Over the last three weeks alone, officials have reported 179 deaths, more than 34% of the city’s total.
Before December, the city averaged less than 10 deaths per week, with the highest number of deaths—22—reported the week of May 18.
The December surge is a “different reality” from July surge and the region could still see hospitalizations from infections over the holiday season.
Now at 578 patients as of Monday, Long Beach-area hospitalizations have more than quadrupled since Nov. 30, with the most drastic increases occurring in mid-December—about two weeks after Thanksgiving.
Beginning Saturday, Long Beach Airport will also begin operation of its own general drive-through COVID-19 testing site available for all other passengers traveling through the facility.
Health officials are still anticipating a fresh surge of cases, hospitalizations and, ultimately, deaths in the coming days and weeks following Christmas and New Year gatherings.
Los Angeles County health officials announced late Sunday that they would halt the use of the Curative coronavirus test at county-supported testing sites this week, a move Long Beach officials made nearly six months ago.
At least two Long Beach-area hospitals recently took the grim step of convening teams of medical professionals who would decide which patients are given potentially lifesaving care and which are denied it if the current wave of COVID-19 cases pushes local health care providers to that point.
Thursday was the first time the city announced a police employee was hospitalized for COVID-19.
The first patient was transferred from College Medical Center on Tuesday afternoon. Additional patients are expected to arrive in the coming days and weeks, though agreements with some facilities still need to be ironed out, officials said.