As feared, hospitalizations are rising quickly due to COVID-19

After a surge in coronavirus cases over the past 10 days, health officials are beginning to see what they feared was coming: A sharp rise in hospitalizations.

In a statement late Saturday, Long Beach officials said the five hospitals that serve the city now have 116 people with COVID in their care, a 364% increase from Nov. 1.

Late Sunday, Mayor Robert Garcia tweeted that COVID hospitalizations rose sharply again just 24 hours later, with 141 people now in need of medical care. That represents a 386% increase from Nov. 1, he said.

Los Angeles County on Sunday reported 2,049 people are in the hospital, surpassing the 2,000 mark for the first time since the summer. A quarter of those are in intensive care units.

And Orange County reported its hospitalizations went from 534 on Saturday to 597 on Sunday.  The county has 25% of its intensive care unit beds and 63% of its ventilators available.

Barbara Ferrer, director of the county’s Department of Public Health said last week that the number of hospitalizations could rise to 2,200 in a matter of weeks, with very “real possibility” of facilities becoming overwhelmed.

The county on Sunday also reported another 5,014 new cases of coronavirus, continuing a rising trend of cases that is worrying health authorities, and has led to stricter health orders.

Case numbers for Los Angeles County as of Sunday, Nov. 29.

Strict new measures on gatherings and occupancy in retail establishments go into effect Monday, though it’s not yet clear whether Long Beach will follow suit.

Long Beach has not released new coronavirus numbers since Wednesday. But the city said in its statement Saturday night that it expects as many as 1,000 new cases to be reported on Monday and Tuesday, “an alarming number.”

City New Service contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with more information from the mayor on hospitalizations on Sunday.

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Melissa has been a journalist for over two decades, starting her career as a reporter covering health and religion and moving into local news. She has worked as an editor for eight years, including seven years at the Press Telegram before joining the Long Beach Post in June 2018. She also serves as a part-time lecturer at Cal State Long Beach where she teaches multimedia journalism and writing.
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