SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County health officials reported 274 new coronavirus cases and two deaths.

To date, the county’s total now stands at 7,321 cases and 176 deaths.

There have been outbreaks of at least two cases each reported at 26 skilled nursing homes, three assisted living facilities and two care homes.

The Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) said it is “increasing the number of staff working at skilled nursing home facilities” and increasing testing capacity.

The number of people tested for coronavirus to date in Orange County is 154,511, with 3,156 documented recoveries. Officials note that recovery data is hard to track and incomplete.

Health experts continue to stress to residents the importance of wearing face coverings in public.

“It is not for your individual protection,” said HCA Assistant Director Lilly Simmering said. “It is to protect others… from potentially contracting COVID-19 if you do not know you have it.”

The county’s chief health officer, Dr. Nichole Quick, said earlier there has been a rise in “community transmission” of COVID-19 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.”

County officials will consider lifting the face covering requirement — a preventative measure — if hospitalization rates improve, Simmering said.

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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