Long Beach coronavirus cases pass 3,000 as county sees record high

The number of coronavirus cases in Long Beach passed the 3,000 mark on Monday as county health officials warned of a rise in community transmissions of the virus.

Overall, Long Beach reported 3,042 cases, up from 2,934 on Friday. The city also saw two more deaths, for a total of 120 deaths, of which 91 were connected to long-term care facilities.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County on Monday set another record for daily increases with 2,571 new cases.

Long Beach Health Officer Anissa Davis in an interview said health officials are monitoring the numbers, but other indicators, including hospitalizations and the rate of positive cases remain relatively stable.

The city’s average positive test rate—the rate of positive tests per number of people tested—is currently similar to county numbers at about 8.4%, Davis said. That number is down from around 10% at the beginning of June, but up from 6% in May, just before Memorial Day weekend, she said.

The city’s highest rate was 17% in the beginning of April.

Hospitalizations have increased slightly this month, but overall, the city has not seen a spike. As of Monday, 70 people were hospitalized for the virus.

Mayor Robert Garcia in a news conference said the city has moved cautiously, for example holding off on reopening certain businesses including nail salons, estheticians and massage services, while the state allowed for reopening last week. Those businesses are now slated to reopen here on Friday.

“The city of Long Beach has been the most cautious public agency in our reopening in the entire region,” he said. “Just having an additional week gives us the opportunity to look at additional data.”

Health officials have warned that the reopening of businesses and recreational amenities that began about a month ago—combined with mass protests against police brutality—would lead to more public interaction that could in turn cause more infections, and the numbers released over the past week have seen that scenario begin to play out.

Los Angeles County public health director Barbara Ferrer said the county’s new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday were the highest single-day total to date. She noted it was the third time in the past week that the daily number of new cases had surpassed the 2,000 mark.

“While some of this may be due to lags in reporting, the numbers do tell us that we’re seeing an increase in community transmission,” Ferrer said.

Ferrer said that while the county’s overall rate of positive coronavirus tests is still about 8%, the rate has been increasing over the past week. Ferrer said the average daily rate of tests that come back positive is now 8.4%, up from 5.8% on June 12.

As of Monday, there were 1,453 people hospitalized in the county for coronavirus, up slightly from Sunday. The 2,571 new cases reported by Ferrer lifted the county’s total number to 85,942. Ferrer also announced another 18 deaths, bringing the county’s total to 3,137.

Officials, however, said the average number of people hospitalized due to coronavirus has remained fairly constant, and there is no immediate fear of medical centers running short on bed space.

Ferrer said the county has identified various clusters of illness, but given the large numbers of incoming cases, authorities have not been able to say whether recent mass protests were responsible for some of the new cases.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

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Kelly Puente is a general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. Her prolific reporting has taken her all over Southern California—even to the small Catalina Island town of Two Harbors. She is a Tiki mug collector and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].
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