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Santa Monica to Reopen Playgrounds as Local COVID-19 Cases Reach Record Levels
By Jorge Casuso
December 10, 2020 -- After getting the green light from Los Angeles County public health authorities, Santa Monica will reopen playgrounds on Friday under revised guidelines as local coronavirus cases reach record levels.
Thirteen playgrounds that were previously available will reopen across the city after the State recently reversed its decision to close playgrounds.
Under the new guidelines, visitors cannot gather with those outside their household, must wear masks unless they are under two years of age and should use hand sanitizer or wash hands frequently.
"With this opening comes an even greater need for parents to practice extreme caution and vigilance as we break new daily records for positive COVID-19 cases and deaths," City officials said in a statement.
Last week Santa Monica reported a record 197 confirmed cases and five deaths, according to Los Angeles County Health data ("Santa Monica Shatters Weekly Record for COVID-19 Cases, Deaths," December 8, 2020).
As of Wednesday, Santa Monica had a total of 1,783 confirmed cases and 52 coronavirus-related deaths, two of them this week.
Los Angeles County health officials confirmed 74 new deaths and a record 12,819 new cases on Wednesday, surpassing the previous high of 10,528 on December 6.
"L.A. County continues to experience high number of new deaths and more new cases reported each day for COVID-19 than at any point during the pandemic," officials said.
The child -- who had severe underlying health conditions -- was hospitalized for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
It is the first death in the County associated with the inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19 that "can damage multiple organ systems, require hospitalization, and be life-threatening," officials said.
In addition to the 13 City playgrounds that will open in Santa Monica Friday, school play structures will reopen at Franklin, Roosevelt, McKinley, Rogers, Grant, Edison, and Muir/SMASH schools in collaboration with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
Fields and open space at all Santa Monica elementary schools are open Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. and weekends and breaks. Lincoln Middle School and John Adams Middle School fields are open for permit use only.
"Behavior of playground users will be monitored and if the district determines that people are not following the posted rules, the district may discontinue access," City officials said.
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