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Weekly Coronavirus Cases Drop in Santa Monica Amid Testing Backlog

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica

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By Jorge Casuso

August 10, 2020 -- Last week, Santa Monica recorded its lowest number of weekly coronavirus cases since June, although the numbers may have been deflated due to a backlog of testing reports, Los Angeles County health officials said.

There were 39 cases of the virus confirmed in Santa Monica last week, bringing the total number of reported cases to 688 since the first case was confirmed in the city on March 16.

There was one new death reported last week, bringing to 38 the total number of residents who have died in the city of some 93,000.

The 39 weekly cases reported on Sunday came after the city's weekly tally hovered in the high forties following a record 65 cases in the week ending July 12.

The total number of cases released by the County do not include as many as 300,000 untested coronavirus test kits across the State that are still awaiting processing.

Some, however, may be duplicates and others may not be coronavirus cases, State health officials said.

"The backlog of lab reports for L.A County from the State electronic laboratory system should be sent shortly," health officials said on Monday.

"Data sources that track other key indicators, including hospitalizations and deaths, were not affected by this reporting issue," officials said.

As of 8 p.m. Sunday, there were 210,424 positive cases and 4,996 deaths in the the county of more than 10 million.

Deaths across LA County have remained stable at an average of 37 new deaths per day over the past two weeks, health officials said.

The total number of hospitalizations countywide also continued to drop, with 1,514 confirmed cases hospitalized as of 8 p.m. Sunday. Of those, 31 percent are in the ICU.

That was down from 2,232 hospitalized cases countywide three weeks ago, according to the data from County Public Health.

"This is significant progress in the number of confirmed cases currently hospitalized daily," health officials said.

The backlog in testing results also could be affecting the rate of those testing positive, which is currently down to 7.3 percent, heath officials said.

"This rate may be adjusted depending on how the state reporting issues will affect this metric," officials said.

Testing results are available for more than 1,952,000 individuals with 10 percent of all people testing positive.

The County's contact tracing program has improved after Public Health began offering $20 gift cards to those who respond to interview requests after testing positive, officials said.

Before the gift cards were offered, only 38 percent of those contacted during the case investigation interview "were willing to share information about close contacts," officials said.

"In the first three days of the pilot incentive program, this number increased to 62 percent of people providing contacts."

Public Health has distributed nearly 5,000 gift cards.

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