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Officials: Orange County Not On Lockdown, Still Open For Business

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) - Hours after releasing a starkly-worded emergency order appearing to limit public and private gatherings, Orange County officials Wednesday appeared to back down from the move and declared the county open for business.

Orange County Supervisors Michelle Steel and Don Wagner held a news conference to announce a total of 42 cases of COVID-19 in the county, 22 of which are believed to be travel-related. Another seven are believed to be person to person.

The total number of cases was previously 29.

Speaking to the media Wednesday, Wagner said he understood the confusion over the order given by county health officer Dr. Nicole Quick, saying some business leaders thought the prohibition on gatherings and events meant "you and your business office and you and a coworker, unless you're an essential service. A lot of people not in essential services worried if they went to work today would they be arrested, and that is not the intent.''

Wagner said county officials are asking businesses to practice social distancing and encourage telecommuting when possible.

"Are we going to be patrolling the streets looking for this? We are not", said OC Health Care Agency director Richard Sanchez.

Sanchez also said the county "has not done" what San Francisco did in establishing a ban on mass gatherings of 1,000 or more people earlier this week.

Officials also clarified the county's order is not "shelter in place" but "quarantine in place" for at least 14 days.

Quick's order was put in place until 11:59 p.m. on March 31, and could be extended.

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