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300th COVID-Related Death Reported in Santa Monica
By Jorge Casuso
April 28, 2023 -- Data posted on LA County's Public Health Surveillance dashboard Thursday indicate that the 300th COVID-related death in Santa Monica was reported during the past two weeks.
The grim milestone -- which would have normally made headlines -- has gone unnoticed, and the City's COVID dashboard that displayed the local death toll has been taken down.
To find the information requires following multiple tabs on the LA County Health page, adjusting search parameters and clicking on a map.
Adjusting the parameters, shows that the number of coronavirus cases confirmed in the City stands at 26,366, up from 26,254 one month ago.
The interest in keeping tabs has waned along with the virus as Health officials reported Thursday that Los Angeles County remains in the CDC’s Low COVID-19 Community Level for the 15th consecutive week.
"Public Health has confirmed three reported cases of the new strain," the release issued on Thursday reported.
"However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that XBB.1.16 currently accounts for 8 percent of COVID-19 cases in California and 10 percent nationally."
Health officials asked residents to be aware of the symptoms, which include conjunctivitis, more commonly known as “pink eye,” and to take the same precautions as with other strains "to help avoid infection."
"Conjunctivitis can be painful and itchy, highly contagious and, if left untreated, can cause damage to the cornea," health officials said. "Historically, conjunctivitis was reported in 1-3 percent of COVID-19 cases."
Health officials, however, note that "pink eye" could also be the result of pollen or seasonal allergies.
"Given limited data, it is too early to know with certainty if XBB.1.16 is truly associated with higher rates of conjunctivitis, amid an already active allergy season in Southern California," they said.
According to County data, the weekly reported COVID case count decreased from 3,114 last week to 2,659, while the 7-day average number of patients hospitalized with the virus dropped from 328 to 275.
Meanwhile. the number of COVID-related deaths reported weekly in the county of more than 10 million increased from 44 last week to 54.
Despite the decrease in confirmed cases and hospitalization, health officials remain vigilant.
They note that a "small increase in wastewater concentrations of SARS-COV-2 this week, may reflect the beginning of more spread associated with a new strain of Omicron."
To date there have been 3,736,268 confirmed COVID cases and 36,199 virus-related deaths reported since the first coronavirus case in LA County was confirmed in late January 2020.
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