In the latest COVID-19 live stream, City officials discussed the newest coronavirus cases, the homeless population in Long Beach and more reopenings.
On Friday, June 12, Mayor Robert Garcia announced that the number of deaths from the coronavirus is now up to 110, two of which happened earlier on Friday.
Additionally, Garcia announced that the current number of positive cases in Long Beach is now up to 2,565, but 1,923 patients have made a full recovery.
Kelly Colopy, the director of the Department of Health and Human Services, also announced that the City is working to address the high rate of coronavirus cases in Long Beach’s African American community.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the African American population has made up a disproportionate amount of positive cases.
Colopy stated that the City is hosting forums to discuss this issue and that the City Council recently adopted a new framework to address systemic racism in Long Beach.
“The city is building an opportunity to reflect community voice in planning policies and programs,” Colopy said. “It’s reviewing internal policies, utilizing an equity lens and really paying attention to the impacts that they are having across our City. Utilizing data to determine inequities and working to address these inequities so that everyone in our City can live their best lives, regardless of race and where they live.”
The mayor also announced changes to the City’s health orders regarding immediate families and public locations.
Under the revised health order, families who live together can travel to public locations, such as beaches and parks.
“The health orders do not recommend that non-family folks gather,” Garcia said. “Whether it’s on the beach or in parks, [it’s only] for families that are together.”
Garcia also stated that businesses, such as gyms, fitness centers, museums, day camps and more, could reopen to the public with safety restrictions.
Depending on the location, these restrictions can include limiting the number of people in an area, maintaining a six-foot distance, and sanitizing surfaces.
One of the ways the City is helping locations prepare to open is the new SafeBiz program, which allows business owners to self-certify by filling out a form online.
To fulfill the requirements, owners go on the website and complete a form detailing how the business meets the City’s safety measures or explain how a standard does not apply.
The business then prints and posts the certification.
Garcia also stated that the City would be taking its time in reopening other businesses, even if the State’s health order allows those businesses to open.
One of the reasons he stated is that Long Beach is still dealing with a high rate of infection.
“I just wanted to remind people that just because the State says you can reopen industries you folks need to wait to hear the guidance from the city or the county,” Garcia said.
The mayor announced the results of its 2020 Point-in-Time Homeless Count, which was conducted in January 2020.
Garcia stated that the survey counted around 2,034 individuals experiencing homelessness in Long Beach, a seven percent increase from last year.
The mayor stated that this number is a decrease from 2013 by about 29 percent, but that it is still concerning.
“We also want to note that we had about a 40-42 percent reduction in veterans experiencing homelessness in Long Beach,” Garcia said. “This has been because of the strong partnerships that we’ve had with US Vets, Villages at Cabrillo, and many other partners.”
He also stated that Long Beach is tracking lower than both the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County, who both saw increases this year.
The City has worked to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the homeless population by setting up temporary shelters and sanitization and handwashing stations at critical points throughout the City.
The City has also conducted outreach programs at encampments and distributing sanitization kits.