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Santa Monica Shatters Weekly Record for COVID-19Cases, Deaths

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica

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By Jorge Casuso

December 8, 2020 -- In the midst of the latest coronavirus crackdown, Santa Monica reported a record 197 confirmed cases and five deaths last week, according to Los Angeles County Health data.

The record spikes come as Los Angeles County went into a lockdown at midnight Sunday after Southern California reported 12.5 percent of its ICU beds were available.

As of Sunday at 8 p.m., Santa Monica had a total of 1,694 confirmed cases and 50 deaths, according to the County Health Department.

Of the total cases, 575 -- or 34 percent -- were reported over the past month in the city of 93,000, according to an analysis by the Lookout.

Seven residents have died with the coronavirus over the past two weeks, marking the first coronavirus-related deaths since the week ending August 30.

The new Regional Stay Home Order -- which will last at least three weeks -- prohibits private gatherings of any size, closes non-essential businesses and requires 100 percent masking and physical distancing, health officials said.

Retail stores and shopping centers are limited to 20 percent capacity, while restaurants can only offer take out. Offices and hotels are only open to "critical infrastructure support."

“As we see the distressing surge in cases, we know that we can expect in the upcoming weeks alarming increases in hospitalizations and deaths," said County Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

"The new Stay at Home Order gives us an opportunity to place a pause on all non-essential activities that increase the risk of transmitting the virus so that we are able to get the surge under control."

On Monday, 3,113 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized, with 24 percent in the ICU, or 774 patients.

There are approximately 17,000 licensed non-ICU beds and 2,500 licensed ICU beds in the County's 70 designated 9-1-1 receiving hospitals, based on hospitals' daily self-report.

Between March 1 and November 28, about 73 percent of those hospitalized were Hispanic, 6 percent were Black, 3 percent Asian and 2 percent White, according to County Health Department data.

Nearly all the patients hospitalized during that period -- regardless of age or race -- were released within 5 days of being admitted.

The current surge in hospitalizations comes two years after County health officials expressed alarm over the prospect of hospitals being overwhelmed.

In January 2018, during the worst flu epidemic in a decade, news headlines echoed a similar sense of alarm.

"California hospitals face a ‘war zone’ of flu patients -- and are setting up tents to treat them," read a headline in the January 16 edition of the LA Times.

According to an article that ran two days later in TIME Magazine, several California hospitals "have set up large 'surge tents' outside their emergency departments to accommodate and treat flu patients.

"Even then, the LA Times reported this week, emergency departments had standing-room only, and some patients had to be treated in hallways."

As of Monday, testing results were available for nearly 3,955,000 individuals, with 466,321 -- or about 11 percent -- testing positive for COVID-19.

Of the 8,000 County residents who have died with the virus, 93 percent had underlying health conditions.

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