Will Long Beach issue a stay-home order like LA County? It’s not saying yet but warns cases are spiking

After Los Angeles County issued strict new restrictions on gatherings and businesses this week, Long Beach is considering implementing its own tighter rules after the number of COVID-19 patients in local hospitals more than tripled this month.

The number of coronavirus patients in and around Long Beach has skyrocketed 364% since Nov. 1 to a total of 116, according to a statement the city released Saturday night. The number of Long Beach residents hospitalized for COVID-19 has also increased to 56—a 75% spike since Nov. 1, according to the city.

The number of new infections, too, is surging locally—although exact numbers were not available because the city has not provided detailed data since Tuesday.

Today, Long Beach officials revealed they recorded 191 new infections that day, and officials said they predict there will be about 1,000 new cases to report after the holiday weekend.

“The city anticipates to report approximately 1,000 additional cases on Monday and Tuesday, an alarming number,” the city said in its statement.

But officials said they’re still trying to sort through the data.

“Given the amount of data left to analyze, the city will be reporting out all of its holiday weekend positivity rate, case rate and hospitalization data over the next couple of days,” the statement said.

In light of the surge, officials said they expect to make changes to the local health order that governs things like gatherings and which businesses are allowed to operate. It’s unclear what those changes will be or when they may take effect.

“Health order changes are expected after completing additional review of the data and trends of local transmission,” the city said.

Despite having its own health department and therefore being able to chart its own path with coronavirus rules, Long Beach has closely followed LA County’s example during the pandemic. When the county ordered all dine-in service to close recently, Long Beach did the same.

On Monday, LA County will also institute a host of new restrictions to try to slow a surge in cases. The new rules include:

  • Gatherings: All public and private gatherings with individuals not in your household are prohibited, except for church services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights.
  • Occupancy limits at various businesses (all individuals at these sites are required to wear face coverings and keep at least 6 feet of distance):
    • Essential retail – 35% maximum occupancy
    • Nonessential retail (includes indoor malls) – 20% maximum occupancy
    • Personal care services – 20% maximum occupancy
    • Libraries – 20% maximum occupancy
    • Fitness centers operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
    • Museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
    • Mini-golf, batting cages, go-kart racing operating outdoors – 50% maximum occupancy
  • Outdoor recreation activities (all of which require face coverings, except for swimming, and distancing):
    • Beaches, trails and parks remain open; gatherings at these sites with members outside your household are prohibited.
    • Golf courses, tennis courts, pickleball, archery ranges, skate parks, bike parks, and community gardens remain open for individuals or members of a single household. Pools that serve more than one household may open only for regulated lap swimming with one person per lane.
    • Drive-in movies/events/car parades are permitted provided occupants in each car are members of one household.
  • Schools:
    • All schools and day camps remain open adhering to reopening protocols. K-12 schools and day camps with an outbreak (3 cases or more over 14 days) should close for 14 days.
  • Closed nonessential businesses/activities:
    • Playgrounds (with the exception of playgrounds at childcare and schools)
    • Cardrooms

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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.
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