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Orange County Reports Record 779 New COVID-19 Cases; Officials Consider Shutting Down Bars

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange County reported 779 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, the highest number of infections the county has reported to date.

Three more people were also reported to have died of COVID-19, bringing Orange County's deaths to 10 this week, and 333 overall. Last week was the county's deadliest week so far since the pandemic started with 56 deaths.

"I think we're not doing what we're supposed to be doing," said Brittany McMains, who was at the beach with her family on Tuesday. "We could be doing more. Everybody needs to wear their masks. They need to be social distancing when they can and being safe."

Of the cases reported Tuesday, 43% are from the past week, officials said, with the most recent specimen dating back to June 26. Orange County, which now has more than 13,000 coronavirus cases, was placed on the state's "watch list" Monday.

If Orange County remains on the list for three consecutive days, then state officials will recommend a closure of the county's bars, but if that extends to 14 days, the state will order them closed and keep them closed for two weeks beyond the county's removal from the watch list. But Supervisor Michelle Steel says the county's interim health officer is already considering shutting down its bars.

"While the report today – and the recent increased rate of infections – is concerning, the county and our local health system continue to be prepared to respond to protect the health and safety of our residents," Steel said in her statement.

Steel said that all residents were strongly encouraged to wear face coverings, wash their hands regularly and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

"We'll survive with bars being closed for a little while... with restaurants being closed for a little while..." said Jerrod McCains. "The best thing is we'll be alive to enjoy them when this is all over."

Neighboring LA County will shut down its beaches, piers and bike paths for the Fourth of July weekend, but it's not clear if Orange County might issue a similar order.

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