Long Beach officials report 14 new COVID-19 deaths, including first city employee

City officials Friday reported 14 more COVID-19 deaths, including the first city employee to succumb to the virus. The announcement comes amid the deadliest week for the city since the pandemic began and the day after Long Beach surpassed 500 fatalities.

The city did not release the identity of the employee due to privacy concerns but confirmed the person was part of the recreation bureau in the Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine and last worked Dec. 28.

“It breaks my heart to lose a member of our City family, and we are keeping their loved ones in our hearts today,” Mayor Robert Garcia sain in the announcement.

The city reported 14 additional deaths since yesterday, for a total of 73 fatalities this week and 520 overall.

The previous high for weekly deaths 54 reported the week of Dec. 28. Over the last three weeks alone, officials have reported 179 deaths, more than 34% of the city’s total.

City officials also reported 607 new cases for a total 42,888 since the pandemic began. After two days of decreases, hospitalizations increased by one to 561. Daily cases per 100,000 Long Beach residents increased by 17 to 158.6. The seven-day positivity rate continues to decrease and is now 15.7%.

County health officials reported 287 deaths Thursday for a total of 13,234 since the pandemic began. The total number of cases is over 975,000 and expected to surpass the one million mark in two or three days.

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Brandon Richardson is a business reporter, covering everything from real estate and healthcare to the airport and port to city hall and the economy. He is a Long Beach native who has been with the Business Journal since graduating from Long Beach City College in spring 2016 with an associate’s degree in journalism. He is an avid record collector and concert goer.