SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — The Orange County Health Department is receiving backlash for not requiring restaurants to report outbreaks of coronavirus.
“We get the list every year about roaches,” said San Clemente resident Eva O’Keefe, who is urging the county to begin reporting these outbreaks. “Same with E. coli. So, this is no different.”
Neighboring counties, including L.A., San Bernardino, and Riverside, list which restaurants have temporarily closed for deep cleaning after an employee contracts COVID-19.
“In these times, when there’s so much confusion and so much misinformation, having the right data [and] the right message…I think it’s what us, as residents and consumers, want,” O’Keefe said.
Orange County wouldn’t say why the health department doesn’t require this reporting from restaurants, but said that “COVID-19 transmission is widespread in our community and risk should be assumed by all.
O’Keefe has started a petition online to get the agency to begin collecting this data and sharing it with the public.
On Tuesday, O.C. reported 1,010 new COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths.
The county’s total number of cases now stands at 18,892 cases, while the total number of fatalities rose to 369.
The caseload reported Tuesday reflects specimen collections dating back two weeks, Orange County CEO Frank Kim said.
The number of hospitalized patients jumped from 634 on Monday to 659 on Tuesday, with the number of patients in intensive care increasing from 203 to 224.
“The numbers are going to stay high for the next seven days,” Kim said.
According to Kim, the rise in infections was expected to occur as officials relaxed restrictions.
The county is also monitoring a significant rise in infections in the 25 to 34 age group.
“They’re number one with a bullet,” Kim said. “They all kind of left the gate at the same time, but (25-to 34-year-olds) are winning the race by a mile now.”
On Monday, Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said events such as Memorial Day weekend gatherings and protests stemming from the George Floyd killing likely led the increase.
On June 18, there were six specimens that led to COVID-19 positive diagnoses and 125 by June 24. The positive cases steadily climbed to 196 on June 26 before decreasing.
“That would be the incubation period,” Bartlett said of the two- to three-week incubation period for the virus before symptoms emerge.
“How do you go from one week you’ve got two and a week later 159? There’s something that was a trigger point to have that kind of an increase and those are dates the specimen was collected, which makes sense when they’re getting sick two or three weeks out.”
To date, the county has performed 278,696 tests and has 8,867 documented recoveries.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)