On the latest COVID-19 update, Mayor Robert Garcia updated Long Beach residents on the latest number of coronavirus cases, the new face mask network and the new rapid response clinic at Long Beach City College.
On Monday, April 6, Mayor Garcia announced that the City had confirmed 230 cases of COVID-19 across Long Beach– an increase from the 171 reported on Friday.
In the live-stream, the mayor stated that the additional cases are not unexpected, but that the positive news is that 70 cases out of the 231 are recovering from COVID-19.
Garcia also added that the death toll from COVID-19 has not increased from three cases, and thanked medical personnel for their work.
“We should all be grateful to the medical personnel that are actively working with those that are in the hospital right now with COVID-19,” Garcia said. “Many of them are struggling, but our prayers, […] our love and our thoughts are with them and their families.”
The mayor also confirmed that the City sees more cases in senior long-term care facilities and nursing homes.
The City is not announcing the names of the facilities but did confirm that five locations across Long Beach have seen positive cases of coronavirus.
“We’re working closely with these facilities to assist with contact investigations and ensure infection control measures are being made in order to prevent further spread of the virus,” Sandy Wedgeworth, the health department emergency management director, said.
As the number of cases increase, Garcia stated that the City is preparing for the expected “surge” in coronavirus cases. Three hospitals in Long Beach have already set up expansion tents to help increase capacity in case of patient overflow.
Additionally, the City has temporarily converted the Long Beach Convention Center into a 100-bed field hospital where medical staff can perform medical assessments and triage. The site will also be able to take extra patients in the event hospitals see a significant uptick in COVID-19 cases.
The mayor also stated that the City is planning more proactive measures that will be announced in the days ahead.
The City also revealed more information on the rapid response clinic that opened on Monday, April 6, on the Long Beach City College Pacific Coast campus.
“Patients can obtain assessment and treatment for common ailments, such as earache, […] eye infections, pinkeye or urinary tract infections,” Wedgeworth said.
Wedgeworth also stated that the clinic would be able to write prescriptions for patients on-site.
Patients who believe they may have COVID-19 can also be assessed for the disease and whether they need further testing.
On April 7, the clinic will begin offering drive-up testing for residents who may have COVID-19. Before taking the test, residents must answer questions on a website, or portal, with pre-screening questions.
The test will help staff prioritize who needs to be seen first, such as people who are 65 years and older or have underlying conditions.
If a patient tests negative, they will be notified by mail, or if positive, they will receive a phone call from a health department individual.
The clinic is open seven days a week, from 10am to 6pm until further notice, and does not require an appointment.
The mayor also added that the clinic is free to anyone who needs it.
“I want to be very clear about this clinic that whether you have insurance, whether you don’t have insurance, whether you are undocumented, whether you are any member of this community of our city. You have access to this clinic,” Garcia said.
Mayor Garcia also announced the launch of a collaboration between the City of Long Beach and the Long Beach Post, regarding a new online market place where vendors can sell homemade face masks.
Due to the coronavirus, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has announced that the public should wear face masks when in public spaces– such as the grocery store.
Over the past few weeks, members of the community have begun sewing homemade masks due to a shortage of retail face masks in stores. The new marketplace will allow residents to upload their products and sell them to customers directly.
“If you’re someone out there that’s at home, and I see a lot of you on social media, making face coverings at home […] you can put those masks on the marketplace and help us get people that need face coverings,” Garcia said.
Garcia also stated that the Long Beach Post does not receive any commission from the sales and is providing the marketplace as a community service.