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Weekly Coronavirus Cases in Santa Monica Drop to Lowest Level Since May

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By Jorge Casuso

September 14, 2020 -- The number of weekly coronavirus cases in Santa Monica dropped to the lowest level in nearly four months, with 17 new cases reported last week, according to data from the Los Angeles County Health Department.

That marked the lowest tally in the city of 93,000 since the week of May 18, when eight cases were reported ("Coronavirus Cases in Santa Monica Dropped to Record Low Level Last Week," May 26, 2020).

The new confirmed cases bring the total number to 833, according to daily data provided by the Health Department.

The number of deaths was adjusted down from 43 reported last Sunday to 41 reported yesterday. The County website notes that the numbers are "subject to change based on further investigation."

Santa Monica's drop in new confirmed cases comes after three straight weeks of holding steady with between 30 and 40 cases, according to an analysis of the County data.

That reflects a trend in the County of more than 10 million, where the number of new cases has remained fairly steady at 1,000 or fewer per day, down from 2,883 on July 31.

Health officials attribute the drop to strict health measures ordered after COVID-19 cases spiked "in an alarming manner" when businesses started reopening on May 8.

"As people were exposed to more non-household members when out, whether at work, while shopping, while protesting, and/or while celebrating Memorial Day and Independence Day, the County saw cases, and as a result hospitalizations and deaths, increase and spike in an alarming manner in mid-July," health officials said in a press release Monday.

"After re-closing some businesses, and moving other business operations outdoors, the County's case numbers decreased significantly, and we are back to consistently slowing the spread," health officials said.

As of 8 p.m. Sunday, Public Health has identified 254,656 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 6,231 deaths.

On Sunday, there were 775 confirmed cases hospitalized, with 35 percent of those patients in the ICU.

"The decreasing number of daily hospitalizations is an important indicator because it is an accurate representation of how many people are currently seriously ill from the virus," health officials said.

"This pandemic is frustrating and heartbreaking –- and not the least of it is that we desperately want to go back to living our lives the way they were before," said County Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

"Unfortunately, as we have already experienced, doing so creates illness and devastation for many, including people who are very vulnerable," Ferrer said.

Of those in LA County who had COOVID-19 when they died, 92 percent had underlying health conditions, health officials said.

That's slightly lower than the 94 percent who have died with tthe virus nationwide, with each having an average of 2.3 pre-existing conditions.

Testing results are available for nearly 2.5 million persons in the County, with 10 percent testing positive, health officials said.

Santa Monica has continued enforcing its health order mandating the use of face coverings in public spaces, but handed out no citations during Memorial day week, City officials said.

During the previous seven days, code enforcement conducted 613 face covering checks and 166 "educations," said City spokesperson Constance Farrell. There were 51 face coverings distributed.

On the Santa Monica Pier, "monitors" interacted with nearly 1,000 people during the holiday weekend to inform them of the requirement, Farrell said.

They distributed some 700 complimentary masks provided by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), she said.

"We followed all LA County guidance, which included keeping the beach and beach lots open" during the weekend, Farrell said.

The City has no estimate of the size of the crowds that flocked to local beaches during the record-breaking weekend heat wave, Farrell said.

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