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COVID-Related Deaths Spike in Santa Monica


Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

January 22, 2024 -- Seven Santa Monica residents have died with COVID since December 28 and ten local facilities have reported outbreaks of the virus, according to data released Thursday by LA County Public Health.

The seven deaths -- which are typically reported one month after taking place -- come after four deaths were reported in the city over the previous four months. The latest figures bring to 316 the total number of local residents who had the virus when they died.

The latest County data also show there have been outbreaks of the coronavirus at six healthcare facilities, which include hospitals and skilled nursing homes.

Outbreaks also have taken place at three community care facilities, which include assisted living, other long-term care and group home facilities, and at Samoshel, the city's homeless shelter.

The data does not indicate whether those who died at the facilities were Santa Monica residents included in the death count for the city.

The increase in deaths and outbreaks comes as the daily average laboratory confirmed cases in LA County fell from 483 to 462 over the previous week.

That number, however, represents a significant undercount since it does not include home test results, Health officials said.

A more accurate indicator of COVID transmission levels is the rise in wastewater concentrations of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, officials said.

Those concentrations were up last week "at 66 percent of last year’s winter peak," an increase from 60 percent reported the previous week, "and significantly higher than the 36 percent reported on December 27," Health officials said.

Last week, the average number of daily COVID-related deaths reported by the County increased from 3.7 to 5.6. The deaths accounting for the increase would have taken place the week ending Christmas Day, officials said.

Meanwhile, the daily average number of COVID-positive patients hospitalized last week dropped to 768, from 830 the previous week.

"The new COVID-19 Hospital Admission Level for Los Angeles is hovering just below 10, with rates of 9.8 and 9.6 per 100,000 for the past two weeks," Health officials said.

That puts the County of 10.3 million back in the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) Low COVID-19 Community Level of 10 per 100,000, officials said.

Despite the drop, LA County "will maintain required masking by staff and visitors" at licensed healthcare facilities.

"Public Health will reassess the requirement in two weeks to allow for additional time to confirm a sustained decline in the new COVID-19 Hospital Admission Level to Low," officials said.

The delay also will "decrease the chance of needing to quickly reinstate the masking requirement in these facilities" that was ordered on December 27.

In Santa Monica, as of Thursday, a total of 27,997 laboratory confirmed cases of COVID have been reported since the first local case was confirmed on March 16, 2020, according to County data.

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