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Santa Monica Sees Drop in Coronavirus Cases As New Crackdown Takes Effect

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Santa Monica

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Santa Monica College
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By Jorge Casuso

November 20, 2020 -- Coronavirus cases in Santa Monica have dropped so far this week and the number of virus-related deaths has remained steady, as stiffer restrictions imposed by the County and State are set to go into effect tonight.

As of 8 p.m. Thursday, there were 63 new cases of the virus, compared to a record 131 cases reported in the city of 93,000 last week, according to data from Los Angeles Public Health.

Fewer cases are typically reported on weekends, County health officials have said, making it unlikely the case numbers will surpass last week's tally.

As of Thursday, 1,313 cases of the virus had been reported in Santa Monica since the first case was confirmed on March 16.

The number of Santa Monica residents who have died with COVID-19 has remained at 41 for more than three months, according to an analysis of the data.

The new restrictions imposed by Governor Gavin Newsom and adopted by the County will remain in effect from November 21 to December 21 and could be further tightened soon.

Under the new restrictions:

  • Non-essential businesses must shut down between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. except for takeout.

  • Indoor businesses -- such as retail stores, offices and personal care services -- must operate at 25 percent maximum occupancy.

  • Personal care establishments must require customers to make appointments and wear face coverings, which also must be worn by staff.

  • Outdoor restaurants, breweries and wineries must operate at 50 percent maximum occupancy.

  • Gatherings must be held outdoors and have no more than 15 people from three or fewer households.

As of 8 p.m. Thursday, there had been a total of 357,451 coronavirus cases across the County of more than 10 million residents and 7,396 virus-related deaths.

Health officials say they are alarmed by a recent surge in daily cases and hospitalizations, with the County's daily test positivity rate rising to 7.3 percent, from 3.9 percent on November 1.

So far, more than 3.5 million residents have been tested, with 9 percent of them testing positive.

The past three days have seen an average of 4,415 daily new cases, up from fewer than 1,400 cases in mid-October, health officials said.

On Thursday, there were 1,298 people with COVID-19 hospitalized, up from 730 a month ago.

If the trend continues, bars and restaurants would be shut down except for take-out, and if it worsens, a three-week lockdown would be mandated, County health officials warned.

If the five-day average of cases is 4,000 or more or hospitalizations are more than 1,750 per day, dining out will be prohibited, with only pick-up and delivery allowed, officials said.

If the five-day average of cases is 4,500 or more or hospitalizations are more than 2,000 per day, a Safer at Home Order will be mandated for three weeks, officials said.

"The Order would offer additional restrictions while allowing essential and emergency workers and those securing essential services to leave their homes."

As of Thursday, there had been 357,451 coronavirus cases reported in the County, and 7,275 residents had the virus when they died, according to the latest data.

A daily average of 29 people with COVID-19 have died since the first death was reprted in LA County on March 11, according to an analysis of the data.

That compares to a daily average of 31 people who die from coronary heart disease, a benchmark used by the County in late April when COVID-19-related deaths exceeded those from heart disease.

Of those who had the coronavirus when they died, 93 percent had underlying health conditions.

"Hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes are the most common underlying health conditions among people hospitalized with COVID-19," health officials said.

"Many people have multiple underlying health conditions."

More than 1,750 schools were open throughout L.A. County on Thursday, and there have been few cases of transmission, health officials said.

"The majority of school sites had only 1 or 2 cases, with little or no transmission at the school," officials said.

"There are 16 schools that experienced small outbreaks where 3 or 4 people tested positive."

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