In the most recent COVID-19 live stream, city officials discussed the latest number of coronavirus cases, the status of loosening restrictions and the impact of the disease on the Long Beach Airport.
On Wednesday, May 13, Mayor Robert Garcia presented updates on the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in Long Beach.
According to Garcia, the City is reporting 1094 residents have tested positive for coronavirus– along with a death toll of 49 people.
“COVID-19 is the leading cause of death in Long Beach,” Garcia said. “When you look at the major [causes] that people die from in the city.”
“Whether you’re looking at automobile accidents or violent crime, COVID-19 obviously is the most serious thing that we’re facing.”
Garcia stated that long-term care facilities are still a significant source of concern for the City, as 38 of the 49 deaths have come from those locations.
On a more positive note, the mayor stated that out of 1094 cases, 677 patients have recovered from the disease so far.
The mayor announced that the City is considering shutting down some of its testing locations soon as the test sites begin to see fewer patients.
“We’re looking at ways of taking some of those services and testing out into [different] neighborhoods,” Garcia said. “So, you might see that personnel focus more on going into dense neighborhoods that need additional medical support.”
Garcia stated that as of now, these locations are still open to the public and that the Rapid Response Clinic is still available to any resident regardless of insurance or immigration status.
He also stated that the City has now completed over 20,000 tests across Long Beach, and can test 1000 people per day.
Garcia also announced that more doctors are beginning to open as the restrictions on the safer at home order are loosened.
Residents will now be able to schedule regular appointments at their primary doctors and dentists if that practice is opening.
As businesses begin to reopen, Garcia again asked the public to be practice social distancing when visiting public spaces or visiting retailers.
On Friday, May 8, the City began to lift portions of its public health order stating non-essential businesses had to close for public safety.
Under the new guidelines, small retailers can now reopen if they can offer curbside pick-up for customers and follow social-distancing standards.
Additionally, the City reopens parks, beaches, trails and tennis courts for certain activities– such as running, biking and walking through the park.
Residents are still not allowed to use the beach, picnic or any other activities that result in a group gathering.
Garcia stated that most people he sees are taking the necessary precautions, but some are not following the rules.
One concern of the City is a second surge in coronavirus cases.
The mayor stated that the City would be monitoring data regarding how many new cases emerge after the City reopens and whether it could overwhelm local hospitals.
“This is still a serious health crisis,” Garcia said.
Long Beach Airport
Cynthia Guidry, the Director of the Long Beach Airport, was on the live stream to speak about the impact that COVID-19 has had on the airport and how it is responding.
According to Guidry, the airport saw a 95 percent drop in flights and passenger traffic in April, compared to the same time last year.
She stated that this has also directly impacted the airport’s revenue, causing a decline of between $10-20 million.
The airport’s lack of customers has also negatively impacted other businesses associated with the airport, such as rental car providers, vendors and the “general aviation community.”
“The airport and surrounding businesses are economic engines that support the local and regional economy,” Guidry said.
The airport was given a lifeline when the Federal Aviation Administration allocated $18.4 million through the CARES Act earlier this year.
As the economy reopens, Guidry stated that the airport is taking steps to ensure passengers will have a safe and healthy experience.
The airport has stepped up cleaning and sanitization protocols and will require all passengers, employees and visitors to wear face masks.
Guidry also stated that the airport is following social distancing protocols, and cited the ample outdoor space as one way for passengers to remain socially distant.
Guidry also announced that the coronavirus has also impacted the construction at the airport.
She stated that construction on the new baggage inspection facility would continue since the TSA funds fund the project.
However, the new ticketing building will continue with “exit ramps” in case economic conditions change in the future.