COVID-19

Orange County officials held a press conference Monday to update the community on the impact of the COVID-19 virus.

For the first time since mid-March, the number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Orange County has dropped to below 10, county officials told the media during a press conference Monday afternoon.

Although the numbers seem to show a positive downward progression, Orange County health officials stressed the importance that this is only a single day statistic and not yet an ongoing trend.

“We reported nine new cases today, which is significantly lower than days in the past,” Orange County Health Officer Nichole Quick said.

While Quick maintained that she was “optimistically hopeful” for the outlook of today’s confirmed cases she also said that, “what we’re most concerned with is the trend of cases,” as days progress.

“We won’t know the meaning for the day’s reportings until we know the numbers of cases in the days to come,” David Souleles, deputy agency director of the Orange County Health Care Agency’s public health services said.

Officials said that although the numbers look hopeful, there are still ongoing matters in Orange County that need to be addressed, including the at-risk homeless population whose housing situation makes it difficult to self-isolate.

“It’s important for us to provide safe locations for homeless individuals to self-isolate,” Frank Kim, county executive officer said.

Under the statewide initiative Project Room Key, the county has made contracts with five motels within the county totaling around 500 beds to be used for at-risk individuals.

Shelters are currently finding it difficult to house individuals while maintaining enough space for the 6-feet interpersonal distance suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, two cases have already been confirmed in Orange County shelters: one individual in a Courtyard hotel shelter and one staff member at a city-run shelter, Kim said. 

Kim added that the plan is to first address those at risk (as defined by the guidelines of the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and then provide resources for otherwise healthy homeless individuals.

While the number of COVID-19 cases seems to be heading toward a downward curve, county officials plan to use their resources while they’re available.

“We will use the capacity we have in these motels,” Kim said.

The county currently holds a 90-day lease with the hotels however that may be readdressed depending on the duration of the pandemic.

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