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By Shawn Raymundo
A “summer wave” of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations has moved Orange County into a “high” community transition status, with county health officials on Friday, July 15, recommending that residents again wear face masks while indoors in public settings.
With the county now classified as a “high” transition area by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, made the recommendation for indoor mask use when out in public.
“To protect those at high risk, we are recommending that OC residents continue masking in public, indoor settings, especially those who are at high risk or living with loved ones who have comorbidities, are immunocompromised or are prone to getting sick,” Chau said in a media release.
There is no county mandate or requirement that residents wear face coverings indoors.
According to the OCHCA, the testing positivity rate has increased to 17.4%, as the seven-day average of COVID cases in the county jumped to 33.1 per 100,000 people. The daily average of cases is 1,068.
As of Thursday, July 14, there were 277 people with COVID being treated in a hospital, with 35 of them admitted into an intensive care unit, according to OC Health’s latest case report.
OCHCA noted that the county’s overall cases may be undercounted as a result of more at-home testing being available to residents.
The county’s move to “high” transmission status is part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Data Tracker that was launched earlier this year. Under the tracker, counties seeing fewer than 10 new COVID cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day course have a “low” community transmission status.
Areas where there are more than 10 cases and fewer than 19.9 per 100,000 are considered “medium” transmission, while counties reporting more than 20 new cases over the seven-day period are moved into the “high” status.
Shawn Raymundo is the managing editor for Picket Fence Media. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow San Clemente Times @SCTimesNews.