O.C. cases of coronavirus grow to 13, including 1 believed to be locally acquired

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The number of active cases of the novel coronavirus has grown to 13 in Orange County, up from four confirmed cases earlier in the week, officials from the O.C. Board of Supervisors and health officials said Friday.

The figures released Friday include both confirmed and presumptive cases, according to the Orange County Operational Area Emergency Operations Center. Among the four new cases is the first in the county believed to have been acquired from the community, according to the Orange County Operational Area Emergency Operations Center.

“The individual, a woman in her 50s, appears to have acquired infection locally and is currently hospitalized in isolation and reported in stable condition,” the OCOAEOC said in a written statement.

County health officials were conducting an investigation to determine how and where the woman contracted the virus.

The 12 other known cases in Orange County include 10 that were travel-related and two transmitted person-to-person, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Nine of the patients were men and four were women. All of those infected were adults.

No deaths attributed to the virus have been reported in Orange County.

The county’s first patient to contact the illness has fully recovered, Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do said.

“The risk of coronavirus infection in Orange County is still low, but we want to take strong actions to ensure that the virus doesn’t gain a foothold in our county,” he said.

Do said Orange County currently has the capacity to test 1,124 people for COVID-19. Private health providers and hospitals have their own supplies of test kits.

Do said the county will follow CDC criteria before testing a member of the public for the coronavirus. The means a person must either have traveled to area of widespread transmission and be exhibiting symptoms, have come in close contact with a known patient, or be suffering severe respiratory symptoms.

“We have enough test kits currently for the population that we will be testing,” Do said.

More than 130 people in Orange County had been tested by the HCA Public Health Laboratory, according to the agency.

“As public and private labs increase testing capabilities and surveillance, we expect to see more cases of COVID-19,” Orange County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick said in a written statement.

“We realize the mitigation strategies that have been rolled out this week by schools, businesses, and all levels of government are concerning for our community members,” Quick said. “We empathize and want to thank OC residents for their flexibility and willingness to make adjustments to their daily lives to help protect and promote the health and wellbeing of their neighbors.”

The Orange County Department of Education recommended all school districts should close for a period of up to two weeks. As of Friday afternoon, the Orange, Irvine and Placentia Yorba Linda Unified School Districts had announced temporary school closures.

Pamela Kahn, coordinator for health and wellness at the education department, said administrators will re-evaluate the situation on an ongoing basis, noting that they are entering “uncharted territory.”

“We are working with districts,” Kahn said. “Many of them have safe school plans, including pandemic planning, in place to support learning during this time.”

Do said school resource offices and county offices will remain open to ensure child care is still available to families in need.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is also asking all visitors to jails to evaluate the need for their visit and limit if possible in order to reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19.

“This is a precautionary measure consistent with health organizations’ recommendations to limit oneself from attending large gatherings, as is often experienced during the visiting process,” Sheriff Don Barnes said. “There are currently no inmates exhibiting symptoms of the virus, and visits with inmates in the Orange County Jail are non-contact.” 

Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park are set to begin a temporary closures because of the widespread COVID-19 outbreak, park officials announced Friday.

The Knott’s Berry Farm closure will be in effect starting Saturday and remain through the end of the month, while the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel will stay open.

“While there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at our properties, we believe this is the right decision for our guests, associates and community,” Knott’s Berry Farm said in a statement.

Six Flags Magic Mountain also announced its closure on Friday. Six Flags Magic Mountain and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom have suspended operations until the end of the Month, park officials said.

Several other Southern California theme parks, including Disneyland, announced closures on Thursday.

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