SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — For the second day in a row, Orange County has reported no new COVID-related deaths and reports of new cases continues to decrease.
“I think there is at least reason for a little bit of hope,” David Souleles, Orange County public health director, said.
But, Souleles said, for it to be a trend the numbers have to hold for several weeks.
As of Tuesday, Orange County reported 1,299 cases — an increase of 23 from Monday — and 19 deaths. There were 122 people hospitalized, 62 of whom were in intensive care, both slight increases from Monday.
Souleles said he was cautiously optimistic after recent reports showed what could be a slowing of the virus’ spread.
“We are seeing a lower death rate here than our neighbors to the south and many of our surrounding jurisdictions,” he said. “I think it’s a little too early to tell for sure what is causing that, whether we have a little bit less of a disease burden here for example because of any number of factors.”
Deaths in San Diego County, which is similar in size, are more than double that of Orange. And despite the work people are doing to help flatten the curve, officials said the region is still some time away from being able to get back up and running.
“We can’t let up our guard,” Souleles said. “The hard work that everyone has put in, we don’t want that lost by people stepping out too soon, by relaxing the restrictions before we’re really ready as a county and as a state to be able to lift the restrictions.”
Both state and local leaders have said the way people live will continue to be different as scientists continue to work on COVID-19 drug therapies to treat the illness and a possible vaccine to prevent people from getting sick.