Long Beach officials released the latest number of cases of coronavirus in Long Beach, announced an increase in testing sites and provided ways the community is helping elderly residents, during a live-streamed media briefing Friday, April 17.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced that the City is aware of 419 positive cases of coronavirus in Long Beach, along with two additional deaths– bringing the total to 20.
Like many of the previous casualties, the mayor said that the two victims were people in their 80s with histories of underlying health conditions.
Garcia also shared the news that 220 patients have recovered so far out of the 419 cases of coronavirus.
“We have reported recoveries of that 419 number,” Garcia said. “And so those are folks that are now at home. They’re healthy, they’re better, and we’re very heartened […] and grateful for that.”
The mayor also stated 105 of the cases have come out of long-term care facilities across.
The spread of the coronavirus in long-term care facilities has been a significant concern for the City, and a new health order was announced on Wednesday that increased regulations for residents and personnel.
Garcia also discussed the new dashboard being launched by the City, which will offer live updates on the coronavirus.
The dashboard will not only keep track of the number of positive cases but how Long Beach compares to the rest of Los Angeles County, the locations of the case based on zip code and more.
Garcia stated the new feature will go live on Friday evening.
The mayor also announced that the City is adding three new testing sites in central, north and west Long Beach, which will open this weekend.
Garcia stated that the new testing locations would allow the City to administer a total of 500 tests a day– an increase from the 100 daily tests health officials are already doing.
He also stated that all the test sites are open to the public.
“There’s no cost,” Garcia said. “We will see anyone, whether you have insurance or not. Whether you’re documented or not. Our goal is to get everyone safe and [test anyone] that needs a test.”
Currently, the only testing site in Long Beach is located on the Long Beach City College Pacific Coast campus, which offers drive-up testing and access to the rapid response unit.
The testing sites will be located at Jordan High School, Cabrillo High School, and the final one will be located at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
According to Dr. Anissa Davis, the Public Health Officer, the locations will provide more access to Long Beach residents, especially African Americans who have been disproportionately affected by the disease.
“This virus most severely impacts those with underlying chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure,” Davis said in the live stream. “And, we know that our African-American community disproportionately has higher rates of these conditions.”
Even though the City is increasing its testing capacity, Garcia stated that residents must still arrange an appointment for testing through the City’s website longbeach.gov/covid19.
Here residents can see if they are in a high-risk group, screen themselves for symptoms and schedule a drive-up test if needed.
Dr. Davis also provided some information for elderly residents who have been affected by the virus.
In March, the Long Beach Health Department set up the older adult resource line, which provides food delivery, prescription services, home supplies and mental health resources.
To reach this department, call (562) 570-4636 and select option five. The resource line is open every weekday from 8am to 4:30pm.
Meals on Wheels is providing hot dinners and cold lunches to seniors and is currently looking for volunteers. To reach this organization, call (562) 439-5000 and select option zero or visit mowlb.org.
The Salvation Army is running a food pantry and is delivering food to older adults and families with restrictions. Call (562) 247-3528 for more information.