Long Beach reports 2 more deaths due to COVID-19; still in most restrictive tier

Long Beach health officials reported two more people died of COVID-19 since Tuesday, bringing the city’s total deaths to 237. Another 40 people also tested positive for the virus, bringing Long Beach’s total to 11,311.

Beyond those raw numbers, the two statistics the state is using to determine when counties can reopen are the percentage of people who test positive out of the total who are tested and the rate of cases per 100,000 residents.

Long Beach, which is linked with Los Angeles County when it comes to reopening timelines, reported that an average of 4.3% of people tested were positive over the last seven days, and 8.3 cases have been reported on average each day per 100,000 residents. The county’s numbers, meanwhile, are a bit better: a 3.2% positivity rate and 8.1 cases per 100,000 residents.

“We’re happy to see the progress we’ve made,” Barbara Ferrer, director of the county health department, said at a Wednesday press conference. “We’re very much hoping this trend continues.”

The state requires counties to maintain no more than an 8% positivity rate and no more than an average of seven cases per 100,000 residents for two weeks before they can move to the next tier of reopenings. As of Tuesday, the county remains in the purple tier, meaning the virus is widespread, with the most restrictive closures.

Given the recent figures—which are updated every Tuesday—the soonest the county and city could loosen restrictions is early October, given that counties must maintain lower numbers for 14 days, and can’t move between tiers for three weeks.

County officials said they are still watching closely to see if Labor Day activities may increase rates of the virus given it is traditionally a time for large gatherings.

The state’s new tier system will dictate when counties can begin to reopen.

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