Orange County coronavirus cases rise to 78 as residents cope, firefighter infected

Richard Winton, Hillary Davis, Lilly Nguyen , Faith E. Pinho
Dr. Dallas Weaver, left, and his wife Janet Weaver will put their masks and gloves in the oven and clothes in the dryer after walking on Huntington Beach Pier.  (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The number of coronavirus cases in Orange County rose to 78 Saturday as residents coped with statewide restrictions on movements.

An Orange County firefighter at Station 4 In Irvine has tested positive for COVID-19 but is "feeling fine," officials said Friday. The Orange County Fire Authority has placed 24 other firefighters who associated with the sick firefighter into self-isolation.

Here is a breakdown of the Orange County cases:

35 Travel-related.

8 Person-to-person.

29 Community-acquired.

6 Under investigation.

The call for social isolation is causing the temporary closure of several gathering places for older residents across Orange County.

For Bob Harrison, 80, that includes the Orange County Model Engineers.

Since the organization temporarily closed its train operations a couple of weeks ago, Harrison isn’t going to Costa Mesa’s Fairview Park as much. Instead, he made a rail yard a little closer to home: in his living room.

“My wife’s upset with me a little bit,” he said.

Harrison’s age and previous bouts with pneumonia put him in the high-risk category for the coronavirus. He stocked up on groceries a couple of weeks ago and has since kept close to home. To stay busy, he’s tinkering with the model train — adding a rail here and there, running the engine.

It reminds him of his days growing up on a farm and driving to the railroad tracks to watch the trains roll by.

He plans to return to the Fairview Park rail yard next week but only to unlock the door for a termite inspector.

For the most part, he’s spending his time cleaning out old magazines, teleconferencing for International Society of Automation meetings and chatting through the door with his twin 11-year-old grandsons, who live down the road.

“I’m not doing a lot of things, but I’m not going to give up seeing those two little boys grow up,” Harrison said.

Courtney Wight said she forgets sometimes.

A neighbor was giving things away Tuesday and Wight left her Laguna Beach home to see what was available. But as people came up and talked to her, she remembered — “I shouldn’t be here,” she thought.

The next day, Wight, 82, returned to self-isolating in her home in accordance with state recommendations for people 65 and older to stay home to help curb the spread of the coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease COVID-19.

When Orange County ordered this week that bars and restaurant dine-in services be shut down, Mario Marovic locked up Malarky’s, his popular Irish pub in Newport Beach.

But he didn’t stop working.

On Friday, he set up a one-day-only drive-through toilet paper operation at the shuttered establishment on Newport Boulevard. He brought 4,000 rolls, selling them for $5 for 10 rolls.

On Thursday, he teamed with Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill to deliver 1,100 rolls to the Oasis Senior Center for distribution to low-income senior facilities.