Long Beach recorded 2,217 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, in one of the highest one-day totals since the start of the pandemic, but deaths and hospitalizations remain low.

The number of people testing positive has also skyrocketed, with a 27.3% positivity rate on Friday, by far the highest rate in the nearly two-year-old pandemic. The city, however, reported no new deaths, while 271 people were in area hospitals with COVID-19, up from 258 the previous day.

In response to the huge testing demand, the city on Monday opened a new mass testing site in the former Boeing parking lot, near 3590 E. Wardlow Road, capable of testing more than 3,000 people a day. The site around noon on Monday was busy with a long line of car stretching down Wardlow Road off Cherry Avenue.

The Boeing site will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30 to 5 p.m. weekdays. Additional city testing sites are at Veterans Stadium, Doris Topsy-Elvord Community Center and Cal State Long Beach.

To date, the Long Beach Health Department has administered 741,114 COVID-19 tests, free of charge, in Long Beach.

Since the most recent surge, which began in late December, the city has regularly administered 5,000 or more tests per day. On Jan. 5, the city administered 7,382 tests, which is the highest recorded since the start of the pandemic.

Vehicles wait in line on the right side of Clark Ave. as they enter Veterans Stadium for the COVID-19 testing In Long Beach Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. The line stretch from Conant St. to Carson Street. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

The rapidly rising infection rates have led to severe hospital staffing shortages and longer ambulance wait times in some parts of the Southland.

In Orange County, where hospitalizations are nearing 1,000, health officials last Thursday said ambulance were waiting an average of 52 minutes and 36 seconds to drop off patients, but that number was down to 40 minutes and 57 seconds as of Monday.

A spokesperson for Long Beach Memorial Medical Center on Monday said the hospital has so far not seen an increase in ambulance wait times.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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