‘We can’t wait for the emergency to be here, we have to plan ahead’

On Friday, April 3, Mayor Robert Garcia announced the third coronavirus-related death and announced that the Long Beach Convention Center will temporarily be converted in into a makeshift hospital and clinic. The convention center will provide an additional 100 beds.

On the April 3 edition of the COVID-19 live-stream, Mayor Robert Garcia updated the public about the latest number of positive cases, steps the City is taking to increase capacity for treatment and testing, and facemasks.

Cases across Long Beach
On Friday, Mayor Garcia announced that there is a third reported death due to coronavirus.

The victim was a woman in her 60s who died from the disease combined with underlying medical conditions.

“Our prayers and our love go out to the entire family and the friends of all of these victims,” Garcia said.

As of Monday, April 6, the City is confirming a total of 213 cases in Long Beach.

A press release from the City also stated that positive cases have also been confirmed at four different long-term care facilities– but did not state report how many.

Dr. Anissa Davis, the City’s health officer, again stated that this number only reflects individuals who have been tested positive for the disease and that many people who have COVID-19 have not been identified.

“That’s why it’s so important for all of us to realize and understand that community transmission is happening,” Davis said. “We all need to adhere to recommendations that we’re making to stay at home, [practice] hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette recommendations.”

While the actual numbers are unknown, a press release from the City states that Los Angeles County is currently reporting 4,500 cases and 11 new deaths– bringing the total deaths to 89 across the county.

In response to the increase in cases, Garcia again stressed the need for physical distancing and social-distancing.

“While the vast majority of folks are following the city’s orders, those that are not, need to stop being irresponsible and do the right thing and save additional lives, because those folks in the hospitals are counting on us,” Garcia said.

Capacity
To prepare for a possible surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, the City announced that the Long Beach Convention Center is will be temporarily converted into a makeshift hospital.

The convention center will provide an additional 100 beds if needed. The move is similar to the makeshift hospital that was established in the Los Angeles Convention Center and in San Diego.

“We’re doing the same thing because we can’t wait for the emergency to be here, we’ve got to plan ahead,” Garcia said.

The makeshift hospital and clinic is a partnership between the City of Long Beach and Los Angeles County.

The mayor also announced a new partnership between the City, Los Angeles County and Long Beach City College (LBCC) to open a new mobile and drive-up clinic at LBCC’s Pacific Campus.

The new clinic will be open next week. Additionally, a drive-up and drive-through testing center will also be open next week at the same location.

Face Masks
During the stream, Garcia also announced that the City, in partnership with the Long Beach Post, will be developing a marketplace for homemade masks.

He stated that the marketplace will begin sometime over the weekend, and will be for handmade masks­– not the medical masks used in hospitals.

Additionally, the mayor said that the City would be issuing official guidance on face masks in the future.

In her comments, Davis also stated that while face masks can be an additional way to stop the spread of COVID-19, it is not a substitute for proper social distancing.

“The best thing that you and I can be doing right now is washing our hands, keeping our physical distance, not touching our faces, adhering to the safer-at-home order, and not leaving our house, except for essential duties,” Davis said.

Temporary Shelters
Mayor Garcia also announced that the City had opened a fourth temporary shelter for homeless individuals at the Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

The new shelter will provide a place for people to isolate safely, while also allowing access to service programs that the City offers.

According to Garcia, the shelter not only offers them food and medical care but also prevents the homeless population from putting an additional strain on the healthcare system during this period.

Homeless individuals are more likely to go to emergency rooms if they have medical needs. Providing an alternative source of care allows medical staff to focus on cases related to COVID-19.

“I’m asking everyone to please support [us] as we expand shelters across the city,” Garcia said. “It’s for the health of the entire community.”

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