Long Beach health officials are reporting that about 15% of people tested for COVID-19 are found to be positive—more than twice what it was in late May and the highest positivity rate ever reported in the city.
The positivity rate reached 15.2% several days ago and is now at 15.1%. Long Beach had an increase of 1,000 cases last week, and 233 new cases just in the last 24 hours.
Health director Kelly Colopy said at a Tuesday press conference that the lowest positivity rate was 6.3% when the city began its reopening process in late May.
“That is something we’re paying a lot of attention to and one of the reasons we’re advocating so hard for people to make sure they’re taking care of themselves and their community,” Colopy said.
Los Angeles County’s seven-day average positivity rate is at 9%. The state requires a seven-day average positivity rate of 8% as part of its stability criteria to reopen.
The state also requires counties to have no more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents; in Long Beach, that number is 325 cases per 100,000 residents.
The county health department reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in a day with 4,244 new cases and 2,103 people currently hospitalized. They also reported 73 new deaths Tuesday. Of those hospitalized, 27% are in the ICU and 19% are on ventilators.
City officials announced 5,849 total COVID-19 cases, up from 5,616 on Monday. They also said 151 Long Beach residents have died, two more in the last 24 hours. Mayor Robert Garcia noted that the number of people who have died is more than what the city sees in gun violence each year.
He also noted that the city’s hospitalization rate has steadily increased over the last two weeks, with an average of 101 hospitalizations in the last two weeks. Colopy noted that 56% of hospitalizations are coming from community members, not long-term care facilities, which is the most ever.
She urged residents to refrain from hanging out with people outside their households in order to slow the spread of the virus.
“Your only ‘COVID circle’ are the people in your household,” Colopy said.
The city and county revised their health orders after Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday ordered indoor operations of many non-essential businesses to stop. The order included gyms, personal care services, hair salons and barber shops, houses of worship and protests.
While some of these businesses will be able to move their operations outdoors, personal care services will not because of restrictions from state regulatory boards. This includes nail salons, estheticians, tattoo parlors and barbers.
Garcia also clarified that despite some confusion in the health order, outdoor political protests do not require a city permit, but indoor protests are not allowed.