Forty-seven Santa Monica residents have tested positive for coronavirus, public health officials said Monday.
The number of confirmed cases in Santa Monica has nearly quadrupled from 12 to 41 over the last seven days, with 19 cases confirmed between Saturday and Monday. The number of cases in L.A. County ballooned over the same period from 536 to 2,474, with about 492 people who have at some point been hospitalized.
Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, announced Monday 342 new cases and seven deaths, bringing the death toll to 44.
Five of the individuals who died were older than 65 with underlying health conditions and one was between 41 and 65 with an underlying condition, she said. The remaining person who died was older than 65 without an underlying condition.
The mortality rate of coronavirus in L.A. County is 1.8% and 86% of people who died after contracting the virus had underlying conditions, Ferrer said at a press conference Monday.
Eighty percent of people who have tested positive are between 18 and 65 and 492 have at some point been hospitalized, Ferrer said. Of the 492 people hospitalized Monday, 26% are in the ICU.
Ferrer said more than 15,500 people have been tested as of Sunday, about 12% of whom have been diagnosed with coronavirus.
But she said because testing capacity in the county is still limited and tests can take a long time to process, the true number of people infected in L.A. County is likely to be significantly higher. She said county modeling indicates a peak in cases and deaths at the end of April and state modeling predicts a peak in California in late May.
“The greatest service everyone can provide at this point is to stay home,” Ferrer said. “We need to be prepared for this to go on for a while to come.”
The county is investigating 130 COVID-19 cases in 25 institutional settings, 18 of which are nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities. Six residents of nursing homes have died, Ferrer said.
At Twin Towers Correctional Facility, a county jail in downtown Los Angeles, three inmates have tested positive. About five people working in the county jail system have also been diagnosed.
Ferrer said two cases have been confirmed in the homeless population and one person working in a homeless shelter has tested positive.
Officials said Monday the county is setting up 2,000 quarantine and isolation beds for people experiencing homelessess and is trying to bring 3,000 more beds online at three hotels in the next two weeks. Roughly 60,000 people in L.A. County are experiencing homelessness.
Christina Ghaly, director of the L.A. County Department of Health Services, said 1,573 hospital beds are open throughout the county, including 214 ICU beds. Hospitals are adding bed capacity to prepare for a surge of patients and the USNS Mercy naval hospital ship docked Friday, adding 1,000 beds for non-coronavirus patients.
Additionally, the Los Angeles Convention Center will be converted into a field hospital for coronavirus patients who need to be quarantined but don’t require acute care, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Sunday.
Ghaly said there are 865 available ventilators and a backup supply of 170 additional ventilators in the county. Additional ventilators are on order.
The county received a large shipment of personal protective equipment Friday and is distributing it to hospitals, clinicians and first responders, Ghaly said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that all workers in the health care and public health fields — including retirees, students and members of disaster response teams — are encouraged to join the new California Health Corps.
Newsom also signed an executive order that will allow health care facilities to add the 50,000 beds the state needs to treat COVID-19 patients. Throughout California, 6,500 people have tested positive for coronavirus and 135 have died.
To slow the spread of coronavirus locally, Santa Monica public schools will close indefinitely and county beaches, beach bike paths and public trails will close through at least April 19, officials said last week.
City of Santa Monica parks are still open, but Palisades Park was closed last weekend to prevent crowding. The city’s public buildings, nonessential businesses, playgrounds, Santa Monica Pier and beach parking lots are closed through the end of April.
Cole on Monday announced last week fines for individuals and businesses violating the stay at home orders that range from $100 to $1,000. Santa Monica Police Department Chief Cynthia Renaud said she has directed officers to contact, inform, educate and encourage compliance with individuals before resorting to citations.