by: Erika Martin
Posted: / Updated:
As local officials push to reopen more stores and restaurants, Orange County on Wednesday reported the highest daily increases in coronavirus cases and fatalities since the outbreak began.
Another 249 cases were confirmed and 10 more deaths reported, bringing the county’s total to more than 4,700 cases and 98 deaths.
Eight of the 10 deaths reported Wednesday were nursing home residents, officials said. No information was available on which facilities or facility they lived in.
The record-high numbers come as the county Board of Supervisors put together a plan to request the state fast-track O.C.’s reopening, allowing it to join other counties in what it calls accelerated Stage 2. That would allow malls and dine-in restaurants to resume operations, with social distancing modifications.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday eased requirements and sped up the timeline for further reopening. Counties can now move forward if they have fewer than 25 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents in the last 14 days, or fewer than 8% of residents testing positive over the past week.
Requirements for hospitalizations were also amended. Counties can progress if COVID-19 patients at local hospitals haven’t increased by more than 5% in the past week, or if they haven’t had more than 20 hospitalizations on a single day over the past two weeks.
Other benchmarks regarding testing and contact tracing remain.
It’s unclear if O.C. currently meets the requirements. Thus far, nearly 86,700 tested have been tested countywide — which means only 5% of tests have come back positive over the course of the outbreak.
As of Wednesday, 253 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, including 93 in intensive care, according to public health officials.
Orange County has already allowed some retail stores to offer pickup and delivery service, and many outdoor spaces have reopened, including parking at county parks and some beaches.