SANTA ANA (CNS) — Orange County health officials reported an additional six coronavirus-related deaths Friday marking 24 in a three-day period.

The total number of deaths in the county now stands at 174, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Officials also reported 296 new coronavirus cases Friday bringing the total to 7,064.

The number of hospitalized patients decreased from 293 on Thursday to 283 Friday with the number of patients in intensive care dropping from 129 to 123.

All nine of the fatalities reported Friday were skilled nursing facility residents, according to the HCA. As of Friday, there have been 84 deaths in the county involving nursing home residents.

On Thursday, Orange County’s chief health officer Dr. Nichole Quick announced there has been an uptick in “community transmission” of the coronavirus since stay-at-home orders have been relaxed.

“We are seeing an increase in community transmission,” she said. “I also think our hospitalization rates have been trending up,” said Orange County’s chief health officer Dr. Nichole Quick.

Quick also defended her order to require masks for residents after coming under fire from Supervisor Don Wagner.

“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.

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

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