County health officials warned swimmers and others to stay away from the water at Newport's Little Corona Beach this week.

Although the beach remained open, signs posted Thursday warned of elevated bacteria levels that could cause sickness.

Water at the beach is tested weekly to make sure it meets safety standards, said Larry Honeybourne, of the Orange County Health Care Agency.

"Occasionally, for whatever reason, we may get a sample result that exceeds the state limits," Honeybourne said.

The sign simply indicates an elevated bacteria level that could be caused by anything from urban runoff to sea gull droppings, Honeybourne said.

"It doesn't mean that there's sewage there," he said. "It doesn't necessarily mean there's a health risk."

The Health Care Agency will continue testing the water until bacteria levels are within acceptable limits.

"I think we should have results by tomorrow, but occasionally we do get these positives," Honeybourne said Friday.

— Jeremiah Dobruck

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck