Backlog of test results puts Long Beach COVID-19 cases past 1,000

Long Beach today reported its highest number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, but officials cautioned that the spike was caused by a backlog in testing results, not a sudden rise in new infections.

In all, Long Beach reported 110 newly confirmed cases today, much higher than the 23 new cases it’s averaged per day since April 1.

However, Mayor Robert Garcia said, some of those newly reported results date all the way back to tests that were performed on April 1.

“For whatever reason,” Garcia said, a single private lab has had significant delays in reporting results from the Long Beach City College Pacific Coast Campus testing site, which is administered by Los Angeles County. Other testing sites in Long Beach are run by the city or state.

It’s unclear how many of the newly reported positives were part of the backlog.

“We’re trying to parse out which ones are actually from today and yesterday and others that are as far as weeks and weeks in the past,” Garcia said.

This is the second time a delay in test results has caused a sudden spike in case numbers.

Long Beach also reported one new COVID-19 related death today, bringing the city’s total to 49.

City officials said the person was a man in his 80s who had underlying health conditions and was associated with a long-term care facility in the city.

The majority of the city’s deaths are associated with nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

As of Wednesday, 53 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in Long Beach, a number that’s remained steady between about 40 and 60 since early April.

In Los Angeles County, health officials announced 47 new deaths and 1,264 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county’s total to roughly 1,300 fatalities and 34,428 total cases.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children.