Los Angeles County health officials on Friday reported 3,058 new cases of COVID-19, the highest daily tally since February.
Long Beach recorded 105 cases and one new death at the end of a week that has seen steadily increasing indicators of the virus’ spread: The percentage of people who tested positive for the virus was 8.6% on Friday, up from a low of 0.4% on June 11. And the case rate per 100,000 residents is now 18.6, up from a low of 1 on June 6.
Both of those numbers are high enough to put Long Beach into the “purple” tier—meaning the virus is widespread—of the state’s former system for determining when and how certain businesses could reopen. In that tier, nearly every type of business had strict capacity limits in place and many were forbidden from operating indoors.
Long Beach officially moved out of the purple tier in March. On June 15, the state abandoned its color-coded system, lifting most restrictions and the mask mandate that had been in place for more than a year.
Due to rising case rates, Long Beach and Los Angeles County on July 17 reinstated a requirement for masks indoors, regardless of a person’s vaccination status.
Officials have blamed the rise in cases on looser restrictions, lack of vaccinations and the rise of the more contagious delta variant of the virus, which now accounts for the majority of new cases.
Even those who are vaccinated are becoming infected—roughly 20% of the current new caseload countywide—but the severity of illness is far less, officials say.
However, city and county officials have said that the vast majority of hospitalizations are among those not vaccinated.
County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Friday that if 5.3 million people weren’t fully vaccinated, “we would probably be seeing almost double the number of cases today.”
She added that officials are working to figure out what additional steps need to be taken to minimize residents’ exposure to the virus.
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