ORANGE COUNTY, CA — Over 550 people in Orange County have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, though hospitalizations have started to decline, Orange County health officials say. On Friday, 13 more people died of the virus, with the death toll rising to 556.
The county has reported 64 COVID-19 fatalities since Sunday, after reporting 73 the previous week.
The number of patients being treated for COVID-19 in Orange County hospitals dropped from 690 Thursday to 652, and the number of patients in intensive care units dipped from 233 to 215, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
The HCA logged 710 additional coronavirus infections on Friday, raising the cumulative case total to 33,358 since the pandemic began.
Of the latest deaths, two were skilled nursing facility residents and two were assisted living facility residents. Of the total death toll, 247 were skilled nursing facility residents and 19 were assisted living facility residents.
The county has administered 384,692 coronavirus tests and documented 18,007 recoveries, the HCA reported.
In Orange County, Friday's total coronavirus case counts:
Aliso Viejo - 253 Total Cases
Anaheim - 5708 Total Cases
Brea - 314 Total Cases
Buena Park - 921 Total Cases
Costa Mesa - 1066 Total Cases
Coto de Caza - 23 Total Cases
Cypress - 316 Total Cases
Dana Point - 176 Total Cases
Fountain Valley - 337 Total Cases
Fullerton - 1561 Total Cases
Garden Grove - 1765 Total Cases
Huntington Beach - 1580 Total Cases
Irvine - 1080 Total Cases
La Habra - 768 Total Cases
La Palma - 107 Total Cases
Ladera Ranch - 109 Total Cases
Laguna Beach - 122 Total Cases
Laguna Hills - 201 Total Cases
Laguna Niguel - 261 Total Cases
Laguna Woods - 37 Total Cases
Lake Forest - 538 Total Cases
Los Alamitos - 147 Total Cases
Midway City - 62 Total Cases
Mission Viejo - 533 Total Cases
Newport Beach - 766 Total Cases
Orange - 1551 Total Cases
Placentia - 609 Total Cases
Rancho Mission Viejo - 46 Total Cases
Rancho Santa Margarita - 231 Total Cases
Rossmoor - 28 Total Cases
San Clemente - 303 Total Cases
San Juan Capistrano - 239 Total Cases
Santa Ana - 6272 Total Cases
Seal Beach - 176 Total Cases
Silverado - 38 Total Cases
Stanton - 393 Total Cases
Trabuco Canyon - 142 Total Cases
Tustin - 771 Total Cases
Villa Park - 38 Total Cases
Westminster - 610 Total Cases
Yorba Linda - 462 Total Cases
Orange County is on the state's watch list for counties experiencing high rates of new cases and hospitalizations. It has shown some improvement, but with some continuing concerns.
The county's case rate per 100,000 residents jumped from 220.8 to 233.3, which is far higher than the California Department of Public Health threshold of 25 per 100,000 residents. The rate of residents testing positive for COVID-19 ticked up from 12.6% to 12.7%, higher than the state's desired rate of 8%.
The change in three-day average of hospitalized patients dropped from 1.3% to 0.5%, much lower than the state's threshold of 10%.
The available ICU beds held at 32%, and the percentage of ventilators available remained at 63%.
The state's threshold is 20% of ICU beds available to handle a surge and 25% ventilators on hand.
With back to school in mind, county officials will tweak their website on COVID-19 soon to provide breakdowns on coronavirus cases for school age children, in order to help school officials decide if they want to apply for one of the proposed waivers the state may offer some school districts on watch-list counties that are restricted to providing only online classes.
The age groups for children will be broken down from infants to 3 years old, 4-9, 10-12, 13-14, and 15-18, according to HCA Director Clayton Chau.
To receive a waiver, an elementary school district will have to get the teachers union, parents and organizations that provide services to students in the neighborhood to sign off on in-class learning. And then the district will have to make a pitch to get it approved either from county or state officials, which hasn't been decided, officials say.
Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do, vice chairman of the board, has started a campaign to encourage residents to use face coverings. Do's #MaskUpOC campaign will use social media to promote face coverings as a way to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Do was an early adopter of face coverings at a time when public health officials discouraged the use of them because they feared a run on medical masks needed for health professionals. Do promoted the face coverings in April when he authored the county's first mask ordinance, requiring them in pharmacies and food-related businesses.
Since then, vocal opponents of mask use have criticized county officials at board meetings, with some even staging a protest outside the home of then-county health officer Dr. Nichole Quick, who abruptly resigned in response to threats over the issue.
Do said he finds wide compliance in north and central Orange County with the state's requirement for masks indoors at businesses and outdoors when residents cannot safely distance themselves at least six feet from others.
"I think people in South County tend to see the face mask issue as a political one," Do said.
Do said health experts have said that face coverings "will be the reality for us for the next two to six months. It's not going to end anytime soon, so this is why it's important to engage in this kind of conversation."
Dana Point officials on Friday announced a similar effort to promote mask use.