Santa Monica has required people to wear masks inside businesses and encourages them to cover their faces whenever they leave their homes. (Matthew Hall)

Four new coronavirus cases were reported in Santa Monica Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases in the city to 96.

Coronavirus cases have increased 18% in Santa Monica over the last week after rising 45% the prior week, according to data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. About 10 in 10,000 residents have the virus. In the first two weeks of the outbreak, cases rose exponentially as the city closed tourist attractions, nonessential businesses, public buildings and schools, beaches and playgrounds.

On Monday, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced the smallest number of cases in a single day, including no new cases in Santa Monica.

But she warned the dip might be insignificant because testing capacity decreases over the weekend, and sure enough, L.A. County recorded 670 new cases Tuesday, bringing the total to 10,047 cases. More than 63,000 people have been tested and 11% have tested positive, Ferrer said.

“While we are effectively working together to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we must keep at it to avoid a surge in cases and deaths that could overwhelm our county – we do not want to lose ground,” Ferrer said in a statement. “That means we must keep doing what we’re doing for now – staying home, physical distancing and using cloth face coverings – while we implement strategies to support our recovery.”

Ferrer reported 40 deaths Tuesday, the highest number in a single day. L.A. County’s death toll stands at 360 and its mortality rate increased slightly to 3.6%.

Twenty-five people who died were older than 65 and nine were between 41 and 65. Twenty-two people had underlying health conditions. Eight people older than 65 and four people between 41 and 65 had no conditions.

Eighty-five percent of people who died had underlying health conditions. Of those who died, information about race and ethnicity is available for 292 people. Thirty-four percent of deaths occurred among Latinx residents, 32% among white residents, 17% among Asian residents, 16% among African American residents and 2% among residents identifying with other races.

L.A. County’s stay at home order is in place until May 15. Beaches, trails and and non-essential businesses remain closed, and all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit remain prohibited.

Since Friday, people in Santa Monica have been required to wear face coverings while visiting or working at essential businesses.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved Tuesday a $12 million relief fund for small businesses impacted by coronavirus, which will also be supported by $15 million from Goldman Sachs and $1 million from Wells Fargo.

The county is already offering small businesses up to $10,000 in grants from a $500,000 fund, and recovery loans of up to $20,000.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that stay at home restrictions will not be lifted until California’s healthcare system is prepared for a potential increase in cases, testing is universally available and vulnerable populations are adequately protected.

People will need to continue wearing face coverings and physically distancing themselves from others in public. Businesses that reopen will need to separate customers and take additional health precautions, he said.

For example, restaurants will have to cut capacity, use disposable menus, outfit staff with gloves and masks and check customers’ temperatures before they enter, Newsom said.

The city of Santa Monica announced Tuesday that weekend farmers markets around the city will be condensed into a larger Saturday market in downtown Santa Monica. Customers are asked to limit their visits to 30 minutes, send one person per household, practice physical distancing and only let vendors handle produce.



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *