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By Collin Breaux | Twitter: @collin_breaux

So far, the master-planned community of Rancho Mission Viejo has had fewer than 340 overall COVID-19 cases, including fewer than five deaths from the outbreak.

The unincorporated area in South Orange County has seen far fewer case numbers compared to the nearby areas of San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point. Even when factoring in RMV’s lower population count—an estimated 10,000 people compared to the 36,821 population in San Juan and 34,249 in Dana Point—the low metrics stand out.

There have been day-to-day periods where there aren’t any new COVID-19 cases in RMV.

The exact total number of COVID-19 cases for RMV is 333, as of this post. As unincorporated land with under 25,000 residents, the exact death total will not be reported for Rancho Mission Viejo until it reaches five.

Amaya Genaro, vice president of community services for Rancho Mission Viejo, called the small number of COVID-19 cases “great news.”

“We have worked very hard to implement the proper precautions at The Ranch, and thanks to the great cooperation and understanding from our residents, the data apparently shows that,” Genaro said.

Some of the usual amenities in RMV have been closed during the pandemic, and safety precautions are being taken even as events gradually return to The Ranch. For instance, face masks are required when visitors tour areas along Cow Camp Road, and crowd capacity is limited for events.

Genaro noted that The Reserve modified activities throughout the year by going to smaller group hikes, outdoor activities such as yoga, and hosting live, virtual field trips in which students in grades 2–5 could experience nature from wherever they are.

Community events for residents, including the reservation-based Harvest Pumpkin Patch and resident-led family gatherings such as the Trunk or Treat drive-through experience, have given the community a chance to safely have fun.

RMV has plenty of outdoor space, an ideal feature in the age of social distancing.

“One of the key things we have learned throughout the tumult of 2020 is the importance of enjoying the great outdoors,” Genaro said. “In a recent resident survey, 83% of respondents feel Rancho Mission Viejo supports their well-being.”

One resident said the amenities and proximity to nature “are unmatched,” and the opportunities to explore and experience the parks, sports courts, trails and farms has provided them a great respite from the challenges the year presented, according to Genaro.

“This has been a trying and tough time for all, but we’ve heard constantly from residents over the last year that Rancho Mission Viejo couldn’t be a better place to live with all that we have experienced in the last year,” Genaro said.

Collin Breaux

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at cbreaux@picketfencemedia.com.

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