Orange County declaring local health emergency in response to coronavirus

Officials in Orange County, Calif., are set to declare a local health emergency in the area on Wednesday as fears continue to mount over the worldwide spread of a new coronavirus known as COVID-19.

According to the Los Angeles Times, officials in the county, which is comprised of more than 30 cities, will hold a press conference discussing the new declaration later in the afternoon.

At least one person in the county has reportedly been infected with the virus, which has killed over a thousand people worldwide and infected victims in various parts of the world.


The move by Orange County to declare a local health emergency reportedly comes after Santa Clara County and San Diego County issued similar alerts earlier this month, in addition to San Francisco.

So far, officials say more than 50 cases of the virus have been reported in the country out of the more than 80,000 cases reported worldwide, according to CNN

A number of pubic health experts have expressed alarm over the outbreak as some officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say the agency has begun to prepare for the virus to “take a foothold in the US."

“Right now we're in an aggressive containment mode.” Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said earlier this month.

He added that the virus “is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission." 

The news has put pressure on the Trump administration to take more preventative action, despite efforts from President TrumpDonald John TrumpIllinois governor says state has gotten 10 percent of medical equipments it's requested Biden leads Trump by 6 points in national poll Tesla offers ventilators free of cost to hospitals, Musk says MORE to downplay concerns about the virus.


Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell launches ad touting role in passing coronavirus relief Joe Biden can't lead the charge from his home in Delaware Texas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill MORE (N.Y.) said the administration was showing “towering and dangerous incompetence” in its response to the spread of the virus while also calling for a czar to be appointed to oversee the White House’s response.

“It is clear this administration is in total disarray when it comes to this crisis of the coronavirus,” Schumer said.

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGranting cash payments is a conservative principle 7 things to know about the coronavirus stimulus package Scarborough rips Trump for mocking Romney's negative coronavirus test: 'Could have been a death sentence' MORE (R-Utah) has also called on the administration to step up its response to the virus, which he said the White House seems unprepared to tackle. 

“I’m very disappointed in the degree to which we’ve prepared for a pandemic, both in terms of protective equipment and in terms of medical devices that would help people once they are infected,” he said.

Trump is slated to make a public address on the virus Wednesday evening.