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Santa Monica's Weekly Coronavirus Cases Rise After Three-Month Low
 

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By Jorge Casuso

August 24, 2020 -- There were 34 new coronavirus cases reported last week in Santa Monica and two new deaths, as the number of hospitalizations across Los Angeles County continued to drop, according to Public Health Department data.

As of 8 p.m. Sunday there have been 744 cases and 39 deaths reported in Santa Monica, which has a population of approximately 93,000.

The increase in weekly cases comes after the city marked its lowest weekly number of new coronavirus cases in nearly three months possibly due to a pending backlog of unreported cases that has not been cleared.

As of Sunday, Public Health identified 232,893 positive cases of COVID-19 and a total of 5,558 deaths across all areas of County of more than 10 million.

The number of new cases has dropped from a seven day average of 3,200 in mid to late July to 1,400, while the number of deaths has fallen from an average of 44 to 28, health officials said.

The number of daily hospitalizations has decreased by 45 percent since mid-July -- from a peak of more than 2,200 in mid-July to 1,219 confirmed on Sunday. Of those hospitalized, 32 percent are confirmed cases in the ICU.

"The decreasing number of daily hospitalizations is one of the best indicators as it is an accurate representation of how many people are currently seriously ill from the virus," health officials said Monday.

The age of those infected with COVID-19 also is skewing younger. More than two-thirds of new coronavirus infections reported on Saturday were in those under 50.

Ninety-two percent of LA County residents who died with COVID-19 had underlying health conditions, officials said.

The vast majority of those who have died suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes, the County's chief medical officer said last week.

Of the 5,446 deaths reported as of last Thursday, nearly 3,000 suffered from hypertension and more than 2,000 from diabetes, Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser said in an online briefing.

Other underlying health conditions contributing to death are cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, chronic renal disease, obesity, asthma and liver disease, Gunzenhauser said.

Some of those who died with the virus had more than one underlying condition, he added.

As of Sunday, testing results were available for nearly 2.2 million people, with 10 percent testing positive, health officials said. The seven-day average positivity rate is between 5 and 6 percent.

The County is currently meeting five of the six indicators used by the state to determine the progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19, officials said.

These include testing capacity, transmission rates, hospitalizations and the number of ICU beds and ventilators available.

The County, however, is failing to meet the threshold of having less than 100 cases per 100,000 residents, health officials said. The case rate is currently 218.


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