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Laguna Beach city manager tests positive for coronavirus, says is working from home and will recover

Laguna Beach City Manager John Pietig has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and is self-isolating at home, according to the city.

“I am in good spirits, will continue to work from home and expect to make a full recovery,” Pietig said in a statement.

Pietig participated via the Zoom conferencing service in the Tuesday, March 31, Laguna Beach City Council meeting.

During that meeting, some residents expressed concern the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus reported by the county in Laguna Beach were proportionally higher than other cities in Orange County.

According to the OC Health Care Agency update on April 1,  Laguna Beach has the highest number of confirmed cases per capita in Orange County. The seaside town has 25 cases reported among a population base of 23,358. That’s at least 1 case per thousand residents.

“We’re a more transient community where people come here to our beaches,” said Councilman Peter Blake, who early on was one of the most vocal in calling for a closure of the city’s beaches. On March 23, Laguna Beach was the first city in Orange County to close its beaches, trailheads and parks.

“We do have some early testing places,” Blake said. “We’re also a more health-conscious community and test earlier.”

On Tuesday, the City Council also announced the weekly Farmer’s Market held near City Hall on Saturdays will be closed indefinitely.

Pietig, like much of the city staff, has been working from home for at least the last nine days.

Blake said he was surprised to hear of Pietig’s positive result.

“He’s never exhibited any symptoms,” Blake said, adding he was last physically near Pietig during the city’s March 17 City Council meeting.

“John has done an incredible job,” Blake said. “I don’t know if he’s had a day off.”

Source: Orange County Register

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