Orange County

Orange County Reports 14 More COVID-19 Deaths, 115 Additional Cases

County officials remain optimistic that many businesses can reopen by this weekend at the earliest.

Photo by Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Fourteen more people have succumbed to COVID-19 in Orange County -- the worst local daily death toll since the pandemic began -- raising the total of fatalities to 112.

The county has reported 24 coronavirus deaths in the past two days. On Wednesday, officials said eight of the 10 who were reported dead came from skilled nursing home facilities, but details of the deceased reported today were not immediately released. One official, however, said about half of Thursday's fatalities were from nursing homes.

There were 115 new COVID-19 cases reported Thursday, raising the total count to 4,841.

The number of hospitalized patients decreased from 253 to 247, with the number in intensive care dropping from 93 to 89, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Orange County CEO Frank Kim said the county on Thursday got the process going for getting state approval to reopen its Phase 2 businesses. The county submitted paperwork that is expected to be preliminarily approved by a state official, who will offer feedback on potential revisions, then the final application will be resubmitted, Kim said.

We believe we meet all of the criteria'' to reopen Phase 2 nonessential businesses that were previously closed during the stay-at-home orders. A variance from the state, for example, would allow for dining in at restaurants, which are restricted to pick-up and delivery service now.

Despite the sharp rise in deaths, county officials are optimistic about winning state approval for relaxing restrictions, Kim said.

White House Reopening Guidelines Leave Room for Interpretation

For states considering lifting quarantine measures, the official guidelines propose either a downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases within two weeks or a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests.

As shown below, when you compare yesterday’s new case count with that of two weeks ago, the number is often lower, simply because the counts fluctuate. The criteria has been criticized by some for being vague, creating the opportunity for any governor to argue the numbers are favorable enough to start reopening.

Source: The COVID Tracking Project
Credit: Amy O’Kruk/NBC

We're more concerned about the hospitalization rate,'' Kim said.

The rising death toll appears to be the culmination of outbreaks at a few nursing homes a few weeks ago, Kim said.

That's part of the reason we stepped up testing in skilled nursing facilities,'' Kim said.

The county has also signed a contract allowing for more mobile testing in jails and homeless shelters in the county, Kim said.

The number of people who have been tested for COVID-19 in the county stands at 90,130.

Of the county's total cases, 3% involve people under 18 years old; 10% are 18-24; 18% are 25-34; 15% are 35-44; 18% are 45-54; 16% are 55-64; 10% are 65-74; 7% are 75-84; and 5% are 85 and older.

Of the patients who died, 2% were 25-34 years old, 4% were 35-44, 10% were 45-54, 13% were 55-64, 17% were 65-74, 28% were 75-84, and 27% were 85 or older. As of May 5, 76% of the fatalities involved patients with underlying health complications, county officials said.

Men make up 53% of the county's cases and 57% of its fatalities.

Latinos account for 33% of the fatalities and whites 29%, followed by Asians with 17%. According to the HCA, 3% were black, 1% were native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 1% are mixed race, 12% is unknown, and 4% fall into the category of other.''

County officials remain optimistic that many businesses can reopen by this weekend at the earliest after Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement Monday on loosening restrictions in Phase 2 of his plan to reopen the state, such as in- store retail.

Santa Ana has the most cases in the county with 858, followed by Anaheim with 758 and Huntington Beach with 307.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department announced Wednesday that 364 inmates have tested positive since March, with 235 having recovered and others asymptomatic. Six of the inmates are currently sick and in medical isolation. Officials are awaiting the results of 40 tests.

The HCA reported that 626 patients in skilled nursing home facilities have tested positive for COVID-19, and 276 staff workers have contracted the coronavirus. As of Monday, 28 patients had died, and one staff worker died, but there hasn't been an update on the death toll in skilled nursing facilities since then from the county.

At Windsor Gardens Convalescent Center of Anaheim, 63 patients have contracted coronavirus, but 27 have recovered and 36 are active cases,'' according to Anaheim officials. Two patients died at the facility, and 24 staffers have contracted COVID-19 with 16 considered active cases.

At Anaheim Healthcare Center, 52 patients have tested positive for coronavirus with just one sick as of now, officials said. Eighteen staffers have contracted the virus with 16 having since recovered. Five patients died at the facility.

At Harbor Villa Care Center in Anaheim, 47 patients have contracted coronavirus and 15 staffers tested positive, but no one has died there.

At West Anaheim Extended Care, five patients have contracted coronavirus with three cases active, officials said. One staffer is sick as well.

Outside of Anaheim, the state Department of Public Health has a tally of patients and health care workers affected, but does not provide exact numbers for cases numbering under 11.

At Alamitos West Health and Rehab Center at 3902 Katella Ave. in Los Alamitos, less than 11 health care workers have tested positive and none have died, while 40 patients have tested positive and less than 11 have died, according to state figures.

At French Park Care Center at 600 E. Washington Ave. in Santa Ana, less than 11 health care workers and 27 patients have tested positive.

At Huntington Valley Healthcare Center at 8382 Newman Ave. in Huntington Beach, 15 health care workers and 26 patients have tested positive. Less than 11 of those patients have died at the facility, but no health care workers.

At Sea Cliff Health Care Center at 18811 Florida St. in Huntington Beach, less than 11 health care workers have tested positive, 28 patients have contracted the virus, and less than 11 have died.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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