Protesters wear masks to protect themselves at Santa Monica Pier. (Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times)
Arnold O. Beckman High School

Orange County COVID-19 cases reach record high

Since the start of COVID-19 back in March, California’s cases have been slowly growing alongside other states. According to the L.A. Times, California reported 4,291 additional cases as of June 18.

California surpassed New York, the state with the highest number of cases at the start, as New York reported 561 new cases as of June 18, according to the New York Times.

Orange County has also experienced a record high of COVID-19 cases on June 14. According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, Orange County reported 299 new cases of COVID-19, with the county now having 9,197 cases total. Fortunately, however, according to OCHCA’s pie charts, COVID-19 has affected less than 1% of those who are zero to 24 of age. Also, the OCHCA data for June 14’s report had 290 hospitalizations and 144 people in ICUs. The Orange County data represents the 26 hospitals with emergency receiving centers and licensed ICU beds.

According to the L.A. Times, this increase of COVID-19 cases in all counties within California is due to increased efforts to get tested for the virus.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s secretary of Health and Human Services, on June 12 at a conference, provided specifics to looking at the context prior to analyzing the number of cases, the L.A. Times reported.

“We’ve ramped up testing in an extraordinary way, nearly hitting our goal that was set for August — not June, not July, but August — of getting to 60,000 to 80,000 tests a day,” he said. “But I think that’s really anchored — if you’re not seeing a tremendous uptick in the number of hospitalizations in the right timeline or … ICU cases, that’s really connected at least in California’s case to an increase in testing. So I think it’s always important to kind of have that in the context.”

High schoolers have also spoken about this increase in cases as well as a potential “second phase” to the virus as news platforms like the Time News refers to it as.

“I think the increase in cases initiated when protests emerged early to mid-May,” Carina Vo-Ta, a rising senior at Beckman High School said. “Alongside BLM protests, there had been several other ones like protests demanding the reopening of beaches, reopening public places in general and more.”

“The cases will only rise at this point,” Stephanie Xu, also a rising freshman at Carnegie Mellon University, said. “Especially with restaurants reopening with dine-in options and non-essential businesses reopening with customers physically able to be in contact, there most definitely can be a second phase.”

Despite the shift to new stages according to California’s safety guidelines, COVID-19 still stays as a potential threat. It is more than important to utilize masks and other items for sanitation when being in contact with others or visiting any public place.