Long Beach passes 100,000 COVID-19 infections

Long Beach has now seen more than 100,000 COVID-19 infections since the start of the nearly two-year-old pandemic, meaning more than one in five residents have been infected.

The city on Tuesday reported 7,854 new COVID-19 infections, pushing the city to a total of 106,200. The extremely high number of new infections came partially from a backlog in test results, officials said.

The city in the past week was averaging about 1,800 new daily cases, in a winter surge that has seen record numbers of cases for Long Beach and the region.

After weeks of steady increase, Long Beach’s rate of people testing positive appears to be leveling off, with a positivity rate of 29.7%, down from 29.8% on Friday.

Two weeks ago the positive case rate was 20%.

The city also reported four additional deaths, for a total of 1,092 since the start of the pandemic.

Overall hospitalizations inched down slightly, with 358 people in area hospitals as of Tuesday, down from 367 last week.

In Los Angeles County, meanwhile, the number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals continued rising Wednesday, with state figures putting the total at 4,799, up from 4,701 on Tuesday.

The number of those patients being treated in intensive care rose to 700, up from 680 a day earlier.

The county also reported 59 new virus-related deaths Wednesday, bringing the overall virus death toll to 28,181.

Another 30,081 infections were also confirmed, giving the county a cumulative pandemic total of 2,343,821.

While the overall COVID hospitalization number remains below last winter’s peak of more than 8,000, health officials stressed that the rising patient population is creating strain at hospitals that were already coping with staffing shortages.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus rose slightly Wednesday, to 16.9%, up from 16.3% on Tuesday. The rate had fallen each day since last week, when it topped 20%.

A month ago, the testing-positivity rate was just 2%.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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Kelly Puente is an award-winning general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. She has worked as a journalist in Long Beach since 2006, covering everything from education and crime to courts and breaking news. Kelly previously worked at the Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Orange County Register before joining the Post in 2018. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].