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3 New Coronavirius-Related Deaths, as Local Cases Remain Low

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By Jorge Casuso

October 26, 2021 -- There were three coronavirus-related deaths in Santa Monica over the past two weeks, while confirmed cases remained at a steady low level, according to County Health data.

The deaths were the first in more than a month and bring the total number of those who have died with the virus to 189, according to the data.

There were 98 new cases of the virus reported over the past two weeks -- the lowest levels since June -- bringing to 6,706 the total number of confirmed cases in the city of some 93,000.

The local trend is reflected nationwide, where the number of cases has tumbled -- from nearly 173,000 on September 13 to a current average of some 73,000 per day.

In LA County, since the delta variant began surging this summer cases have plummeted, from a daily average of 3,134 cases in late July to an average of 1,075 cases last week in the county of more than 10 million.

The drop in cases has prompted many communities across the country to relax their masking rules and mandates, and in some cases, such as Florida, discourage them.

LA County, meanwhile, has been tightening it regulations and continuing to proactively enforce them, Health officials said.

County health inspectors "continue to visit businesses across the county every day to ensure compliance with required safety measures, including masking guidelines and vaccination verification," health officials said.

Between October 16 and October 22, health inspectors visited 1,008 restaurants, 78 bars, 226 food markets, 26 breweries, wineries or distilleries, 10 nightclubs, 21 lounges, 21 hotels and 35 gyms and fitness centers, officials said.

They also visited 10 hair salons or barber shops, 52 food manufacturing plants, 33 garment manufacturing plants, 22 personal care businesses, 11 office sites, and 5 large outdoor and indoor venues.

"Overall, the inspections revealed that while the majority of businesses were in compliance, there is room for improvement with employee masking" in some business sectors.

These include "garment manufacturers, office sites, bars, nightclubs and lounges and customer vaccination verifications at bars," health officials said.

Enforcement can include a notice of violation or a citation, two of which were issued to County schools between October 16 and October 22, officials said.

The County's strict mandates and shutdowns -- which have largely been guided by State Health officials -- may be taking a toll on California's economic recovery.

According to a study released by WalletHub last week, California had the second highest unemployment rate in the nation last month, at 7.5 percent.

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