The coronavirus has grown into a global pandemic with major economic and public health implications since emerging at the end of December last year.
The coronavirus has grown into a global pandemic with major economic and public health implications since emerging at the end of December last year.

Public health officials confirmed Wednesday that Santa Monica had two new cases of coronavirus, with a total of three cases citywide.

On Wednesday afternoon, L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced 46 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the countywide total to 190, although she said the unconfirmed total could be five or ten times higher. She urged county residents to assume that every community has several people who are positive for coronavirus and to remain at home as much as possible, especially seniors and those with chronic health conditions.

“We’ll see an increase in cases for four to 12 weeks, but that doesn’t mean our actions to dampen the number of new cases are not working,” Ferrer said. “We cannot stop the spread of COVID-19, so all of our strategies are aimed at slowing the spread … to maintain the capacity of our essential healthcare system. The only opportunity we have to flatten the curve is if everyone does all the social distancing we’re recommending.”

Ferrer said Tuesday that more than 1,100 people have been tested in L.A. County. She said during Wednesday’s press conference that she will be able to share details about increased testing capacity by the end of the week.

It is unknown if the employees who tested positive in three Santa Monica offices — Colorado Center, Water Garden and Universal Music’s offices on Colorado Avenue — are part of the county’s official tally in Santa Monica.

The Daily Press previously reported that City Manager Rick Cole had knowledge of individuals who were quarantined in Santa Monica hospitals or at home. Cole later said he misspoke and retracted the statement.

The list of communities with coronavirus cases officials released Wednesday also shows that Venice has four individuals who have tested positive.

The city of Santa Monica on Wednesday extended its temporary moratorium on evictions to businesses. Landlords will not be able to evict residents or businesses financially impacted by coronavirus through Apr. 30. The city also suspended water and sewer shutoffs, street sweeping and preferential parking.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education voted Monday to close schools through Apr. 20. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday night that school districts across the state, 98.8% of which are closed, are not likely to reopen before summer break, but SMMUSD officials maintained that schools would be closed for five weeks, including a two-week spring break, pending official guidance from the state.

Newsom and L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis announced plans to expand homeless shelter capacity during the pandemic, including a county directive for 15 winter shelters to remain open through April. Locally, Santa Monica is expanding access to washing and restroom facilities for people experiencing homelessness, especially in high-traffic areas and parks.

madeleine@smdp.com

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