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Santa Monica Sees Weekly Surge in COVID-19 Cases, Record Number of Deaths

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

January 12, 2020 -- A record 16 Santa Monica residents died with the coronavirus last week, as confirmed cases surged again after a brief drop last week, according to Los Angeles County Health data.

There were 357 COVID-19 cases confirmed last week -- up from 282 cases the previous week and eight short of a record 365 cases reported two weeks ago.

The 16 coronavirus-related deaths -- four more than the record 12 deaths reported last week -- bring the total number of residents who have died with the virus to 88.

There have been 3,258 cases reported since the first local infection was confirmed March 16. Of those, 2,139 cases -- or two-thirds -- have taken place since the most recent surge began in early November.

This weekend, City officials announced the Pier would be closed "out of an abundance of caution" on Saturdays and Sundays this month and on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday.

"The best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home as much as possible and the closure is part of meeting this need," officials said.

The City's Code Enforcement COVID-19 details, which include Health Ambassadors brought on during the pandemic, will enforce unpermitted business operations, gatherings and face mask violations, officials said.

The latest shutdowns come as the coronavirus continues to spread across Los Angeles County, which on December 6 imposed the strictest health orders in the nation.

Since early November, the number of COVID-19-related deaths countywide has jumped from an average of 12 a day to more than 200 daily reported deaths last week.

"This deadly virus continues to spread at alarming rates and the most important way to stop it in its tracks is to avoid interactions with others and protect ourselves at all times," said County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

"The damaging impact to our families and our local hospitals from this surge is the worst disaster our county has experienced in decades," Ferrer said.

"And, as with other terrifying situations, the end of the surge only happens when more people and businesses take control and do the right thing."

As of 8 p.m. Sunday, 932,697 positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed across all areas of L.A. County, resulting in a total of 12,387 virus-related deaths.

There were 7,910 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, with 22 percent -- about 1,740 -- in the ICU, an increase of more than 1,000 percent over the past two months.

There are approximately 17,000 licensed non-ICU beds and 2,500 licensed ICU beds in the County's 70 designated 9-1-1 receiving hospitals, based on hospitals' daily self-report.

Of the 288 coronavirus-related deaths reported Sunday, 100 were 80 or older, 106 were between the ages of 65 and 79 and 61 were between 50 and 64, health officials said.

Of the others who died with the virus, 17 were between the ages of 30 and 49 and two were between the ages of 18 and 29.

Health officials did not report how many of those who died had preexisting health conditions. Of those who died with the virus last year, 86 percent had underlying conditions, officials said.

Skilled nursing facilities now account for a small percentage of the total deaths, dropping from about half of all deaths in the spring to 6 percent currently.

The coronavirus-related death rate among the County's homeless has increased -- from an average of two deaths a day in early December to an average of 14 in early January.

As of last week, more than 22,000 healthcare workers were fully vaccinated, while about two-thirds of the 54,500 eligible residents and staff at 322 skilled nursing facilities have been vaccinated, according to health officials.

As of Sunday, testing results were available for more than 5 million individuals -- half the County's population -- with 18 percent of them testing positive.

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