HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Four people have drowned along the Orange County coast in a little over one week, authorities say.
According to county coroner officials, the latest victim was a 36-year-old Garden Grove man who was found in the tide of Huntington Beach earlier this week.
Two other bodies were found off the Laguna Beach coast and another in Huntington Beach, according to the Orange County Register.
Despite the cluster of drownings, authorities who spoke to the Register said there have been fewer drownings this year than in 2019.
Taking into account drownings in oceans and pools, Sgt. Dennis Breckner said there were 43 drownings in the county last year and 48 the year before. There have been 17 so far this year, he added.
"By this time last year we had 29, so we're actually down," he told the Register.
Ahead of a scorching Labor Day weekend that is expected to drive more people to the beach, officials recommend swimming near a lifeguard tower and avoiding consuming alcohol before getting in the water.
COVID-19 and heat-related illnesses are also a concern when it comes to the upcoming heat wave and beach crowds.
"This weekend is going to be especially difficult ... Beaches will be busy and crowded and then all the associated businesses like restaurants and everything else will also be crowded," said Dr. James Keany at Mission Hospital. "So people are going to have to keep that in mind and take the appropriate precautions.
Keaney says he expects to see a light bump in cases after the holiday weekend.