Long Beach reports another coronavirus death as case rate continues to soar

Long Beach Health and Human Services Tuesday recorded another COVID-19 death as the city’s rate of new cases and other critical indicators continue to rise.

Since the onset of the pandemic, 949 residents have now died.

The city reported 279 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday, the highest daily update since Feb. 8. With 37 patients, hospitalizations in Long Beach-area facilities remain stable and well-below January levels, which almost reached 600 patients and threatened to overwhelm the health system.

The city’s daily cases per 100,000 residents jumped again to 14.3, a more than 14-fold increase from a low of one in mid-June. Long Beach’s seven-day positivity rate has increased 1,275% to 5.5% since June 11. Both indicators are at their highest point since mid-February.

Based on the state’s now-defunct color-coded system, the case and positivity rates would put Long Beach in the most restrictive purple tier, meaning the virus is widespread. In the past, this would have triggered increased restrictions on businesses and gatherings. As it is, the city, following the lead of the county, has reinstated its mask mandate, requiring everyone to mask up when indoors regardless of vaccination status.

In a statement Monday, city officials said there are no immediate plans to institute additional restrictions.

“At this time, given that more that 60% of people over 16+ are fully vaccinated, we are not currently planning additional restrictions,” the city said. “We are tracking hospitalizations closely as our intent is to ensure our hospital system is not overwhelmed and that we are not seeing a surge in hospitalizations and deaths.”

LA County, meanwhile, reported 1,821 new cases Tuesday, the 10th day in a row the county has recorded more than 1,000 new cases. The county positivity rate is 4.8%, up from 2% two weeks ago. The county also reported five new deaths.

“Most of the illness and death experienced among LA County residents from COVID-19 is preventable because of the vaccines current availability,” county Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said in a statement Tuesday. “And while the vaccines are not perfect at preventing all infections and illness, they continue to offer a powerful tool for reducing transmission.”

In Long Beach, 68.1% of eligible residents—12 and older—have been vaccinated against the virus as of Sunday. Overall, 270,672 (58%) have received the COVID-19 vaccination.

What are Long Beach’s new masking rules? And when might they end?

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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.
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