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COVID Cases, Hospitalizations on the Rise

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By Jorge Casuso

August 17, 2023 -- Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are rising in LA County -- and in Santa Monica -- although they remain at near-record lows, Public Health data released on Thursday show.

In Santa Monica as of Wednesday, 91 COVID cases have been confirmed over the past two weeks, up from 60 the previous two weeks, while no virus related deaths have been reported over the past two months.

That brings the total number of confirmed COVID cases to 26,836 since the first cases were reported in March 2020.

A total of 306 local residents have died with the virus in the city of some 93,000, according to the data.

The number of confirmed cases represents an undercount since home test results are not reported, health officials said.

Meanwhile, the daily average number of cases in LA County -- which has a population of more than 10 million -- has risen from 206 on July 26 to 384 on Wednesday, while the daily average virus-related deaths have dropped from 2.6 to 1.

During the same period, the average number of COVID-positive hospitalizations has increased along with the rise in cases -- from 228 to 330.

"Individuals who are older, those with weakened immune systems, and those with chronic health conditions continue to experience higher rates of hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19," health officials said.

"Older adults continue to be hospitalized at significantly higher rates than any other age group in Los Angeles County."

During the 30-day period ending August 5, those 80 years of age and older were more than five times as likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people ages 50 to 79, Public Health data show.

And those ages 50 to 79 were four times as likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 than people 30 to 49 years old during the same 30-day period.

"Some of the people at highest risk of complications from COVID-19 live in skilled nursing facilities, where there has been an increase in COVID-19 outbreaks in recent weeks," Health officials said.

During the 30-day period ending August 16, County health opened 59 new outbreak investigations at skilled nursing facilities, up from 34 investigations during the previous 30 days.

Those who are most vulnerable, should "take precautions to reduce potential exposures, identify COVID infections early, and consult with a health care provider when infected," health officials said.

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