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COVID Milestones Go Virtually Unnoticed

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By Jorge Casuso

June 15, 2022 -- Santa Monica quietly surpassed the 20,000 mark in COVID cases last week, while Los Angeles County topped 3 million cases, according to Los Angeles County Health data.

The milestones have by and large gone unnoticed; even County Health officials -- who have ceased issuing daily press releases -- failed to note the 3 million mark had been surpassed.

In a press release dated June 3, Public Health reported a total of 2,990,651 confirmed COVID cases in the County. In the next release on June 6 it reported a total of 3,004,975 cases.

Meanwhile, 410 cases of the virus were confirmed in Santa Monica last week, bringing the total to 20,203 cases as of Sunday in the City of some 93,000, according to County Health data.

One coronavirus-related death was reported in Santa Monica last week, and one the previous week, bringing the total number of residents who have died with the virus to 248.

Despite a surge in cases driven by the highly contagious Omicron BA.2 lineage and sub-lineages, the virus has receded from the news, as relatively few deaths and hospitalizations are reported.

But over the past month, both the number of cases and hospitalizations have been on the rise, according to County Health officials.

The average number of daily new cases reported has risen from 2,793 a month ago to 4,847 last week, a 74 percent increase.

"The highly infectious variants and sub-lineages fueling the recent higher case numbers have translated to more than double the number of people severely ill and needing to be hospitalized than a month ago," County officials said.

The average number of hospital patients per day who tested positive for COVID has jumped from 259 last month to 580 last week, an increase of 124 percent.

Virus-related deaths, which take about two weeks to report, have also increased -- from an average of four per week a month ago to seven last week.

“The highly infectious Omicron variants are providing uncertainty about the trajectory of this recent surge in cases," said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

"For each new variant, we need to reassess how much the new strain evades vaccine protection, causes severe illness, and avoids detection with current tests."

"And to be dominant, the new strains are likely to be even more infectious than the previous strains," Ferrer said.

There were a total of 3,047,469 COVID cases confirmed as of Tuesday in the County of more than 10 million and 32,236 virus-related deaths.

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