On the most recent COVID-19 live-stream, the City of Long Beach confirmed that the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus has risen to 115.
On Monday, March 30, Dr. Anissa Davis, the City Health Officer, announced that the City had seen an increase of over 50% in people who tested positive for the disease.
Davis also stated that this is a trend across Southern California.
“The next few weeks will be crucial,” Davis said. “We have seen large increases in cases in New York City, New Orleans and other locations. We’ve seen their healthcare systems be overwhelmed.”
One of the reasons COVID-19 is so dangerous is that it is new, which means that people do not have antibodies or vaccines to fight the disease– meaning everyone is susceptible.
“Physically distancing yourself is the most important thing you can do right now to slow the virus down,” Davis said.
According to Mayor Robert Garcia, the City is still waiting for components of the COVID-19 testing kits to make them active.
The City currently has 500 full testing kits but has another 1,000 that are waiting for critical pieces before they are ready for testing. Garcia said that the City is still receiving parts, but that demand has slowed the process.
“Our orders are coming in,” Garcia said. “But people need to know that there is a national backlog […] of testing kits. We are trying to receive as many tests as possible, to do as many tests as possible.”
As testing kits become more available, the City also hopes to add more drive-through testing locations.
For the moment, drive-through testing is only available at the Long Beach Health Department for individuals who are referred by a hospital or doctor, and by appointment.
Garcia also stated that the City has administered 1,300 tests for COVID-19, and is performing about 30 tests a day.
“That number, and our testing capacity, is going to increase over time,” Garcia said. “Our hope is that these next few days and week ahead, as we begin this critical month of April, [is], that testing capacity will increase.”
The mayor also announced that the Long Beach-based company, Virgin Orbit, announced that they have begun transitioning into building ventilators to help the COVID-19 crisis.
According to Garcia, Virgin is currently waiting for FDA approval of a new type of ventilator that the company designed in collaboration with scientists and doctors.
Additionally, Garcia announced that the City is launching a “Work Long Beach” program, which will help provide childcare and provide jobs for Long Beach Residents.
The City also announced that it had opened the third shelter for the homeless as a way to provide a safe place for them to self-isolate.
The new shelter is at the site of the former North Library in North Long Beach and converted to accommodate homeless individuals.
Garcia stated the City is also working on a fourth location that will be announced in a couple of days.
In regards to street-sweeping, Garcia stated that citations have waived until May 1.
However, the City will continue to street sweep and asked the public to move their vehicles if they are able. The City is offering free parking at parking lots and garages to help provide space for parking-impacted areas.
For a list of locations and instructions on how to apply, click here.