Coronavirus, Long Beach, News

UPDATE: Long Beach declares state of emergency over coronavirus

Update March 6

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has announced another two cases of coronavirus, bringing the total in the county to 13 people.

All those infected have contracted the virus while traveling, as the department confirms that there is no risk at this time of public exposure.

George Alfaro, Director of Environmental Health and Safety at Long Beach State, sent an email to staff and faculty Friday morning briefing them on the steps the university is taking to prevent an outbreak.

According to Alfaro, the school’s cleaning and disinfection procedures have been revised to refocus janitorial efforts on “high-touch areas”. New hand sanitation stations have been added across campus along with a map to show where those locations are. Custodial cleaning supplies have also been bolstered to better prepare for the chance of an outbreak.

There are still no confirmed cases of the virus on campus.


Update March 5

According to health officials in Los Angeles county, four new cases of the novel-coronavirus have been identified as of March 5. 

This brings the total of cases to 11 just a day after the county declared a local health emergency in response to six identified cases.

Barbara Ferrer, director of public health, is urging people to stay alert and continue best practices prescribed by health officials.

“As more cases are identified, we are asking everyone to do their part: stay home if you are sick and keep your children home if they are sick, take time now to plan for the possibility of school and business closures and be sure to follow and additional directives issued by Public Health and or local officials,” Ferrer said. “By working together, we can try to slow the transmission of novel coronavirus.” 


Original Article posted March 4
Long Beach city health officials have declared a local health emergency in response to six newly diagnosed patients with the novel-coronavirus in Los Angeles County.

The city published a press release this morning soon after Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger signed a declaration of a local health emergency for the whole county.

“We are prepared and continue to plan to address any possible spread of the coronavirus,” Mayor Robert Garcia said. “We continue to take proactive measures that will protect, treat and care for our residents, especially those most vulnerable.”

President Jane Close Conoley sent out a message to the Long Beach State campus community this morning as well, reassuring people that there is no imminent threat to campus.

“While there are no confirmed cases of the illness in the city at this time, we have a team at the Beach that is working every day to ensure the university continues its preparations should COVID-19 affect our community in the future,” Conoley said.

Student Health Services staff created a webpage to help better educate student populations.

The page states that the university is considering closing its physical campus and ushering classes online in the case of an outbreak.

“Should the university become directly impacted by the illness in a meaningful way, we will implement a variety of protocols including alternative instruction delivery,” Lauren Williams, senior communications counsel said.

According to the webpage, several students are currently studying abroad in Italy. As of March 4, the country has closed all schools and universities as its death toll from the virus reaches over 100.

“Two of our 14 students visiting Italy have returned, we have also asked that 15 students studying in South Korea return,” Jeet Joshee, associate vice president of International Education and Global Engagement. “We are asking that students who travelled in these countries stay home for two weeks as a precautionary measure, in keeping with guidelines outlined by CDC.” 

Health officials are urging people to practice common flu prevention techniques such as washing your hands with warm water and soap, avoiding contact with others if symptoms arise and to seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

“For students, healthcare workers at Cal State Long Beach’s Student Health Services will assess if testing is necessary,” according to the Student Health Services webpage. “Staff and faculty who feel they should be tested can be examined and assessed by their off-campus healthcare provider.”

Angela Girard, co-director of Student Health Services, said the campus is still without any reported incident.

“In recent weeks, we have not seen patients seeking medical attention who believe they have the coronavirus. At this time, we have no reported cases of COVID-19 among our campus community,” Girard said.

With more than 100 cases in the United States, city health officials have been cautioned to prepare for more.

“While there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the City of Long Beach, the global crisis continues to evolve on a daily basis,” City Health Officer Anissa Davis said. “We need to be ready and continue to increase preparedness efforts throughout the city.”

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Number of COVID-19 cases in Long Beach


Number of COVID-19 deaths in Long Beach


What to know about COVID-19

Common symptoms:

• Cough

• Fever

• Tiredness

• Shortness of breath

Symptoms can begin to present one to 14 days after initial exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

How is it transmitted?

• Close contact with someone, such as shaking hands or hugging.

• Contact with droplets from a sneeze or cough.

• Touching of eyes, mouth or nose with dirty hands.

Are you at risk?

• Have you traveled to an affected area within the past two weeks?

• Have you had close contact with someone who is infected?

If yes to either, and you begin to present symptoms, call your doctor and ask to be tested. 

Prevention:

There is currently no treatment for COVID-19, but the CDC recommends measures to contain the spread of the virus.

• Self-isolate; avoid contact with others including pets; only leave your house for food or medical attention.

• Wear a face mask.

• Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds; sanitizer must contain over 60% alcohol to be effective.

• Clean “high-touch” areas every day.  

•  Maintain a six-foot distance from other individuals; abide by “social distancing” recommendations. 

•  Avoid gatherings with more than nine people. 

 Alert health officials if you think you have COVID-19; monitor your symptoms.


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