Orange County is reporting just 26 new COVID-19 infections, and county officials expect the county’s weekly averages to continue to trend downward.

As of Sunday, the county’s case rate per 100,000 was down to 1.3 and its overall positivity rate was .08%. The positivity rate for the underprivileged socioeconomic ZIP codes hardest hit in the pandemic was actually lower at .07%, according to Orange County CEO Frank Kim.

The county’s weekly averages, which are issued on Tuesdays, should be about the same, Kim said.

However there was an uptick in the number of coronavirus patients in county hospitals, which increased from 69 Sunday to 76 Monday, with the number of intensive care unit patients rising from 10 to 11, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Monday’s figures boost the cumulative total to 255,048 cases and three more fatalities were logged Monday, raising the death toll to 5,052.

The three fatalities logged Monday, in addition to seven more this past weekend, mostly dated back several months.

The death toll for April increased by two to 40. The death toll for May remained at four.

March’s death toll ticked up by one to 181. February’s death toll remained at 581.

The death toll for January, the deadliest during the pandemic, increased by five to 1,544, and by two in December, the second deadliest month, to 936.

Another 3,790 COVID-19 tests were reported Monday, bringing the county’s total to 3,870,837.

Orange County officials are expecting potentially scores of critics of the county’s pandemic response at the Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday. Some anti-vaccination activists have taken to holding protests at the homes of county officials.

Last year, the former Orange County Public Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick resigned amid protests at her home. Last week, the activists showed up at the home of the current county public health officer, Dr. Clayton Chau, who also is director of the Orange County Health Care Agency.

It appears the activists may be planning another protest in front of the home of newly elected Supervisor Katrina Foley.

“If people have concerns about policy or want to petition the government the right place to do that is at the county board of supervisors meeting,” Kim said.

“That’s an appropriate forum. The county has never closed its doors to the members of the public during the pandemic. We certainly encourage the public to come to the board meetings. That’s the place to do it.”

Supervisor Don Wagner criticized the protests.

“Apparently they didn’t make any threats” to Chau, Wagner said. “He is not worried for his own safety, but he’s sort of upset for the neighbors. They are not helping themselves and their case. As I’ve said before, Dr. Chau is not the problem. The problem is the damned governor.”

Some of the critics of the pandemic-related restrictions have continually called on the supervisors to override the state’s orders, which they legally cannot do. Some have called for Chau’s firing and some have perpetuated multiple debunked conspiracy theories such as the pandemic was a hoax.

Orange County last Wednesday officially entered the least-restrictive yellow tier of the reopening blueprint, which allows for greater attendance for many businesses such as movie theaters and gyms, while museums, zoos and aquariums can open at full capacity. For the first time, bars and distilleries can open indoors. Theme parks such as Disneyland can expand attendance.

According to the weekly state data released every Tuesday, the average for the county’s daily case rate per 100,000 people dropped from 1.8 the previous week to 1.5. The overall test positivity rate improved from 1% to 0.9%, and the county’s Health Equity Quartile rate, which measures positivity in hot spots in disadvantaged communities, declined from 1.2% to 0.9%.

Orange County Probation Department officials on Monday announced that in-person visiting will resume at the Orange County Juvenile Hall, Youth Leadership Academy and Youth Guidance Center on May 31.

The visiting has been suspended since March 2020. Visitors must wear a mask and maintain social distancing.

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