On September 1, the California Department of Public Health issued updated guidance and Q&A to assist K-12 schools in formulating and implementing plans for safe, successful, and full in-person instruction. These updates include recommendations and requirements for school-based extracurricular activities, as well as clarification on modified quarantine recommendations. According to the guidance, masks are required for all persons playing indoor sports on school campuses and required for all unvaccinated persons in all indoor sports settings, unless wearing a mask during play has been determined to pose a choking hazard.
In anticipation of community and family gatherings during the upcoming Labor Day holiday, County Health Officers at the OC Health Care Agency are urging residents to continue taking all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Although we are starting to see a decline in our COVID-19 case and positivity numbers, we need to continue doing what we can to protect one another and prevent cases from going back up after Labor Day,” said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, Deputy County Health Officer. “The likelihood of COVID-19 spreading is always higher wherever people are in close contact with one another, especially in indoor, crowded and poorly ventilated areas. And we have seen that the vast majority of transmission has occurred among unvaccinated people in these closed, indoor settings. If we are not careful, we may see an increase in cases after the holiday weekend.”
To protect others who are most at risk of contracting COVID-19, particularly those who are immune compromised, at increased risk of severe disease, not fully vaccinated, or not yet eligible for vaccination (that is, children under age 12), the County Health Officers recommend the following safe measures for all Orange County residents:
- Get vaccinated if you are not yet fully vaccinated. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are at higher risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, getting sick, being hospitalized, or dying. Schedule a vaccination at a County mobile vaccination clinic by visiting Othena.com or calling the OC COVID-19 Hotline at 714-834-2000.
- Wear a mask indoors. This is the easiest way to protect everyone around you, especially those who are most at risk of contracting COVID-19. Those who are unvaccinated are required to wear masks indoors in accordance with mask guidance from the California Department of Public Health.
- Avoid crowded areas and events, especially indoors. Gatherings among residents should occur outdoors.
- Maintain physical distancing in poorly ventilated areas.
- Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer regularly.
- Avoid traveling if you are unvaccinated.
- Get tested if you are exposed to or experience symptoms of COVID-19. Order a self-collection, at-home kit at ochealthinfo.com/covidtest.
Orange County has continued to see a decline in COVID-19 case figures. Between August 26 and September 1, the seven-day average case rate dropped from 20.7 to 16.9 per 100,000 people, with the average number of daily COVID-19 cases declining from 667 to 545. The positivity rate also decreased from 7.8 to 6.4 percent, hospitalizations decreased from 592 to 521 per day, and ICU admissions saw a slight bump from 132 to 137 per day. Orange County COVID-19 case counts, and testing figures are updated daily, Monday through Friday, at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc.
Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been identified globally during the pandemic. The Delta Variant continues to be the most dominant version of the virus, according to county, state and federal data. The OC Health Care Agency recently published a new fact sheet on the Delta Variant, available in multiple languages, on the COVID-19 Education Toolkit webpage. To download the fact sheet and other vaccine education resources, visit occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/article/covid-19-education-toolkit.