UPDATED: Laguna Beach Has 28 Residents Who Tested Positive For The Coronavirus

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A rare view of an empty Main Beach. Photo by Mitch Ridder

Laguna Beach has 28 residents who tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an Orange County Healthcare Agency report published Thursday.

This tally was up by six cases since Monday when county health officials first reported the number of Laguna residents among Orange County’s confirmed cases of the virus. In their initial by-city report last Friday, county officials declined to specify cases in cities with a population of less than 25,000, which included Laguna Beach, citing federal health privacy law.

“As of right now, the County, under our County Health Officer, Dr. Nichole Quick, is following the state guidelines for reporting standards,” Megan Dutra, a spokesperson for Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, wrote in an email Friday.

The California Department of Public Health declined to comment Monday on to the de-identification methods being used among the state’s counties to protect patients’ confidentiality. However, the state health agency noted that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act does not specify the statistical de-identification method that must be applied by public agencies.

Laguna Beach residents have the right to know the tally of fellow residents infected with the coronavirus, Councilmember Sue Kempf told the Independent in an interview Monday. The more important statistic would be how many people are in intensive care at Orange County hospitals, she said.

“I just think people should assume that everyone has the virus and take the necessary precautions,” she said.

This story is developing and will be updated as needed.

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