Long Beach on Thursday reported a slightly higher hospitalization rate for COVID-19—a measure officials say they are watching closely as beaches and businesses begin to reopen.
The city reported that 54 people are currently hospitalized for the virus. Thursday’s total inched up from Wednesday, when 49 people needed treatment in a hospital.
Mayor Robert Garcia said Wednesday that next week’s hospitalization data will be an especially critical measure of how reopenings have impacted the spread of the virus.
Long Beach officials reported 63 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the city’s total cases to 1,157. Another two people died of the virus for a total of 51 deaths—40 of which are associated with long-term care facilities.
The increases in positive cases this week—on Wednesday, officials reported 110 cases—were attributed to a backlog in receiving testing results from a lab run by Los Angeles County. Some of these results date as far back as April 1.
Because of the lag in test results, the hospitalization rate is a more stable indicator of the virus’ immediate threat.
Long Beach’s hospitalization rate has averaged between 40 and 60 people since it began tracking this information in early March. The highest number hospitalized on any given day was 58 people on April 30.
City officials also reported that an employee of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine department who worked for the Marine Bureau tested positive for the virus. The city is only releasing this information for employees who work in public-facing areas. The person’s most recent day at his or her work site was May 1.
The employee is recovering at home in self-isolation, city officials said. The person is not a resident of the city, and is not included in the city’s total.
Roughly 730 people have recovered from COVID-19, but that number is mostly self-reported.
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