Long Beach VA confirms first coronavirus case

VA Long Beach Healthcare System is treating a veteran with coronavirus and has closed the medial center to all visitors, officials announced Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear if the patient is one of the eight cases so far in Long Beach. Long Beach VA spokesman Richard Beam could not be immediately reached for comment.

“To stay ahead of a constantly changing environment and to reduce risk exposure, we will be moving our facility to no visitor facility,” the medical center said in a statement. “This is not an easy decision to make, but given the risks to our Veterans, their families and our communities, we feel we must. We strongly encourage our Veteran families to use readily available social media sites to keep in touch, to text or consider using video chat options that can be found on many, if not most, smart phones.”

On Tuesday, the city announced three new cases of coronavirus, brining the total to eight. The city is expected to give update numbers later today.

Long Beach officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the case at the VA was included in Tuesday’s announcement that three new cases of COVID-19 had been identified in the city.

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Kelly Puente is an award-winning general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. She has worked as a journalist in Long Beach since 2006, covering everything from education and crime to courts and breaking news. Kelly previously worked at the Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Orange County Register before joining the Post in 2018. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].