Confirmed coronavirus cases among Santa Monica residents rose 15% over the last week to 241, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

That’s roughly on par with the week before, which saw a 13% increase in cases. Cases in Santa Monica have nearly doubled over the last month from 124 on April 20, while cases in Los Angeles County as a whole nearly tripled during the same period.

Currently, 26 of every 10,000 Santa Monica residents have tested positive for coronavirus and 14 have died, according to a county data dashboard.

Twenty-three people living in local nursing homes have also died from COVID-19, although it is unknown how many permanently resided in Santa Monica and are therefore included in its official death toll. Across the county, 141 nursing homes have tested all their residents and staff and an additional 74 are scheduling tests, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday.

Santa Monica’s death rate adjusted for its population’s age distribution is 11 per 100,000 people — the second-highest among Westside cities. Culver City has an adjusted death rate of 22.5, Beverly Hill’s rate is 8, West Hollywood’s is 7 and Malibu’s is 4.5.

Although the rate of infection is slowing in both the city and the county and the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 has declined to 1,570, L.A. County does not yet meet the criteria Gov. Gavin Newsom set Monday for counties to reopen.

Counties will be able to move into phase two of reopening if they can demonstrate no more than 25 per 100,000 residents have tested positive for coronavirus, or if no more than 8% of residents tested in a single week were positive.

L.A. County is in phase two of its own recovery efforts, in which retailers can reopen for pickup and delivery and people may use beaches, trails and other public spaces for active recreation. Higher-risk businesses remain closed and people may not gather with people who do not live with them.

Ferrer said in a Monday news conference that more than 1 million residents left their homes last week to pick up from retailers and restaurants and visit outdoor spaces.

County inspectors visited 1,600 businesses last week and found 1,000 were not yet in compliance with public health orders, Ferrer said. She said while many beachgoers brought masks and distanced themselves from others, the county did receive reports that visitors to Zuma Beach in Malibu crowded together and did not wear masks.

She said as many as 4% of the 1 million people who left their homes last week could have contracted the virus if people around them did not wear masks or practice physical distancing. If each new case infects one other person, the county could see 80,000 new infections and 4,000 hospitalizations.

“As more people are out and about, it’s very easy to have a scenario with a lot more infections (that could) overwhelm our healthcare system,” she said. “But if we … keep our distance and wear face coverings, it will make a difference.”

To date, the L.A. County Department of Public Health has identified 38,451 positive cases of COVID-19 and 1,839 deaths across the county. Ninety-two percent of people who died had underlying health conditions.

More than 350,000 people have been tested, with 9% testing positive, Ferrer said Monday.

A total of 4,298 confirmed cases of COVID-19 occurred among healthcare workers and first responders, with 684 of those cases confirmed over the last week. 26 people who have died from COVID-19 worked in a healthcare setting.

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  1. This hopeful trend is not likely to last given the packed crowds in our city’s park(let)s including the Old Vic this weekend, and the nearby streets, with less than 50% of the people wearing masks or observing social distancing. Expect an infection spike in the coming weeks.

    What baffles me is that the City, who’s in dire financial straits, does not enforce the mask-wearing order, and does not fine the people who do not wear a mask. Not only would it be great public education, it would replenish its coffers. If such a measure is deemed too harsh, why not issue a warning first, then the second time issue a hefty fine?

    Not only are those senseless people endangering themselves, they’re endangering others in their whereabouts in the next couple of weeks, and they’re potentially endangering healthcare workers with a spike in infections. This will only set us back, and wipe off the weeks of efforts, and for some of us pain, we’ve been through in an effort to curb the pandemic.

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