On the latest COVID-19 live stream, Long Beach officials discussed walk-up testing, the future of the public-health order, new symptoms of the coronavirus and a possible antibody test.
On Monday, April 27, Mayor Robert Garcia announced that the Long Beach Health Department is now reporting 580 positive cases of coronavirus in Long Beach.
The mayor also announced two additional deaths, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths to 31 city-wide.
“A vast majority of our cases are still of individuals that are living in some of these long-term care facilities, […], which is why we’re paying so much attention to these long-term care facilities,” Garcia said.
Garcia added that the two men were elderly and had underlying health conditions. One of the men was in his 60s and the other was in his 80s.
He also thanked residents for staying home and obeying the stay at home order over the weekend.
“I’m really, really proud of everybody,” Garcia said. “We still had some challenges, and we’re not going to get 100% compliance, but the truth is that [most] individuals are thinking of our community,”
During the live stream, Mayor Garcia stated that Long Beach is working with the State of California to open a new testing location in north Long Beach, which will allow the City to administer an additional 100 tests a day.
The exact location of the new testing site will be announced in the next week, according to Garcia.
The new location will help support the African American community, which is disproportionately affected by COVID-19. North Long Beach has the largest population of African American residents in Long Beach.
Garcia also announced that the City will now offer walk-up tests at three of its testing locations.
“We know that some individuals don’t have cars and want to get tested and are having challenges with a drive through testing location,” Garcia said. “So, we want to say that beginning tomorrow; we will now be taking walk-up appointments as well.”
The testing locations offering the walk-up service are at Long Beach City College in the Pacific Coast highway parking lot, Jordan High School and Cabrillo High School.
Testing hours for walk-up appointments will be held between 10am to 1pm.
Appointments can be made online at longbeach.gov for individuals who believe they show symptoms of the coronavirus or meet other testing criteria.
Anissa Davis, the Public Health Official for Long Beach, also announced additional symptoms for the coronavirus released by the Center for Disease Control.
The new symptoms include chills, shaking with chills, muscle pain, headaches, sore throats and loss of taste or smell.
The three previous symptoms included fever, cough and shortness of breath.
“The knowledge around COVID-19 is an ever-evolving landscape, so there is going to be more data and knowledge coming out and we will be making changes to our guidance commensurate with that,” Davis said.
When asked about antibodies tests, Davis explained that two tests are being used to check for antibodies to the coronavirus.
One type is the PCR test, which is a type of molecular testing and the other serology, which uses blood to check for antibodies.
The City is currently using PCR tests to check for the proteins that show antibodies in patients.
However, Davis said that since the FDA allowed the serology tests to enter the market without any testing for the coronavirus, officials are unsure if results from the test are accurate.
“I would say be very cautious in using these antibody tests, especially the ones that are rapid,” Davis said. “So, the ones that you can do and you get an answer in 15 minutes– those are very unreliable. We just don’t know. I’ve heard somebody say it’s like flipping a coin.”
Mayor Garcia asked for help from small business owners for help in determining the best way to reopen the economy after the public health order is lifted.
The mayor announced a survey that will be posted on the City’s website that will ask for the opinions of small business owners in Long Beach.
“We want small business owners; you have the best ideas,” Garcia said.
The survey will be used by the Economic Recovery Committee headed by former mayor Bob Foster, in its goal of establishing the best plan to reopen the local economy.