The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services today announced two new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 947 since the onset of the pandemic. The deaths are the first related to the virus reported by the city since June 16.

The seven-day positivity rate and daily cases per 100,000 residents—metrics that were used by the state to determine local restrictions before doing away with the system last month—continue to climb from their recent lows. The positivity rate has increased from 0.6% in early June to 2.6% as of July 8, while the daily cases per 100,000 residents has jumped from one to nearly 4.5.

The number of patients hospitalized in Long Beach-area facilities has been elevated for the past week, reaching levels not seen since late April. But hospitalizations remain far below the winter peak of nearly 600 patients, when hospitals were close to capacity. Only 33 people are hospitalized in the Long Beach area due to COVID-19.

The emergence of the more contagious delta variant in LA County has health officials urging the public to continue wearing masks indoors and to physically distance amid the economic reopening that began on June 15. As of July 1, the city had discovered 14 delta variant cases but noted that the number is likely higher.

The deaths come the same day the city touted that 70% of Long Beach adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, four days after the Fourth of July goal set by President Joe Biden and supported by Mayor Robert Garcia.

70% of Long Beach residents 18 and older are vaccinated against COVID-19

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.