Orange County residents adjust to new COVID-19 restrictions


With a spike in COVID-19 in Orange County, last week Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the county would move back into the purple from the less restrictive red tier. The purple tier means that COVID-19 is widespread and there has been a 7% increase per 100,000 residents in positive cases within a seven-day time frame. O.C. will stay in the purple tier for at least three weeks until the criteria are met.

O.C. reported 1,666 COVID-19 new diagnoses this past week, raising the cumulative case total to 76,761, but the county did not report any new fatalities, leaving the death toll at 1,557. Hospitals are reaching maximum capacity for coronavirus patients.

 The number of county residents hospitalized with the coronavirus increased from 380 on Sunday to 428 on Monday, with the number of patients in intensive care rising from 91 to 105. According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, there have been 19,089 deaths in California.

Nancy Malone and her wife Anna Borja live in Laguna Niguel, where Anna is a caregiver.

“My wife tested positive for the coronavirus,” Malone said. “I got tested five days after she did, and my test was negative. We maintained social distance in our apartment and refrained from physical contact during the 14-day quarantine period.”

Malone was fortunate enough to work from home after her employer provided her with a laptop. 

“I received the COVID-19 supplemental sick pay for the first couple of days,” Malone said. “I’m very grateful that my job and my employer allows working from home. I realize not everybody has this opportunity.”

Mission Viejo has a population of 96,434 and 1270 positive COVID-19 cases have been reported with 21 deaths as of Nov. 27. 

Mike Holstein is a retired Mission Viejo resident whose good friend was diagnosed with COVID-19.

“I talked to my doctor, and he suggested I self-quarantine for 14 days, but I never got any symptoms, so I basically lost two weeks,” Holstein said.

Jana Holstein, wife of Mike Holstein, is a retired magazine editor. She and her husband socially distanced in their home during the quarantine period.

“I never dreamed this pandemic would be going on into the holidays and getting worse,” Holstein said. “I’m so sick of it and pray there’s an end in sight soon. In the meantime, I wear a mask in public and follow the suggested guidelines.”

The California Department of Public Health has issued a Blueprint for a Safer Economy to ensure the safety protocols necessary to stabilize and maintain the health of residents and businesses. Many open businesses will now be closed or at a reduced capacity to operate.

While cases continue to surge in California and across the country, the Transportation Security Authority has issued safety precautions for travelers during the holiday season. The Centers of Disease Control recommend that people stay at home; however, many are not heeding their advice.

People arriving in California from other states or countries, including returning California residents, should practice self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. These persons should limit their interactions to their immediate household. 

California has imposed a curfew of residents limiting movement after 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Essential workers are excluded from this. The stay-at-home order will remain in effect from Nov. 21 to Dec. 21 for all purple tier counties.

In a Thursday tweet Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said his department is still “assessing the action by the Governor.” 



Many residents are frustrated with this latest set of restrictions and have criticized Gov. Newsom for violating the same standards he has imposed on citizens with respect to social gatherings.

Newsome attended a birthday party at the very expensive French Laundry restaurant in Napa for a long-time advisor, lobbyist Jason Kinney, where photos showed that social-distancing policies were not enforced.

A COVID-19 vaccine may be on the horizon. Photo via Unsplash

Competing pharmaceutical companies are rushing to create a vaccine for COVID-19. Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna are frontrunners in clinical trials and some results have been promising. There has been much criticism and cynicism over releasing a vaccine by the end of the year based on the shortened trial periods, which have not met Federal Drug Administration guidelines for adequate research and development.