of coronavirus in other countries.
“It is not for your individual protection,” Simmering said. “It is to protect others… from potentially contracting COVID-19 if you do not know you have it.”
If the county’s hospitalization rates improve, then county officials will consider lifting the requirement, Simmering said.
The county’s chief health officer, Dr. Nichole Quick, was “coming from a perspective of the medicine and the science” of masks as a preventive measure when she handed down the order, Simmering said.
Quick told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that there has been a rise in “community transmission” of the coronavirus since stay-at-home orders have been relaxed, and hospitalization rates “have been trending up.”