Voice of OC

  • The Declaration of Independence

    Today, as we as prepare to celebrate the birth of our nation and the defense of the freedoms that bring us all together, please take a moment to read the greatest story ever written, the Declaration of Independence.

We are bringing you the best and most comprehensive Orange County Coronavirus coverage. Please, join us and sustain our work today.

As of Thursday, the OC Health Care Agency reports 15,065 Coronavirus cases, 354 deaths and 556 hospitalizations (193 in ICU).

INFORMATION View the CDC website. View OC's website. View the latest OC case counts.

TRANSLATIONS See the county's guides in non-English languages. Learn key Coronavirus facts in Vietnamese and Spanish via VietRiseSee VietRISE guides in Spanish and Vietnamese.

EXPOSURE The CDC recommends: wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after being in public or blowing your nose or coughing (or, hand sanitizer with 60%+ alcohol), avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, avoid sick people, stay 6 feet away from other people and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. If you are sick: stay home, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, throw away used tissues and wear a face mask around others.

SYMPTOMS The CDC identifies key symptoms as: Fever, cough and shortness of breath that develop 2-14 days after exposure. If you suspect Coronavirus, CALL your primary medical provider. If you display any EMERGENCY warning signs, seek immediate medical attention: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face.

RISK The CDC identifies people most at risk for serious illness: Older adults, and people who have serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

STRESS Stress and anxiety can be triggered by the situation and resources are available to help from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and from the American Psychology Association. Concern over this new virus can make children and families anxious, here are tips on talking with children about COVID-19.

STAYING HOME On of March 19, Gov. Gavin Newsom told Californians to stay home, restricting movement to basics such as gas, groceries and exercise to stem Coronavirus spread and to protect the state’s medical infrastructure. The order supersedes the county's emergency health order which barred gatherings and recommended people stay home. Voice of OC is maintaining a list of arts closures.

SOCIAL DISTANCING Staying home and away from people is called "social distancing." The aim is to SLOW the spread of Coronavirus so as to not overwhelm the nation's health care systems and so that people in need can get help. The Washington Post explains: "The spread (of COVID-19) can be slowed, public health professionals say, if people practice "social distancing" by avoiding public spaces and generally limiting their movement."

Orange County residents, along with all Californians, are now required to wear masks during the novel coronavirus pandemic after orders from Gov. Gavin Newsom effectively capped a raging debate over masks in OC. (ARTICLE)

"Californians must wear face coverings when they are in the situations listed below:

  • Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space;
  • Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank;

 

  • Waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle;

 

  • Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when:
    • Interacting in-person with any member of the public;
    • Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;
    • Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;
    • Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;
    • In any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s own household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance.
  • Driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, or private car service or ride-sharing vehicle when passengers are present. When no passengers are present, face coverings are strongly recommended.

 

  • While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of six feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible.

 

The following individuals are exempt from wearing a face covering:

  • Children aged two and under;
  • Persons with a medical, mental health, or developmental disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
  • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
  • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
  • Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;
  • Persons who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, provided that they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet away from persons who are not members of the same household or residence;
  • Persons who are engaged in outdoor work or recreation such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, when alone or with household members, and when they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others;
  • Persons who are incarcerated. Prisons and jails, as part of their mitigation plans, will have specific guidance on the wearing of face coverings of masks for both inmates and staff."

BUYING FOOD You can find a few updates on local grocery stores. Grocers say there aren't any serious supply shortages and empty shelves are a result of massive overbuying. They say those shelves will be replenished in time.

FOOD ASSISTANCE If you need help, can find a nearby food pantry. You can apply for food benefits over the phone through the CalFresh program at 800-281-9799 or online.

STUDENT MEALS OC public schools are offering free or reduced priced meals to students 18 years old and under, available for pickup at these locations.

EVICTIONS Cities across OC are considering temporary bans on evictions related to Coronavirus. Under the bans, tenants are allowed to fight evictions if they or a family member are infected, or if they’ve been laid off or are forced to leave work due to the virus.

PROPERTY TAXES Property taxes are due April 10. At this time, Orange County's congressional delegation on March 20 called on the county government to delay the taxes for 90 days.

BUSES Starting March 23, all public buses will switch to weekend service hours (from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., compared to weekdays when service is 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.). Some routes begin and end earlier. OC ACCESS continues to operate as usual. While ridership has sharply declined, the agency is disinfecting and sanitizing buses and other public vehicles.

GENERAL FINANCIAL HELP Voice of OC article explains available financial relief resources. Here are some of those:

RESTAURANT OWNERS & EMPLOYEES You can find a detailed list of resources available to restaurant owners and employees. The food service industry struggles to maintain business following the most recent announcement to stop all on-site dining, with service only available by delivery, pick-up or drive-thru.

VOLUNTEERING Non-profits and food banks are asking for volunteers to help at-risk communities in the coming weeks. OC Food Bank Coordinator Andre Gaithe told Voice of OC that despite the pandemic they still need volunteers to pack food containers for the 25,000 low income senior citizens they serve on a monthly basis. Second Harvest Food Bank has launched weekly drive through service at the Honda Center, and have suspended their volunteer packing operations at the distribution center.

DONATIONS An Orange County Community Resilience Fund has been started through the OC Community Foundation to raise money for local nonprofits and volunteer organizations.

FEATURED VOICE OF OC DONOR

"Thank you for all your great work on behalf of the public. No other media organization does quite what Voice of OC does, with its depth, speed, consistency and accuracy."

-Jeffrey Dickman

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