In the latest COVID-19 live stream, Long Beach officials discussed the most recent coronavirus cases, summer programs and how the City plans to address systemic racism.
On Monday, June 15, Mayor Robert Garcia announced that the City had documented over 2600 cases of coronavirus in the City.
Out of that number, the mayor stated that about 2000 residents have recovered from the coronavirus.
Garcia also announced that the current number of deaths due to the coronavirus is now at 114 in Long Beach, with 88 of them coming out of long-term care facilities.
Dr. Anissa Davis, the City Health Official, asked residents to continue taking precautions, especially as they begin to spend more time in public.
“As our city continues reopening, I want to remind everyone that there’s no way to ensure zero risks of infection,” Davis said. “We’re still all safer at home, the risks of widespread community transmission are still a real threat to the health and safety of our community here in Long Beach.”
Davis compared safety measures, such as face masks, social distancing and sanitizing, to airbags in a car– helpful, but not perfect.
Davis also discussed a condition that has appeared in some cases of children who test positive for COVID-19, multi-system inflammatory syndrome.
“Multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs,” Davis said.
The disease has been found in only 5 % of children who test positive for the coronavirus, but can be severe and even deadly.
Parents can spot symptoms by keeping an eye out for diarrhea, vomiting, rash, red or pink eyes, enlarged lymph nodes, swollen tongues or hands, and unexplained stomach pain.
As of now, doctors do not know what causes this illness.
Mayor Garcia also took some time to address the new Framework for Reconciliation that was passed by the Long Beach City Council last Tuesday.
“We know this is a very difficult time, as it relates to equity across the country. We have to acknowledge that we have a long way to go locally, but also as a nation,” Garcia said.
The framework calls for the City to recognize systemic racism and move forward to address the issue.
One of the issues that Garcia pointed out was how the COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately affected African-American communities compared to others.
Despite making up 13 percent of Long Beach’s population, African Americans make up 23 % of COVID-related deaths.
“Black residents are also hospitalized for asthma 9.4 times more than others. We know that there are not just racial disparities within all systems, but especially within health […], which is why these conversations are so important,” Garcia said.
Mayor Garcia announced that the City would be starting a curbside pickup program for the public library beginning June 23.
Additionally, the City will be hosting a virtual version of its summer reading program.
“We know that libraries are a really important place for people and families,” Garcia said. “It’s hard not to have them open right.”
He also stated that officials are working toward opening libraries safely.
Due to the pandemic, Garcia also announced that Long Beach would be drastically cutting back on its summer programs.
Due to State health guidelines regarding gatherings, the City is not able to host movies, concerts or festivals as it has done in the past.
However, the mayor announced that the City would be offering day camps for children.
Due to safety protocols, Garcia stated that the availability will be limited, but that the camps will be discounted at $30-$35.
“The camps will have strict guidelines on the number of children that can participate,” Garcia said. “They will have physical distancing requirements; there will be sanitation measures put in place and interactions will be limited within the camps to make sure that kids stay safe.”
Garcia also announced that Long Beach would be bringing back it’s free lunch program at 30 sites across the City.
“This is a free food program so that kids can get nutritious meals during the summer, and all this information will be available on our parks and recreation website,” Garcia said.