Coronavirus: Orange County bans all private and public gatherings; California schools likely closed until the fall

California‘s Orange County issued an immediate order banning all public and private gatherings “of any number of people” on Tuesday to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Under the unprecedented order issued by County Health Officer Dr. Nicole Quick, gatherings at work and “occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited. However, nothing in this order prohibits the gathering of members of a household or living unit.”

“We recognize community members may experience anxiety related to the social disruption caused by [the virus] and want to encourage residents to reach out to loved ones using appropriate methods like telephone, video messaging, email and text,” said Quick.

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A woman wearing a mask pushes a person in a wheelchair across a street in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

A woman wearing a mask pushes a person in a wheelchair across a street in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Most California schools will also likely remain closed until the fall because of the novel coronavirus, Gov. Newsom, D-Calif., announced Tuesday during a news conference streamed online.

Nearly all of the state’s schools have already shut down as California tries to stop the spread of the virus. The rest will follow soon, he said during a news conference streamed online.

“I would plan and assume it is unlikely that many of these schools, few if any, will open before the summer break,” Newsom said. “I don’t want to mislead you, to six-plus million kids in our system and their families, they need to make some plans at a time when a lot of plans are already being curtailed. But planning with kids is some of the most challenging planning.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom updates the state's response to the coronavirus, at the Governor's Office of Emergency Services in Rancho Cordova Calif., Tuesday, March 17, 2020. At right is California Health and Human Services Agency Director Dr. Mark Ghaly. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom updates the state’s response to the coronavirus, at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services in Rancho Cordova Calif., Tuesday, March 17, 2020. At right is California Health and Human Services Agency Director Dr. Mark Ghaly. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool)

He added that it was “totally inappropriate” for kids to worry about coming back and getting tested.

Orange County — just south of Los Angeles — has a population of over three million people.

Essential exceptions to the order in the California county include all services needed to ensure the operation of government agencies and provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

Hospitals, emergency responders, grocery stores, food banks, gas stations and other businesses selling essential activities are also exempt from the order and will remain open, the order said, according to Fox 11 in Los Angeles.

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All businesses were also told to enact “social distancing,” which is maintaining six-feet of separation from all people except family members.

“Violation of this Order is subject to fine, imprisonment, or both,” the order said. “This order may be enforced by the Sheriff or chiefs of police.”

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It also recommended all people above the age of 65, those who have chronic illnesses, and those with a “compromised immune system” to stay home consistent with the California Department of Public Health guidelines for older adults and those who have elevated risks.

The state has over 700 cases of the virus as of Wednesday morning, including 12 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Source: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/health/~3/uczRmTQMl-Q/orange-county-bans-private-public-gatherings-california-schools-out-until-fall

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