Orange County coronavirus death toll surpasses 600; case count nears 36,000

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More than 600 people have died of coronavirus in Orange County as the case count climbed to nearly 36,000 Thursday.

A total of 35,778 cases of the virus have surfaced in the county, which has struggled to trace the path of the virus’s spread through patients’ activities and contacts, as health officials said last week. The county’s latest case count includes another 503 cases reported Thursday, according to acting Public Health Director Clayton Chau.

Orange County recorded 15 more deaths Tuesday — more than on any other day over the last month, according to the Los Angeles Times. But the county saw an even higher number of people dying from COVID-19 on Thursday, when officials reported 17 fatalities.

The death toll now stands at 604 lives lost, according to county health data.

O.C. remains on California’s list of dozens of states with coronavirus conditions considered too severe to reopen school campuses and roll back other restrictions.

Local residents have sometimes resisted virus-related closures, with some people in cities such as Huntington Beach even protesting the lockdown early in the pandemic.

In fact, the county’s former public health director, Nichole Quick, resigned after facing deaths threats during a public meeting in late May over a requirement on facial coverings. At the same meeting, the mandate also drew backlash from fellow public officials.

“Sometimes it is uncomfortable to hear disagreements but I think this is government at work,” Orange County CEO Frank Kim said two days later, addressing the contentious meeting during a news conference on the pandemic.

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