OC Coronavirus Cases Jump To 256 As More Test Results Return

Ashley Ludwig

This article originally appeared on the Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch

ORANGE, CA — On Thursday, the number of Orange County residents who have tested positive for coronavirus jumped to 256, the Orange County Healthcare Agency said. Earlier this week, OC Healthcare reported one person died as a result of coronavirus. No other deaths have been attributed to the virus, also known as COVID-19, as of Thursday.

Of those infected:

  • 152 are men
  • 104 are women
  • 1 person has died
  • 71 are travel-related
  • 25 are person to person spread
  • 71 are community-acquired
  • 89 others remain under investigation

The county healthcare agency has tested 3,605 people in Orange County for the virus. They currently have kits to test 1,239 more specimens as of this report.

Dr. Nichole Quick, County Health Officer, explained that more people are being tested daily.

"An increase in reported cases is one of the factors of increased testing," Quick says.

It is also a reminder of the importance of staying at home at best, and social distancing when you must leave for essential activities, or to work at an essential business.

"It is our responsibility to help protect the community and work together to flatten the curve in order to slow the spread of COVID-19," she said.

Persons experiencing mild symptoms not otherwise in need of medical care do not require routine testing for COVID-19.

Those who test positive with mild symptoms "should care for themselves at home as they usually would for a mild illness," Quick said.

On Thursday, two community college districts in Orange County addressed the spread of coronavirus on their campuses Thursday as both a part-time employee and a student tested positive for that illness. Santiago Canyon College closed after a part-time worker tested positive for coronavirus, officials say.

Another college student from the North Orange County community college district returned from a study-abroad program in London, positive for COVID-19. The student has been in self-quarantine since returning home and has not been on either of the district's campuses: Fullerton College and Cypress College.

Rancho Santiago Community College District officials said that it closed the doors to all workers "in an abundance of caution," on Thursday, and will remain closed for at least 24 hours. Only security guards will be on campus, patrolling the perimeter. The college district's online learning programs will not be interrupted.

Meanwhile, officials at a North Orange County Community College District learned on Wednesday that a student studying abroad in London reported testing positive for coronavirus.

The Orange Coast College District announced they would go back to virtual school, starting March 30. All students will be alerted to their new class schedule, as well as to if their classes were canceled.

Many across the southland tuned in as Chapman University researchers held a virtual town hall, Thursday afternoon. They engaged numerous researchers on staff to talk about their recent COVID-19 findings in a virtual discussion setting. Discussions ranged in topic from the study of the virus to the amounts of pollution in the atmosphere in Wuhan, China, New York, and Los Angeles.

As the number of cases of coronavirus leapfrogged by 69 overnight, still, others are awaiting test results, including the 45th congressional district Rep. Katie Porter. The UC Irvine law professor and congresswoman shared on Wednesday that she developed "cold-like symptoms" last week, called her doctor and was tested for COVID-19.

Earlier this week, OC Healthcare reported that a 75-year-old man died as a result of the virus. The man, whose name was not released, was hospitalized March 17 and died two days later. Doctors tested him for COVID-19 while treating him, but Orange County officials did not receive the test results until Tuesday.

The healthcare agency, who has tracked cases of COVID-19 across age, gender, and method of virus transfer to date, reported that starting Friday, they would release the numbers for Orange County by city.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department has received some backlash for their handling of an inmate who tested positive for coronavirus this week. On Wednesday, Tom Dominguez, the president of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, wrote a letter to Barnes expressing concerns about protecting the members of his union.

Barnes said he shares the union's concerns, and stated he is issuing PPE to all custody staff.

"The department is also taking steps to manage the current jail population," Barnes said in a statement. "Social distancing is very challenging to achieve in a custody setting. I have spoken with AOCDS and will be taking their considerations into account while making difficult decisions during this unprecedented time."

There are currently six inmates still awaiting their results from COVID-19 testing.

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How are you coping with the shut down in your town? Let your Patch Editor know by emailing:ashley.ludwig@patch.com.

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City News Service contributed to this report.