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Masks are mandatory again at OC Superior Court in Santa Ana after 2 test positive for COVID-19

The Orange County Superior Courthouse in Santa Ana will return to a mandatory mask mandate for all employees and visitors on Monday, July 26, regardless of vaccination status, after two people in the building tested positive for COVID-19, officials announced on Sunday.

Officials were notified Friday evening that the two people may have contracted coronavirus, Orange County Superior Court spokesman Kostas Kalaitzidis said. Those cases were confirmed at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

The process to re-implement mandatory mask use at the Santa Ana courthouse began immediately afterward, Kalaitzidis said. Previously, anyone who showed proof of vaccination was allowed to enter without wearing a mask.

The change is in line with guidance from numerous state and county health agencies, Kalaitzidis said. It is meant to protect those coming and going from the building, and everyone they subsequently come into contact with, from spreading the virus.

“We are a part of the community, not some stand-alone thing out there,” Kalaitzidis said. Acting Presiding Judge Maria D. Hernandez signed the order.

Authorities were unable to specify whether the patients were visitors or staffers, citing medical privacy laws. Health officials have identified where and when they became infected, and have notified anyone who may have been in contact with them, Kalaitzidis said.

The order will expire two weeks from Monday if no new cases are reported at the courthouse. But it could be extended if officials learn of another person testing positive for COVID-19 who may have been in the building during that time.

Children under 3 years old are exempt.

More than 3,573,840 vaccine doses have been distributed in Orange County, with 54.9% or 1,743,251 fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, July 21, according to the California Department of Public Health. Vaccination numbers are updated weekly.

As of Friday, 3,170 new COVID-19 infections were reported in Orange County in the last 14 days. So far, more than 260,000 people in the county have contracted the disease.

Masks already are being required at Harbor Court in Newport Beach after two people who had been at that facility tested positive. That order was put into place for two weeks and is scheduled to be lifted on July 28.

And with COVID-19 cases again surging in San Bernardino County, courts officials announced that starting Monday, July 26, everyone who enters a courthouse there must wear a mask even if vaccinated.

The number of COVID-19 patients in San Bernardino County hospitals last week reached its highest count since March, according to data released Wednesday. County hospitals reported 149 confirmed COVID-19 patients, the most since March 24, when 144 patients were hospitalized.

Health officials say an increase in infections nationwide is attributable to unvaccinated people getting sick and fewer restrictions on gatherings and social distancing.

An Associated Press analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from May shows that “breakthrough” infections in fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 107,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations. That’s about 1.1%. And only about 150 of the more than 18,000 COVID-19 deaths in May were in fully vaccinated people. That translates to about 0.8%, or five deaths per day on average.


Source: Orange County Register

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