LIVE CHAT: Long Beach Health Department Director Kelly Colopy talks rise in COVID cases

As the state sees a spike in coronavirus cases, Long Beach health officials are seeing a jump in cases in people in their 20s and 30s, health director Kelly Colopy said Wednesday.

“Whether those are the folks who are engaging in protests, whether those are the folks who are going out more to restaurants and other social related activities, maybe gathering more at the beaches … we are seeing increases,” Colopy said.

Health officials are still analyzing available data, she said. The city investigates every positive case with contact tracers, but they focus more on the people the patient was in contact with rather than where they were, in order to reach out.

“We’ve had some people say they were at protests and some say they were at a restaurant that maybe hadn’t had all the rules in place,” Colopy said.

They are following up with those cases, however they have not found any specific hotspots in the city yet.

As of Wednesday, the city has reported a total of 3,405 cases of coronavirus, up from 3,042 reported on Monday. Some of those cases include Sunday’s reported test results. A total of 122 people have died in Long Beach from coronavirus, 93 of whom were associated with nursing homes.

The city has also had a huge uptick in the number of people being tested because people are going back to work. With high demands, they’re trying to increase their capacity.

The city’s current average positivity rate for those tested is about 8.4%, which is up from about 6%.

Colopy warned that just because places are reopening, doesn’t mean it’s safe to go out. She urged residents to continue following all safety protocols, especially wearing a mask in public, physically distancing and staying home when possible.

She also said that the city would begin an education campaign that would involve putting people in public places in order to talk to residents about wearing masks and following guidelines.

In addition, the city is holding off on reopening family entertainment centers, including movie theaters.

Colopy also warned that the tests reported on one day are often old tests that are just now being reported from private doctors, the county and other testing sites. Officials work to account for each of those cases on the day it was found to be positive.

Hospitalization rates have stabilized and the city is not nearing capacity for hospitals any time soon, she said, and the city has not seen a spike in deaths.

The Long Beach Post on Wednesday hosted a live chat with Long Beach Health Department Director Kelly Colopy to talk about the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and where Long Beach stands in its reopening plans.

Watch here:


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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].