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Local Coronavirus Cases Rise After Steady Drop

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By Jorge Casuso

September 13, 2022 -- Coronavirus cases in Santa Monica rose slightly last week after steadily dropping for the past two months, according to Public Health data released this week.

The 125 new cases confirmed in the city last week -- up from 104 -- marked the first weekly increase since 464 cases were reported in mid-July and brings the total number of cases to 23,757.

There was one new COVID-related death reported last week in the city of some 93,000, bringing the total number of local residents who have died with the virus to 265. Deaths typically take about two weeks to report.

The slight rise in cases comes as the milder version of the virus continues retreat in the County of more than 10 million, according to data from LA Public Health.

Over the past week, the average daily case count dropped by 26 percent -- from 2,280 daily cases to 1,685, according to an analysis of County data.

Meanwhile, the weekly number of virus-related deaths dropped slightly from 89 to 84.

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has also continued to drop, with 735 patients hospitalized on Tuesday, down from 786 a week earlier.

The steady drop comes as the County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to definitively end tenant protections on December 31, when renters will no longer be protected from eviction if they can't pay rent due to economic hardship related to COVID-19.

Although the deadline had been set in January, County officials have continually extended the protections. Santa Monica Supervisor Sheila Kuehl cast one of the two dissenting votes, arguing that it was too early to commit to a defined end date.

Also on Tuesday, City officials reminded rent control tenants they have until 6 p.m. Monday to apply for the Santa Monica's “Rent Control Adjustment Relief” (RCAR) program that will distribute $750,000 to low-income tenants unable to pay their upcoming rent increases.

The program will give priority to "very-low- and extremely-low-income households" paying more than half of their income in rent ("Relief Program for Rent Control Tenants Kicks Off Monday," August 23, 2022).

The program focuses on tenants who have received a Notice of Rent Increase implementing the 6 percent Rent Control General Adjustment that takes effect September 1.

Voters are expected to approve a measure on the November 8 ballot that would lower the adjustment from 6 to 3 percent ("Council Unanimously Backs SMRR's Proposal to Cut Rent Increases," August 3, 2022).

To date, there have been a total of 3,431,991 confirmed coronavirus cases Countywide and 33,398 virus-related deaths.

The more contagious -- but milder and far less fatal BA.5 subvariant of Omicron -- continues to be the predominant subvariant in LA County, accounting 95 percent of all sequenced specimens for the week ending August 20.

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