The Orange County Health Agency is advising O.C. residents to take, “adequate safety precautions,” as COVID-19 cases increase, but will not issue a countywide mask mandate.

The news came in a statement from the Orange County Health Agency on Friday, July 16, a day after the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced it would reinstate its indoor mask mandate for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, on Saturday, July 17.

In Friday’s statement, County Health Officer Dr. Clayton Chau said the testing positivity rate for COVID-19 cases in Orange County has increased by nearly 2 percent since Orange County reopened its economy on June 15.

“With the recent reopening of the state’s economy, we had expected to see an increase in our COVID-19 cases and positivity rates,” Chau said. “The average number of cases increased from 31 to over 100 per day over the last month, and our total testing positivity increased from 0.6% to 2.5%. Hospitalizations also jumped from 54 to 119 patients per day and ICU admissions increased from 13 to 31 patients per day. This means we need to continue being proactive about protecting our loved ones and neighbors and taking the necessary steps to help reduce the risk of infection throughout our county.”

Chau also encouraged all unvaccinated residents in Orange County to get vaccinated as soon as possible, as 90% of new positive COVID-19 cases are being attributed to individuals who are not fully vaccinated. In fact, HCA reported that 95% of those hospitalized are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

With HCA’s recent shift from reporting daily COVID-19 statistics to weekly, the most recent report, which was released on July 13, listed 1,050 new COVID-19 cases, with nine new deaths as of July 7.

HCA’s most recent weekly COVID-19 update indicates that there are currently 119 people hospitalized, with 25 in the intensive care unit — an increase of nearly double since HCA’s last daily report, on July 6.

On July 6, there was a total of 73 people hospitalized with 11 in the ICU.

Accumulatively, Orange County has reported a total of 257,826 COVID-19 cases, with 5,133 COVID-19 related deaths.