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Santa Monica Reports Weekly Low Covid Cases As State Mandates Lifted

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By Jorge Casuso

June 14, 2021 -- There were seven cases of COVID-19 reported in Santa Monica last week, matching the lowest weekly count since the virus was first detected in the city on March 16, 2020.

That brings the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases as of Sunday to 4,851 in the beach city of 93,000. The number of virus-related deaths has held steady at 183 for the past six weeks, according to Los Angeles County Heath data.

Santa Monica's record low comes as California on Friday officially ended its order -- issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom on March, 19, 2020 -- directing the state's 40 million residents to stay at home.

Jones of the Bay

Starting Tuesday, Californians will no longer be mandated to wear face coverings in most situations or to maintain a required distance from others if they are vaccinated.

Capacity will no longer be limited in businesses, places of worship, at sporting events, movie theaters or other venues.

"With the retiring of most distancing and capacity restrictions, businesses will be able to return to their customary activities," said LA County Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

Those who decline to be vaccinated must continue to wear masks in indoor public settings and businesses, including retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings and state and local government offices serving the public, County health officials said.

Businesses and venues have three options to implement the new order. They can require everyone to wear masks, check their vaccination status or inform them of the requirements and let them "self attest" that they are in compliance.

“If somebody comes into their business or their operation without a mask, it should be considered a self attestation for someone being vaccinated,” said Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services.

“So we are not requiring businesses to, for example, have somebody at the door checking for vaccine status as a way to comply with this,” Ghaly said.

There will still be restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated under the new health order that goes into effect Tuesday.

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, will still be required to wear masks on public transit; in healthcare settings, including nursing homes; in correctional facilities and detention centers, and in homeless and emergency shelters.

Masks must also be worn indoors in K-12 schools, childcare and other youth settings pending updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

"Outbreaks at schools are extremely rare in L.A. County," health officials said.

Since September 1, there have been 98 K-12 school affiliated outbreaks, with only one new outbreak over the past four weeks in the County of more than 10 million, officials said.

Despite the dwindling case numbers, some of the health orders imposed during the emergency could remain in place for good, Ghaly said.

“What, if anything, makes sense to make permanent -- those are important conversations that will have to happen in the weeks and months and years to come,” he said.

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