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KCBX News Update: Four more COVID deaths in SLO County, and judge rules that Kristin Smart case trial will continue

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Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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SLO County exceeds 9,000 reported cases this month, reports four more deaths 

The pandemic has reached new heights in San Luis Obispo County.

As of today’s numbers from Public Health, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county this month stands at 9,060. That breaks the previous record of 7,437 reported in all of January 2021.

2,710 more cases have been confirmed since Tuesday.

Another all-time high is the county’s 14-day daily average of cases, at 517.

Public Health is also reporting 63 active outbreaks at congregate care, skilled nursing and corrections facilities.

Since the last report, four more people have died from COVID-19 in the county, ranging in age from their 50s to 70s and bringing the total official death toll to 384.

But the county also said that more deaths will likely be reported in the next few weeks, as doctors and coroner staff are working through more than a dozen pending death records.

Those deaths will show up on the county’s online dashboard once they are reviewed and certified.

Judge denies attempt to dismiss trial in Kristin Smart case 

A San Luis Obispo Superior Court judge today denied a motion to dismiss the upcoming trial in the Kristin Smart case.

The defendants are Paul Flores, charged with murdering Cal Poly student Kristin Smart in 1996, and his father Ruben, who is charged with accessory.

The defense team for the Flores men argued that a September decision to move the trial forward after a preliminary hearing relied on insufficient evidence and speculation.

Judge Jacquelyn Duffy on Friday ruled against that, and the case is still scheduled to start in April of this year.

Paul Flores is being held at the SLO County Jail while Ruben is out on bail.

Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.