Health department employee tests positive for COVID-19; city reports 14 new cases

Long Beach now has 153 positive cases of COVID-19—among them an employee of the city’s health department who has been on the front lines of the health crisis, officials said Thursday.

The employee is in stable condition in self-isolation, according to the city.

The city’s total number of positive cases increased from 139 cases reported on Wednesday, including two deaths. An estimated 38 people have recovered from the illness, but that number is self-reported, city officials said.

Officials also corrected the number of Long Beach firefighters who tested positive for the virus, saying that 16 firefighters—not 18, as reported earlier—have tested positive for the virus. Five of the firefighters are Long Beach residents and are counted in the city’s total number of cases.

The health department is still investigating the two cases of COVID-19 in two separate Long Beach long-term care facilities that were reported yesterday.

Other announcements:

  • Officials said a fourth temporary homeless shelter will open at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, located at 1950 Lemon Ave. Officials said more details will be provided later today.
  • The city has updated its intake procedures for the temporary shelters at King Park and Silverado Park. Individuals must first visit the Multi-Service Center, located at 1301 W. 12th St., to complete the shelter assessment and mandatory health screening. After the health screening is completed, individuals will be shuttled to a shelter location.
  • Metro has also opened the Metro A Line Willow Station parking garage, located at 200 E. 27th St., to the list of alternative parking spots for residents in areas with limited parking.
  • The Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners today approved enforcement of the city’s March 28 health order to, as a last resort, shut off water service to non-essential businesses operating in violation of the health order.

Los Angeles county officials on Thursday reported 534 new cases and 13 deaths. Dr. Barbara Ferrer,  the county’s director of public health, pointed out that this means the county has had over 1,000  new cases in the last 48 hours.

Countywide, a total of 4,045 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 78 people have died. About 22% of the people who tested positive have been hospitalized during their illness and two-thirds of those hospitalized had no underlying health conditions, she said.

“People who get infected with COVID-19, at any age, can have very serious illness,” Ferrer said.

She urged residents to continue social distancing and clarified Centers for Disease Control guidelines that if you are out doing essential errands and are not able to remain 6 feet apart, then you should wear a homemade mask—not a N-95 medical mask—to help slow the spread of coronavirus.


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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. 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.