Twelve people living in Santa Monica have tested positive for coronavirus, public health officials said Monday.
Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, announced 128 new cases Monday and another two deaths, bringing the countywide case count to 536 and the death toll to seven. Five of the new cases were in Santa Monica.
Ferrer said 80% of people who have tested positive are between 18 and 65, and 42% are between 18 and 40. 90 people with the virus have been hospitalized.
“This virus can in fact infect people across the board and all people need to be vigilant and practice every directive that’s being issued at the state, county and local levels,” she said.
Santa Monica College said Thursday night that a student had tested positive for the virus and three employees at Bergamot area office parks tested positive last weekend. It is unknown if the SMC and Bergamot cases are Santa Monica residents and therefore count toward the city’s total.
Additionally, seven people in Venice and 27 people in Brentwood were diagnosed with the virus as of Monday.
Across the state, more than 2,200 people have tested positive for coronavirus and more than 40 have died as of Monday, although officials have said the number of people carrying the virus is likely much higher due to testing limitations.
On Saturday, L.A. County officials ordered all non-essential businesses to close and banned all gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19. The city of Santa Monica on Sunday closed beach parking lots because large groups of people were congregating along the coastline in violation of statewide orders to stay at home. On Monday, L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger announced hiking trails throughout the county had also been closed.
“It’s inappropriate for people to congregate at parks, beaches, piers or on the trails,” Ferrer said. “Social distancing isn’t a ‘sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.’ For this to be successful, we all need to practice social distancing all of the time.”
Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole said Monday the city had adopted state and county stay at home orders, which prohibit people from leaving their homes except to access essential services or perform essential work. The orders closed all businesses that are not grouped into 16 critical sectors.
The orders are enforceable by the Santa Monica Police Department and punishable with misdemeanor fines. Individuals will be fined $100 for a first violation, $250 for a second violation and $500 for subsequent violations. Businesses will be fined $500 for a first violation, $750 for a second violation and $1,000 for subsequent violations.
Individuals and businesses that do not comply with the city’s temporary moratorium on residential and commercial evictions and other emergency orders will also face fines.
“Take these orders seriously and stay at home. Get your exercise close to home. Be vigilant and protect yourself and others by only making essential trips,” Cole said in a statement. “This will flatten the curve of infection and save lives in our community.”
County and city of Los Angeles officials announced Monday they had procured an additional 20,000 testing kits, which will be prioritized for medical personnel and first responders, and can process 5,000 per day. 4,500 people with coronavirus symptoms have been tested so far and 10% have tested positive, Ferrer said.
L.A. City Councilmember David Ryu said officials are finalizing a deal with South Korean company Seegene to run 100,000 tests per week.
“We know nations that have gained the upper hand in this pandemic have prioritized testing,” Ryu said. “The U.S. has fallen behind other nations in response to this pandemic and we can’t wait on the federal government to fix it.”
L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez also called on Southern California manufacturers to convert their assembly lines to produce vital supplies, such as gloves and swabs for testing.
Newsom said Sunday that President Trump had agreed to send 2,000 mobile hospital beds to California for coronavirus patients and a navy hospital ship to Los Angeles that will serve patients with other medical needs to reduce stress on the medical system.
Locally, the UCLA Health system is increasing hospital surge capacity as Ronald Reagan Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, said Dr. Wally Ghurabi, medical director of emergency services at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica.
UCLA Health President Johnese Spisso said the hospitals were canceling elective surgeries, which has cut total surgeries by half.
Goldman Sachs Critical Healthcare Solutions has donated 25,000 surgical masks and 3,000 N95 masks to UCLA Health, Spisso said last week. On Sunday, UCLA Health announced Tesla CEO Elon Musk had also donated thousands of N95 masks.
With a critical shortage of blood in the Los Angeles region and nationwide as blood drives are canceled due to social distancing orders, UCLA Health and the Santa Monica chapter of the Red Cross are urging young and healthy people to donate blood.