By Shawn Raymundo
The county health office reported its largest single-day jump of new reported cases of coronavirus Friday, March 27, as the total cumulative confirmed cases increased to 321, up from the 256 cases reported the previous day.
The latest data that the Orange County Health Care Agency released early Friday afternoon shows an additional 71 cases reported between Thursday and Friday, while the death toll rose to three.
The county on Friday also began listing case counts by the city. According to the county, San Clemente has a total of 10 confirmed cases, while San Juan Capistrano has nine and Dana Point has seven.
The cities hit hardest by the pandemic appeared to be Irvine, which had 33 total reported cases and Newport Beach, where there’s been 32 cases of coronavirus. Anaheim and Huntington Beach had totals of 28 and 26 cases, respectively, according to the county.
More than 4,000 individuals in the county have been tested for the virus to date, while 1,151 test kits are currently available as of Friday, the county reported.
Most of the county’s reported cases have been found in males, which accounted for 184 individuals, according to Friday’s report.
The county’s data on Friday showed that the largest portion of those who have contracted coronavirus in Orange County were between the ages of 46 and 64, as 125 cases were reported in individuals within that age group. Nearly 60 of the total cases were reported among those aged 65 and older, while 54 cases were found in those aged between 25 and 34.
Only one case has been found so far in someone 17 years and younger. As for those aged 18 through 24, there have been 30 cases reported in the county.
Officials had previously released cases by gender and age. The change in data came after community members called for by-city information.
“This data confirms that the virus has spread to every city in the County. It is a reminder that we all need to continue to follow the directives of local health authorities,” said Mark Denny, Dana Point City Manager and the City’s Director of Emergency Services.
It’s important to remember the context around the data the County has provided and that city case data is reflective of where cases live; this does not necessarily reflect where transmission occurred, Denny said.
“If a city is not listed as having a COVID-19 resident or shows low numbers of total cases, this does not necessarily indicate that the risk of transmission is low,” said Denny.
San Juan Capistrano City Manager Ben Siegel had similar comments, saying the data does not necessarily reflect where transmission occurred, or where the individuals are being treated.
“COVID-19 is present in all communities in the county and, as such, all residents should adhere to the guidance from state and local public health professionals,” Siegel said.
Case counts are not necessarily reflective of all disease transmission in any given community because testing is prioritized for those at greatest risk or most sick; asymptomatic and persons with mild disease may not be reflected due to not being tested.
Because transmission occurs throughout the county, city officials encourage all residents to practice social distancing as directed by the Governor and the Orange County Health Officer regardless of case count in their city.
“Doing so will help to reduce the spread of infection, ease the burden on our hospital and healthcare system, and protect those most vulnerable in our county,” Denny said.
Lillian Boyd and Collin Breaux contributed to this story.