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Coronavirus Cases, Deaths Spike to Record Highs, as Santa Monica's Contamination Rate Levels

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By Jorge Casuso

April 4, 2020 -- On a day that saw Los Angeles County easily surpass its daily highs for new coronavirus cases and deaths, Santa Monica tallied three new cases, down from six on Friday.

Health officials announced 28 deaths on Saturday -- more than double the previous high of 13 on Thursday -- bringing the total number of deaths to 117.

The number of new cases also shot up to a record high 711 cases, topping the previous high of 548 cases confirmed Tuesday, according to data from the Public Health Department.

Over the past five days, the number of confirmed cases in LA County has more than doubled -- from 2,474 cases on Monday to 5,277 on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Santa Monica has seen a general slowing down in the rate of new reported cases, with the three cases Saturday bringing the total to 24 this week.

The other 41 cases were reported between March 17 and March 29, with 17 of the cases confirmed last Friday and Saturday, according to County data.

Health officials had been bracing for an increase in new cases, as well as deaths, warning on Tuesday of a "very tough two weeks" ahead.

Of the 28 persons whose deaths were confirmed Saturday, 21 had underlying health conditions, a common factor in the vast majority of the deaths so far. Seventeen were over 65.

“Though COVID-19 infects people of all ages, the majority of the people dying from COVID-19 are individuals over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions," said County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer.

"Now more than ever, we must try to protect those most vulnerable by making it easy for them to take every precaution and safely stay home," Ferrer said.

Ferrer urged neighbors, friends, and families "to make sure that those at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19 are able to easily remain in their homes with all their needs met."

They should call and check in on the elderly and, when possible, "safely drop off any supplies they may need while keeping (their) distance," Ferrer said.

"These are tough times," she added, "but we are a caring LA County, and we will get through this together.”

A total of 1,168 people who tested positive for COVID-19 -- 22 percent of positive cases -- have been hospitalized at some point during their illness.

The spike in confirmed cases this week is in large part due to a steady rise in the number of tests being administered, County health officials said.

Almost 29,000 individuals have been tested, with 14 percent having tested positive, they said.

A "significant number" of those infected show no signs of symptoms and are "capable of spreading the virus," health officials said.

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