Gov. Gavin Newsom closed Orange County beaches following his warning against people flocking to beaches during the novel coronavirus pandemic and expressed concerns over crowded coastline pictures from Newport Beach from last weekend. 

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“We’re going to do a hard close in that part of the state. Just in the Orange County area,” Newsom said during a Thursday news conference. “The images we saw … were disturbing.” 

He said OC’s hospitalization numbers are also raising alarms for him. 

“I’m concerned that that county in particular is still in the top three or four counties in terms of hospitalizations,” Newsom said. “So Orange County’s been on our list of health concerns. They’ve done a wonderful job down there, I just think they can tighten that up a bit.”

The virus has killed 45 people out of 2,393 confirmed cases, according to Thursday’s updated numbers. There’s also been 31,534 people tested throughout the county, which is home to over 3.1 million people. 

The OC beach closure comes after some cities, like Laguna Beach and Newport Beach voted to open some of their beaches earlier this week. 

“I have to make this adjustment. I hope it’s a very short-term adjustment,” Newsom said. “The application of these rules have to happen at the local level.” 

He also said OC needs to get its testing numbers up. 

“Even in a county like Orange County, which [has] one of the highest rates of total number of positives … very limited number of people [have] been tested in that county. So we need to provide more tests.”  

Spencer Custodio is a Voice of OC staff reporter. You can reach him at Follow him on Twitter @SpencerCustodio.

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