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COVID Cases Continue Rising in Santa Monica

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By Jorge Casuso

May 10, 2022 -- The number of local coronavirus cases continued climbing in Santa Monica with 615 cases confirmed over the past two weeks, although no new deaths were reported, according to Los Angeles County Health data.

The rapid spread and low death toll are characteristic of the Omicron BA.2 lineage and sub-lineages that account for 96 percent of the positive sequenced specimens in LA County, health officials said.

The number of weekly cases in Santa Monica has more than doubled over the past month -- from 159 on the week ending April 17 to 331 last week, the most since early February.

Despite the surge, there has been one virus-related death reported over the past three weeks after an average of 3.5 weekly virus-related deaths over the previous two and a half months.

Deaths typically take two weeks to report.

As of Sunday, Santa Monica, which has a population of around 93,000, had reported a total of 18,105 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 241 virus-related deaths, according to the County data.

The rise in local cases, accompanied by a decrease in the number of deaths, reflects a countywide trend that saw the average number of daily new cases reported over the last week increase to 2,532 from 905 reported cases one month ago.

Over the past month, the average number of hospitalized cases per day has remained steady at 245, while deaths have decreased to an average of 4 per day, down from an average of 14, according to County data.

To date, a total of 2,897,513 positive cases of COVID-19 and 32,000 virus-related deaths have been reported in the County of more than 10 million, officials said.

As of last Thursday, LA County had a vaccination rate of 79.2 percent, compared to 92.2 percent for Santa Monica.

While vaccination rates are higher in predominantly White communities, such as Santa Monica, areas with large Black and Hispanic populations have a far higher incidence of deaths and hospitalizations irregardless of vaccination status, County officials said.

"Fully vaccinated residents in the wealthiest communities were more than two times less likely to be hospitalized than those vaccinated and living in communities with high rates of poverty," officials said.

"In fact, those vaccinated living in communities with significant poverty were almost as likely to be hospitalized as those unvaccinated living in the wealthiest communities."

During the four surges that have taken place since the coronavirus began spreading in March 2020, case rates generally have been between two and four times higher in Black and Hispanic communities.

During the latest Omicron surge, Black and Hispanic residents have seen hospitalization rates three to four times higher than those among White and Asian residents, health officials said.

And during this last deadly winter surge, Black and Hispanic residents saw death rates that were two to three times higher than those of White and Asian residents, health official said.

"These huge differences in case, hospitalization, and death reflect in part exposures, community conditions, and health status," County officials said. "Where people live and work really matters."

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