This was Long Beach’s worst week for new COVID-19 cases

Long Beach confirmed 184 new COVID-19 cases over the past seven days, the worst week of newly detected infections since local health officials found their first patient sick with the coronavirus about two months ago.

Until this week, the highest number of cases confirmed during a Monday-to-Sunday span was only 124. City officials have said they expected to see an increase in confirmed cases as they’ve expanded who could get tested and opened several new screening sites this week.

But another key indicator of the pandemic, coronavirus hospitalizations, also hit its highest point reported by the city, with 58 on Thursday.

Those two benchmarks come even after local officials have said COVID-19’s spread appeared to be slowing locally and talk has turned to reopening some parts of the economy in the coming weeks.

Week (Mon. – Sun.) New COVID-19 cases 
March 9 to March 15 5
March 16 to March 22 10
March 23 to March 29 84
March 30 to April 5 114
April 6 to April 12 124
April 13 to April 19 124
April 20 to April 26 119
April 27 to May 3 184

Data provided by the city of Long Beach

“I think that there is good news on the horizon and on the way very soon.” Mayor Robert Garcia said during a town hall hosted by the Long Beach Post.

But the mayor warned against abandoning precautions too quickly, saying the city is still in the middle of a crisis.

“There is a plateau, but if you look at hospitalizations, for example, our hospitalizations today and yesterday were higher than they were a week ago, and were higher a week ago than they were two weeks ago,” Garcia said.

Since Thursday and Friday, the number of hospitalizations has dipped to 41, which is more in line with recent weeks when that number has stayed between about 40 and 50.

The state of California has also seen a plateauing of hospitalizations but not a sustained decline, something Gov. Gavin Newsom has repeatedly pointed to as a critical guide for how and when to reopen portions of the economy.

What Long Beach does next will be heavily dependent on the state’s decisions about relaxing its stay-at-home orders.

Long Beach has the ability to implement more restrictive measures than the state but can’t unilaterally ease restrictions beyond what California has allowed.

And Garcia has echoed Newsom’s predictions on the topic, saying that, “We’re weeks not months away from meaningful changes to the stay-at-home order.”

Los Angeles County, including Long Beach, has been harder hit by the coronavirus than other parts of the state.

As of May 1, California averaged 132 infections per 100,000 residents. Long Beach had 152, while LA County and LA City were at 241 and 290 respectively.

On Sunday, Long Beach announced 15 newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus but no new deaths, keeping the total number of fatalities for the city at 37.

LA County as a whole announced 21 new fatalities and 781 new cases, bringing the total death toll to 1,229 and cumulative number of known infections to over 25,000. Across the state, more than 2,200 people have died.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children.
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