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Coronavirus Cases Escalate in LA County, Santa Monica as Test Backlogs Clear
By Jorge Casuso
April 21, 2020 -- Results from a backlog of coronavirus tests continued inflating the number of cases confirmed Tuesday in Los Angeles County and likely in Santa Monica, which has seen cases spike to 20 so far this week.
The 11 cases confirmed in Santa Monica on Tuesday and nine on Monday come after the city saw weekly totals drop to 23 last week, after posting 24 cases the previous week.
They bring the total number of confirmed cases in the city of 93,000 to 135.
Of the 1,400 new cases reported countywide Tuesday, 734 -- or more than half -- were from a backlog of tests, and 625 were daily reported cases, health officials said. There were 46 new deaths.
On Monday, 1,419 new cases were confirmed, 1,191 of those from a backlog at one lab.
Two medical care facilities in Santa Monica -- Beachwood and The Rehabilitation Center of Santa Monica -- account for 56 confirmed cases.
At Beachwood, 19 residents and nine staff members tested positive for the virus. Another two residents were listed as "probable" cases.
At The Rehabilitation Center of Santa Monica, 18 residents and 10 staff members tested positive.
In addition, four residents of the Manor -- a residential facility for developmentally disabled adults -- tested positive for the coronavirus.
The virus is likely much more widespread in Santa Monica than the number of cases confirmed by the County indicate, with between nearly 4,000 and 8,000 of the city's 93,000 residents likely having been infected.
The estimate is based on a groundbreaking anti-body test that found the total number of infected residents in LA County was likely 28 to 55 times higher than number of cases confirmed by health officials.
The results indicate the coronavirus is far less deadly in Los Angeles County than health officials previously thought ("Coronavirus Fatality Rate 'Much Lower' Than Previously Thought, LA County Health Officials Say," April 20, 2020).
To date, the County Public Health Department has confirmed 15,140 cases countywide and 663 deaths.
Of the 46 deaths reported Tuesday, 31 had underlying health conditions and 33 were over the age of 65.
Nearly 90 percent of those who have died in LA County had underlying health conditions and more than one-third were in nursing homes, health officials said.
The increase in confirmed cases coincides with a rapid increase in testing -- from fewer than 30,000 on April 10 to nearly 90,000 on Tuesday.
To date, 3,639 people who tested positive for the coronavirus -- nearly one quarter of positive cases -- have been hospitalized at some point during their illness.
The percentage of those hospitalized is far lower when the 221,000 to 442,000 adults health officials believe may have been infected based on the anti-body test sample are taken into account.
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