COVID-19 case rate is declining in Long Beach as officials continue to ask for caution

Long Beach health officials on Monday reported largely positive indicators that the spread of COVID-19 is slowing in the city.

They announced the city’s COVID-19 positivity rate is at 8.6%— a big improvement from the 14% it was at several weeks ago, but still shy of the 8% mark the state requires before being able to reopen.

“We have some good news in that data, but we want to stay vigilant,” Mayor Robert Garcia said at a Thursday press conference.

The city reported 9,425 cases on Thursday, an increase of 142 cases from the day before. They also reported one more death from a nursing home, bringing the city’s total deaths to 188.

Countywide, officials reported nearly 2,000 new cases, some of which were from the state backlog. They also reported 64 new deaths.

Garcia noted that hospitalizations are going down over time: the 28-day average hospitalizations was 82.9 while the 14-day average number was 77.9. Hospital bed usage in the area is also now at 55%, down from 60%. Garcia did note that ventilator usage is higher at 45%, and health officials are seeing an uptick in people in intensive care units.

As of Thursday, officials reported that 78 Long Beach residents were hospitalized.

City health director Kelly Colopy reiterated the need to wear masks, physically distance and avoid gathering with people outside your household, noting that they are finding many cases are from friend and family gatherings— even ones held in backyards.

“These are coming from gatherings, far less are coming from businesses,” Colopy said.

Officials stressed the need to follow health protocols, saying they are needed to be able to reopen schools safely.

Because the county is still on the state monitoring list, Long Beach schools won’t reopen until the county can stay off the state monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. However, health officials are working on protocols now to prepare for their eventual reopening, Colopy said.

The protocols will require schools to have their own COVID-19 management plan and a cohorting plan that would keep one teacher with a certain number of students together to mitigate spread. They will also require a COVID-19 testing plan and physical distancing measures in place.

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Valerie Osier is the Social Media & Newsletter Manager for the Long Beach Post. She started at the Post in 2018 as a breaking news reporter. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from the Cal State Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband and two cats.