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Compiled by Zach Cavanagh and Lillian Boyd


Jan. 26 – First reported COVID-19 cases in California

Orange County issues public health emergency due to coronavirus concerns on Feb. 26, 2020. Photo: Lillian Boyd


Feb. 26 – Orange County issues public health emergency due to coronavirus concerns



March 4 – OC reports two positive cases of COVID-19

March 4 – First coronavirus-related death reported in CA

March 13 – Capistrano Unified School District schools close through April 3

March 15 – State issues social distancing guidelines and urges bars to close and restaurants to reduce operations

March 17 – OC bans gatherings, orders closure of in-person dining and bars and encourages working from home

March 19 – CA issues stay-at-home order closing all but essential services

March 19 – CA surpasses 1,000 coronavirus cases

March 23 – Dana Point closes Dana Point Cove

March 24 – CUSD begins distance learning

March 24 – OC reports first death related to COVID-19

March 25 – OC closes county-operated beach parking

March 25 – Capistrano Unified School District extends closure through May 1

March 27 – OC begins reporting city-by-city coronavirus cases

March 27 – U.S. House of Representatives passes $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package



April 2 – Capistrano Unified School District announces distance learning continue indefinitely

April 3 – OC surpasses 1,000 COVID-19 cases

April 14 – State announces plan to reopen CA economy

April 17 – CA records 1,000th coronavirus-related death

April 30 – Dana Point City Council votes to join lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom regarding beach closures



May 1 – State orders all OC beaches to close

May 7 – OC reopens county-operated beaches for active recreation

May 7 – The City of Dana Point dismisses itself from a lawsuit against Newsom after the state’s action to reopen OC beaches

May 8 – CA moves into Stage 2 of reopening plan, allowing retail to offer curbside pickup

May 9 – OC records 100th coronavirus-related death

May 18 – OC reopens limited parking at county-operated beaches

May 26 – CA surpasses 100,000 coronavirus cases



June 8 – OC top health officer Dr. Nichole Quick resigns after protests at home and death threats due to county mask order

June 12 – Retail stores, dine-in restaurants, bars, churches, hair and nail salons, gyms, movie theaters and other businesses allowed to reopen with health and safety modifications in CA

June 18 – CA orders statewide mask-wearing requirement

June 29 – OC one of 19 counties put on state’s coronavirus watch list with rising case rates, testing positivity and hospitalization rates



July 1 – Restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and cardrooms in watch-list counties ordered to close indoor operations

July 2 – OC bars, breweries and brewpubs that do not offer dine-in meals ordered to close

July 4 – OC surpasses 500 coronavirus-related deaths

July 4-5 – County-operated beaches and beach parking lots closed for Independence Day weekend

July 8 – OC hits single-day summertime high of 1,333 new coronavirus cases, tops 20,000 total cases

July 13 – Barbershops, salons, personal care services, fitness centers, places of worship, indoor malls and offices in non-critical sectors in watch-list counties ordered to close indoor operations

July 14 – OC hits summertime high of coronavirus hospitalizations at 722

July 17 – State announces plan for reopening schools connected to state coronavirus watch list

July 20 – Barbershops and salons allowed to reopen with outdoor operations in CA

July 31 – CA hits 500,000 COVID-19 cases



Aug. 6 – CA surpasses 10,000 coronavirus-related deaths

Aug. 11 – OC tops 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths

Aug. 18 – Capistrano Unified School District begins school year with online learning

Aug. 19 – First teen in OC dies due to COVID-19

Aug. 23 – OC removed from state’s coronavirus watch list

Aug. 25 – City staff presents data to show a $4 million revenue hit for Fiscal Year 2020 and a $7 million hit for Fiscal Year 2021

Aug. 28 – CA replaces state coronavirus county watch list with four-tiered, color-coded monitoring system; OC opens in highest-risk purple “widespread” tier with restrictions on many sectors



Sept. 8 – OC moves down into state’s red “substantial” tier – the second-highest coronavirus monitoring tier – clearing the way for reopenings in several sectors, including schools and indoor dining

Sept. 22 – Visit Dana Point is temporarily suspended due to impacts of COVID-19

Sept. 28-29 – Some Capistrano Unified School District schools begin to resume in-person instruction

Palisades Elementary School students and staff on campus follow safety guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Collin Breaux


Oct. 6 – CUSD middle schools resume in-person instruction

Oct. 13 – CUSD high schools resume in-person instruction

Oct. 21 – OC tops 1,500 coronavirus-related deaths



Nov. 6 – San Juan Capistrano closes city hall to public after city employees test positive for COVID-19

Nov. 13 – CA surpasses 1 million coronavirus cases

Nov. 16 – CA pulls “emergency brake” on coronavirus monitoring system as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge; OC falls back to purple tier

Nov. 19 – State issues limited stay-at-home order to cease overnight activities in purple tier counties

Where California’s counties stand in the state’s four-tiered, color-coded coronavirus monitoring system as of Dec. 22. Graphic: California Department of Public Health


Dec. 3 – OC hits new pandemic high of coronavirus hospitalizations at 746

Dec. 6 – Regional stay-at-home order enacted for Southern CA as available ICU capacity dips below 15%

Dec. 8 – CA reports 20,000th coronavirus-related death

Dec. 10 – CA tops 1.5 million coronavirus cases

Dec. 14 – First coronavirus vaccines administered in CA

Dec. 16 – U.S. tops 300,000 coronavirus-related deaths

Dec. 17 – OC, Southern CA hit 0% adjusted available ICU capacity

Dec. 20 – OC hits single-day pandemic high of 4,606 new coronavirus cases

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