Orange County COVID-19 cases surpass 650; 13 deaths reported

Local News

Orange County health officials reported 56 new identified COVID-19 cases on Thursday, as well as three new deaths.

The total of detected cases of the novel coronavirus in Orange County now stands at 656, with 13 total reported deaths.

As of Thursday, 115 Orange County residents were hospitalized with the virus, while 47 of them were being treated in intensive care units, according to the county Health Care Agency.

Nearly 7,800 tests have been administered in the county, with 520 of them given since Wednesday.

Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel urged residents to show kindness and compassion to each other.

“Unfortunately, there have been incidents where someone’s race or nationality have been used to target them for hate crimes related to COVID-19,” she said.

She told of an incident on March 14 in which a man stabbed three members of an Asian American family, including 2- and 6-year-old children.

“The suspect said he attacked because he thought the family was Chinese and spreading coronavirus to the public,” Steel said. Further details regarding the incident were not available.

“I condemn this kind of hateful behavior in all forms,” Steel said. “We in Orange County must stop the hate and work toward helping our neighbors at this time. We must remember that this virus doesn’t discriminate.”

Orange County Social Services Agency Director Debra Baetz said while agency offices are closed for in-person visits, staff continue working, with extended hours, to receive and process applications for benefits.

Those looking for a way to help the community during the crisis are encouraged to sign up to volunteer online, she said.

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