SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County Friday reported 71 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, increasing the county’s total to 321, and two additional deaths.

The county’s first fatality, reported Tuesday, involved a 75-year-old man who was hospitalized March 17 and died two days later.

Of the county’s 321 cases, 75 residents contracted the virus through travel, 27 by person-to-person spread and 75 were community acquired. The remaining 73 cases are under investigation.

Most of the cases, 134, have been reported in the 18-49 age range, 76 cases involved people between the ages of 50-64 and 39 patients are 65 years or older. There is one confirmed case in a child under the age of 18.

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As of Friday, the county said 4,070 people have been tested, leaving officials with enough tests for 1,151 people.

Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine, who previously got the director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention to commit to providing free testing, said she tested negative after developing cold-like symptoms last week.

“I’m continuing to recover at home and hope to be back to 100% soon,” she posted to Twitter. “Thank you to everyone who sent messages of support -they are great fuel for fighting off this illness!”

Orange County officials also began providing more details on cases, including numbers from each of the county’s cities.

The cities with the highest number of cases as of Friday afternoon were Irvine with 33 cases, Newport Beach with 32 cases, Anaheim with 28 cases and Huntington Beach with 26 cases and Santa Ana with 13 cases.

“Case counts are not reflective of all disease transmission in any given community, because testing is currently prioritized for those at greatest risk or most sick,” David Souleles, Orange County public health director, said.

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Also on Friday, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes announced he would be releasing low-level offenders with less than 10 days remaining on their sentence and inmates who the CDC defined as medically vulnerable.

Violent offenders and those who pose a risk to the community would not be eligible for early release, according to the department.

“The decision for early release was made collaboratively and is absolutely necessary to stop the spread of this virus and preserve lifesaving medical resources,” Barnes said. “During this unprecedented moment, with substantial pressure on our health system, we are taking action to protect those in our custody, reduce the risk to our correctional personnel, and ultimately preserve our mission to keep the public safe.”

Barnes and Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer had previously resisted early release of inmates, but Spitzer said discussions with the president of the union representing deputies helped evolve their thinking on the issue.

As of Friday, the jail system housed 4,580 inmates. Of those, 141 have been quarantined due to potential exposure to COVID-19. Fifteen inmates have been tested — eight negative, three positive and four pending.

Comments
  1. Don Zarzana says:

    release inmates that have been exposed to the virus so they can mingle with folks on the outside? makes sense to me

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