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Local COVID Cases Drop Again

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By Jorge Casuso

September 6, 2022 -- Coranavirus cases in Santa Monica continued dropping last week as Los Angeles County moved into the "low community level" of transmission.

The 104 local cases reported -- down from 132 confirmed cases the previous week -- reflect a countywide trend that is placing "minimal stress on the hospital system," County Health officials said Friday.

Last week's count brings the total number of confirmed cases in Santa Monica to 23,632 as of Sunday, according to data from Los Angeles County Health.

Two residents died with the virus, bringing the number of virus-related deaths -- which typically take about two weeks to report -- to 13 over the past six weeks and a total of 262.

Health officials remain cautious amid the 18 percent drop in cases across the county of more tha 10 million last week, saying the transmission rate fueled by the highly contagious, though milder, BA.5 subvariant of Omicron "is still high."

"Residents are therefore asked to continue following sensible safety measures including indoor masking and staying home and away from others if sick to help reduce the rate of transmission," Health officials said Friday.

While outbreaks and clusters of cases are dropping, officials are closely monitoring schools in the County as the academic year kicks off and students are routinely tested for the virus, which often shows no symptoms.

There have been a total of 624 clusters reported at schools since August 7 that involved more than 3,500 individuals, of which 3,355 were students.

Since schools reopened, 27 outbreaks have been documented in elementary schools, Health officials said. Eight outbreaks are associated with Youth Sports programs, and five outbreaks have been documented in middle schools.

There has been only one outbreak associated with a high school, officials said.

County Health officials did not indicate if any of the cases have resulted in hospitalization.

Officials are encouraging residents and workers to take the new Pfizer and Moderna boosters that target the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron and were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and endorsed by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) last week.

More than 900 sites across the county were scheduled to begin administering the first of an anticipated 170,000 doses on Tuesday, according to health officials.

Some infectious disease experts have criticized the rapid roll-out of the mRNA boosters, which were granted emergency approval without being tested on humans.

As of Monday, LA County had confirmed a total of 3,418,798 cases and reported 33,209 virus related deaths. Of the 16 deaths reported Monday, 14 had underlying health conditions.

There are 788 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, down from 841 last Tuesday.

According to County Health officials, nearly half of those hospitalized with the virus were admitted for unrelated conditions and learned they were infected after they were tested.

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