Long Beach reports 100th death from COVID-19 as officials mull whether to reopen bars, gyms

Long Beach announced its 100th death Monday as officials mull whether to open more businesses—including bars and gyms—after a week of crowded protests and dine-in service resuming at local restaurants.

It will take about two weeks for health officials to know the impact of the past protests and gatherings that could cause a spike in new cases.

“I am watching the data very nervously,” Kelly Colopy, director of the city’s health department, said Monday at a press briefing.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that an expanded list of businesses could reopen as soon as this Friday, including bars and wineries, schools and camps, family entertainment centers, gyms and fitness centers and campgrounds and parks. Other industries, such as movie and film production, would also be allowed to resume if the city gives its approval.

Mayor Robert Garcia said Monday these businesses should make plans and get ready by reviewing the state’s guidelines, but cautioned that it is not yet clear how and when the city will move forward in allowing these industries to open.

Officials in Long Beach said they are watching the hospitalization rate very closely. Updated numbers show the city had a high of 100 people in the hospital on May 24, and that number has averaged in the mid to high-80s for the last two weeks.

However officials said Monday that Long Beach hospitals remain at about 56% capacity, with 441 beds available if a surge in patients were to occur.

On Monday, the city reported 2,273 people have tested positive for COVID-19, with 83 people hospitalized. One death was reported, bringing the city’s total to 100.

Support our journalism.

Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.

Melissa has been a journalist for over two decades, starting her career as a reporter covering health and religion and moving into local news. She has worked as an editor for eight years, including seven years at the Press Telegram before joining the Long Beach Post in June 2018. She also serves as a part-time lecturer at Cal State Long Beach where she teaches multimedia journalism and writing.