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Local COVID-Related Deaths Rise, Cases Drop
 

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By Jorge Casuso

February 14, 2022 -- There were four coronavirus-related deaths reported in Santa Monica last week, the most since Thanksgiving week, according to Los Angeles County Health data.

Over the past month, 13 Santa Monica residents have died with the virus, the most since 18 virus-related deaths were reported during a 12-day stretch in late March and early April last year.

The deaths come as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to drop and reflects a typical two-week lag in reporting deaths.

There were 214 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Santa Monica last week, the fewest since 119 were confirmed in the week ending December 12, shortly before the highly contagious Omicron variant began shattering weekly case records.

There has been a total of 16,143 coronavirus cases reported in Santa Monica since the first case was confirmed in the beach city of 93,000 on March 16, 2020.

Of those, more than half -- 8,485 cases -- have been confirmed since Omicron variant became the dominant strain in mid-December, according to County data.

Last week was the fifth week in a row local cases declined after hitting a record 1,902 weekly cases early last month.

With the number of confirmed cases and daily hospitalizations declining countywide, County Health officials are poised to lift outdoor face masking mandates as early as Wednesday.

Under guidelines announced last Tuesday, if the number of hospitalizations stays below 2,500 for seven consecutive days, masks will not be required at outdoor "mega-event" or outdoors at schools and childcare centers.

Sunday marked third fourth consecutive day the number remained below the threshold, with 2,054 people with COVID-19 hospitalized.

That compares with the more than 4,800 hospitalizations at the peak of the Omicron surge a month ago.

According to County officials, some 60 percent of those hospitalized were admitted for unrelated reasons and learned they were infected after being tested during admission.

Under the guidelines announced last week, masking requirement at indoor establishments will continue until a “moderate” transmission rate of 50 new cases per 100,000 people is achieved for two consecutive weeks.

As of Friday, the county's rate was 518 per 100,000, down from 622 per 100,000 residents on Thursday, according to the CDC's website.

Public Health reported a total of 2,764,073 positive cases of COVID-19 across the County of more than 10 million, with a positivity rate on Monday of 3 percent.

To date, the total number of deaths in L.A. County is 29,928, according to County data.

Testing results are available for more than 11,288,200 individuals, with 22 percent testing positive.


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