OC Expected to Reopen More Entertainment Businesses Tuesday as Questions Over Case Rates PersistVoice of OC

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Orange County is expected to be able to reopen indoor operations at restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, churches and museums Tuesday, although there’s remaining questions surrounding the coronavirus metrics state public health officials are watching. 

Most retailers, including indoor malls, are already open under limited capacity. Offices will still be closed, even if OC moves to the next reopening phase.

The new state guidelines, issued last Friday, call for less than an eight percent positivity rate and less than a daily average of seven new sick people per 100,000 residents before counties can reopen more businesses.

For example, using last Monday’s data, over seven new people were contracting the virus daily for the week of Aug. 12 to 18, which is what the state is watching. 

Yet on Friday, that rate dropped to 6.9 people per 100,000 residents because 76 tests were removed from the data. 

County Health Care Agency research manager, Dr. Curtis Condon said that’s because duplicates and out-of-county cases have been removed. 

“Data cleaning. Case numbers may be reduced due to transfers of out of county residents and deduplication of cases,” Condon said in an email. 

Numerous residents have emailed and called Voice of OC about their concerns over the actual case rate and suspect the Health Care Agency of purposely delaying test result reporting in order to artificially lower their case rates. 

And there have been delays in test reporting. 

For example, last Monday, 32 percent of the 287 new cases reported were tests from July — well outside any timeframe state health officials are measuring the county’s virus progress. 

That means 93 of Monday’s new cases aren’t calculated in any case rate or positivity rate. 

Meanwhile, the county continues to see deaths from spikes stemming from sweeping business reopenings from Memorial Day weekend, when bars and restaurants opened. 

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