Long Beach health officials on Monday reported two more coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to 1,341 since the first on March 23, 2020. The deaths come as the number of new daily cases remains high amid a fresh surge.

Last week the city reported 1,028 new cases of COVID-19, the second week in a row to break the 1,000-case threshold, according to city data. Before the recent uptick, the city had not reported over 1,000 new cases in a single week since early August.

On Dec. 2, the city’s cumulative seven-day case rate topped 200 per 100,000, which effectively moved the city into the “medium” transmission rate tier. The Health Department announced the change one week later, urging residents to wear masks indoors—but not mandating it.

Health officials previously said Thanksgiving gatherings likely contributed to the spike in cases.

The seven-day case rate has since decreased, reaching 182.7 as of Friday. Other indicators, including the seven-day positivity rate, are dropping as well, data shows. The positivity rate fell to 12.6% on Friday after reaching a recent high of 16.2% three days earlier.

The decline in these metrics, however, could be due to a slight drop in testing after a small post-Thanksgiving surge. The week of Nov. 28, the city administered an average of 1,787 COVID tests per day, compared to 1,150 the week before.

Last week, the city administered an average of 1,495 tests.

“Testing and infections is kind of a chicken-egg situation,” Health Department spokesperson Jennifer Rice Epstein said in a text Monday. “If more people test, there is a larger potential to find cases, and if more people are feeling symptomatic, more people will get tested.”

The surge in coronavirus cases is happening concurrently with surges in other illnesses, including the flu and respiratory syncytial virus. Last week, Long Beach Memorial’s Dr. Graham Tse referred to the current outbreaks as a “triple-demic” that is resulting in crowded hospitals across the state, especially in pediatric units.

At the county level, health officials have reported 7,845 new cases and 39 coronavirus-related deaths since Saturday. The county’s daily positivity rate is 11%.

‘Triple-demic’: COVID cases surge in Long Beach, along with flu and RSV

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.