The spread of coronavirus appears to be slowing in Santa Monica as the number of cases in Los Angeles County continues to climb rapidly.

Public health officials confirmed three new cases on Saturday and another three on Sunday, bringing the city’s total to 68. Cases in Santa Monica were only up about 45% over the last seven days after rising 194% the week before.

Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health, announced Saturday and Sunday 1,374 new cases for a total of 5,940 cases across L.A. County, an increase of 140% over the last week. More than 1,200 people have been hospitalized at some point, representing about 21% of positive cases.

The death toll has tripled over the same time period to 132, with 43 deaths announced since Friday. Three-quarters of individuals who died were older than 65, and 85% of deaths have been among people with underlying health conditions, Ferrer said.

More than 31,000 people have been tested and 14% have tested positive as of Sunday, an increase of about 5,000 tests since Friday, she said.

County officials said in a statement Sunday that because emerging evidence suggests that some people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic and can spread the virus to others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that the general public wear non-medical face coverings while obtaining essential supplies and services.

“N95 and surgical masks should only be used by healthcare workers, first responders, and those essential workers providing care for people who are ill,” the statement said.

madeleine@smdp.com

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