Two dozen elementary schools in Orange County have been approved to reopen, including six in the Los Alamitos Unified School District.
If Orange County continues to meet state thresholds it will come off the state's watchlist on Saturday, starting the clock for all schools to reopen by Sept. 6.
The state mandates a county must be off the watch list for 15 days before schools can reopen, Dr. Clayton Chau, the county's interim chief health officer and director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, said Thursday.
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For parents still leery of returning students to classrooms, Chau said the county encourages' them to continue online learning, especially children who are at a higher risk.
The county will provide tests for staff and students and a full medical team that includes pediatricians, and infectious disease experts from Children's Hospital of Orange County and UC Irvine will be standing by to assist when needed, Chau said.
Wednesday was the first day the county fell below the state's monitoring thresholds, Chau said.
It is possible various business sectors that are shut down for commerce indoors may be allowed to return to normal, Chau said. County officials are expecting new guidance from the state next week, Chau said.
The Orange County Health Care Agency Thursday reported 23 COVID-19 fatalities and 429 newly confirmed infections, raising the death toll to 856 and the cumulative caseload to 44,936.
Hospitalizations dropped from 419 to 400, and the number of patients in intensive care units declined from 124 to 118, according to the HCA.
Of the deaths reported Thursday, 11 were skilled nursing facility residents and one lived in an assisted living facility.