As County opens up, orders and recommendations change

The County Health Officer Saturday issued a new Health Officer’s Order and additional strong recommendations to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Orange County as more businesses move toward re-opening.

“The Order includes necessary preventative measures to control and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community and help preserve the capacity in our local health care system, which was one of the metrics the California Department of Public Health took into account before approving our plan to move deeper into Stage 2 of re-opening Orange County,” said Dr. Nichole Quick, County Health Officer.

Effective at 12 a.m. on Saturday, May 23, and continuing until further notice, the following will be in effect in incorporated and unincorporated areas of Orange County: 

Self-Isolation of Persons with COVID-19: All county residents who have been diagnosed with or are likely to have COVID-19, as defined below, shall immediately isolate themselves in their home or another residence under the following criteria, as applicable:

–Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms shall isolate themselves until: (i) at least three days (72 hours) after they have recovered, meaning their fever has resolved without use of fever-reducing medications and their respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) have improved; AND (ii) at least 10 days has elapsed from when their symptoms first appeared.

–Individuals who have a positive COVID-19 PCR laboratory test result and are without COVID-19 symptoms shall isolate themselves for 10 days from the date when the specimen for the positive COVID-19 PRC laboratory test result was obtained.

–Unless one of the criteria above applies, the individual may not leave his or her place of isolation except to receive necessary medical care.

A person is considered to be diagnosed with or likely to have COVID-19, if the person has:

–Received a positive COVID-19 PCR laboratory test result; and/or

–Been informed by a physician that he or she is likely to have COVID-19; and/or

–Signs and symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19 (i.e. new onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath or trouble breathing).

This self-isolation order DOES NOT in any way restrict access by first responders to an isolation site during an emergency. 

Self-Quarantine of Persons Exposed to COVID-19: All county residents who know that they have been in close contact, as defined below, with a person diagnosed with or likely to have COVID-19 shall take the following actions:

–Quarantine themselves in their home or another residence until 14 days from the last date that they were in close contact with a person that has been diagnosed with or likely to have COVID-19.

–Exposed persons shall self-quarantine themselves for the entire 14-day COVID-19 incubation period, the typical time between exposure and when symptoms and signs of the disease may develop. They may not leave their place of quarantine except to receive necessary medical care or to obtain such other goods or services necessary for their basic subsistence.

–Close contact refers to any person who has been within six feet of an infectious COVID-19 person for 15 minutes or more. A person who is diagnosed with or likely to have COVID-19 is considered infectious from 48 hours before his or her symptoms first appeared until the person is no longer required to be isolated.

This self-quarantine order DOES NOT in any way restrict access by first responders to a quarantine site during an emergency. This self-quarantine SHALL NOT APPLY to health care professionals and law enforcement personnel.

Business Re-Opening: All businesses that are permitted to reopen in Orange County as part of Stage 2 of the State’s Resilience Roadmap shall comply with posting requirements. Most of the State’s industry-specific requirements are listed on the website at Dine-in restaurants can find the State’s applicable requirements here, and the related checklist here. Posting shall be visible at the entrance of the business and specifically include an attestation by the business owner and/or operator that the business has:

–Performed a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan;

–Trained employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them;

–Implemented individual control measures and screenings;

–Implemented disinfecting protocols; and

–Implemented physical distancing guidelines. 

Cloth Face-Covering: All Orange County residents and visitors shall wear a cloth face-covering when (i) in a public place; (ii) visiting a retail, commercial, or other place of business; or (iii) at work, and when the resident or visitor is not able to maintain at least six feet of physical distance from another person who is not a family/household member or lives in the same living unit. 

A cloth face-covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth; it can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face; it can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen; and a face-covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand, or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. 

The cloth face-covering Order SHALL NOT APPLY to children under the age of 2; anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face-covering without assistance; persons with a medical or mental health condition, or development disability that prevents wearing a cloth face-covering.

Residents are encouraged to read the Health Officer’s Order and strong recommendations in their entirety by clicking here, as there is greater detail that will help provide necessary clarification.

For more information and resources about COVID-19, visit