SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County health officials reported eight new coronavirus deaths and 137 cases on Wednesday.

The county’s chief health officer, Dr. Nichole Quick, said there has been a rise in “community transmission” of COVID-19 since stay-at-home orders have been relaxed.

To date, the county’s toll is now at 158 deaths and 6,678 cases.

“We are seeing an increase in community transmission,” she said. “I also think our hospitalization rates have been trending up.”

Quick urged the importance of wearing face masks, even for people who’ve been given the green light to return to their jobs.

“It can help prevent the transmission of COVID-19. There is evidence to support that and I feel strongly we need a face covering order in place as we continue to send people out into more social interactions,” Quick said.

The number of people tested for coronavirus to date in Orange County is 136,098, with 2,695 documented recoveries. Officials note that recovery data is hard to track and incomplete.

The best protection against coronavirus is to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, stay at home if you are sick, practice physical distancing and wear a clean face covering in public.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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