This article includes live updates:
Number of reported COVID-19 cases in Long Beach
Updated May 8 at 4:08 p.m.
May 8, 4:08 p.m.
There are 898 people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Long Beach, Mayor Robert Garcia announced Friday.
A total of 40 individuals have now died as a result of COVID-19. Of that total, 32 were residents of long-term care facilities, locations where the city has continued to struggle with infection rates and deaths. The other eight were members of the community over the age of 50.
Of those infected, 565 have recovered from the virus. Garcia said that all numbers will continue to increase as the virus continues to go on.
Despite the apparent increase, Garcia said he felt comfortable enough with the city’s response to date to begin reopening the economy, which began earlier today.
Certain points Garcia highlighted as cues for the forward movement of the city were a plateau in hospitalizations over the past 25 days, hospital capacity opening up and city-wide availability for testing.
Announced earlier today, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new safer-at-home order allowing for the completion of the four-phase plan has no expiration date and will be in place “indefinitely,” Garcia said.
The reason for this extension, according to Garcia, is to maintain control over the four-phases so the city can continue to implement its safety protocol.
Regulations calling for mandatory facial coverings and hand sanitation, curb-side pickup and social distancing practices in businesses are a few of the mandated by the protocol.
Also defined in the new safer-at-home order open recreation locations are being reopened with mandated safety protocols.
Beginning Monday, Long Beach city beaches will be opened. Access to beaches has been heavily protested over the past few weeks across Orange and Los Angeles counties.
Anissa Davis, city health officer, announced amendments to the city’s mandated health order.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Davis said the health department is now requiring those who test positive to self-isolate for 10 days, rather than the previous seven.
As well, individuals who are presenting symptoms are now required to wait 72 hours before leaving self-isolation and must wait for their fever to disappear.
Those who test positive now must notify their close contacts for the past 48 hours, rather than the previous 24-hour time period, Davis said.
Anyone who exhibits symptoms or who comes in contact with someone who has tested positive, according to Davis, is also required to quarantine for 14 days. During the period of quarantine, individuals are only allowed to leave the house to receive medical attention, per the health order.
Although Long Beach is moving forward, Garcia said the possibility of rolling back these openings is very real.
“If over the course of the next week and next two weeks, if these health indicators begin moving in the wrong direction, meaning hospitalizations begin to spike, or deaths take a serious turn for the worse, we’re going to have to revisit this part of stage two,” Garcia said.
The mayor said the only way the city would be willing to move forward is if health indicators show it is safe to do so. Phase two will have several stages, Garcia said.
Garcia said if the first phase is successful, then the city will begin looking towards the next step of reopening museums, cultural facilities, galleries and even restaurants.
The third phase of reopening, which would include businesses like personal grooming services and gyms, is still months away, according to the mayor.
May 8, 12:18 p.m.
Long Beach issued a new health order Friday morning in accordance with phase-two of the economic recovery plan.
The amendment to the safer-at-home rule allows for low-risk businesses to resume operations under certain conditions.
“Our decisions to slowly reopen our economy are based on state guidelines, health indicators and data,” Garcia said in an email. “I am hopeful that with the community’s support and cooperation, we will continue to stay healthy and physical distance.”
Non-essential retailers permitted to reopen are as follows:
- Jewelry stores
- Toy stores
- Clothing stores
- Shoe stores
- Home and furnishing stores
- Sporting goods stores
- Antique stores
- Music stores
The guidelines for the non-essential businesses are as follows:
- Accommodate for curbside pick-up or deliveries only, no customers are to be allowed inside the facility
- Face coverings and gloves must be provided to workers. Hand sanitation every 30 minutes is required in the stay of glove provision.
- Customers will be required to wear face coverings when interacting with employees and are encouraged to make their payments before arrival to reduce employee-patron contact with payment options, such as cash or cards
- Security personnel must be present to implement crowd control
Car dealerships, an exception to the health order, are allowed to have patrons inside their showrooms, but must continue to adhere to the physical distancing protocol.
The physical distancing protocol, outlined by the Long Beach Health Department, includes several of the bullet points listed above as well as mandates businesses to carry out pre-screening for employees before they begin their shift or enter the facility, including administering COVID-19 questionnaires and taking temperatures.
The protocol also calls for training for staff on how to identify COVID-19 symptoms in themselves and others.
Along with low-risk retailers, outdoor recreational activities will be permitted starting today on trails as well as private and public golf courses.
Social distancing and facial covering practices are still mandated to be maintained on trails.
City golf courses, including Recreation Park, Heartwell Park, Skylinks and El Dorado Park, will have tee times beginning today, however, club houses are to remain closed and pro-shops will only be permitted to serve as curbside pickup retailers.
Starting May 11, other outdoor recreation facilities will reopen including beaches, beach paths, tennis centers and the parking lots adjacent to the beaches.
Large gatherings in these locations are still not permitted.
Previously set to expire on May 15, the safer-at-home order and its new amendments will remain in effect until further notice.
May 7, 5:57 p.m.
Long Beach State students will begin receiving CARES Act disbursement payments this Friday, university officials said.
The amount of aid each student receives is calculated based upon their financial need information on file with the university.
President Jane Close Conoley said in an email that 80% of students will be awarded some type of assistance.
Non-federal funding has been secured for Assembly Bill 540 students who otherwise would not have been eligible for assistance, according to Conoley.
“Along with the OneBeach spirit that has helped us through this challenging semester, this CARES Act aid funding is another important, tangible tool to help our students and support our educational mission,” Conoley said.
May 6, 8:15 p.m.
Long Beach will be moving to phase-two of reopening the city on Friday, in accordance with directives from Los Angeles County, Mayor Robert Garcia announced Wednesday.
Stage-two includes the reopening of florists, toy stores, bookstores, clothing stores and sporting goods stores for curbside pickup only. The city will also allow car dealership showrooms to open, as well as walking and hiking trails and golf courses.
“Stage-one has been all about being prepared and being ready,” Garcia said. “We believe we have met this challenge and our medical professionals believe that we have met the requirements of stage one.”
Small retailers will be required to follow strict physical distancing and mask regulations that the health department will announce in the days ahead, according to Garcia.
The second wave of reopening will occur on May 11, expanding outdoor recreation. This includes the reopening of parking lots adjacent to parks, as well as tennis centers and beach paths.
“Our teams at parks and rec are going to be doing major cleaning over the course of this weekend, we’re going to disinfect a lot of our bathrooms to make sure that our parks and our beach spaces are clean and ready for the public come Monday,” Garcia said. “We will have strict enforcement, particularly on the beach, with lifeguards and firefighters and the police.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out the state-wide process of reopening in an announcement last week.
Long Beach is currently in phase-one, “Safety and Preparedness,” and the city will be progressing into phase-two, “Lower Risk Workplaces.” The third stage is “Higher Risk Workplaces” and the fourth is ultimately ending the stay-at-home order.
“We can only open as the state allows us to open,” Garcia said.
Since March 4, the city of Long Beach has distributed 1.5 million pieces of personal protective equipment, including 31,000 N-95 masks, 16,000 gowns and over 9,000 cloth masks, according to Garcia. This protective equipment has been dispersed to first responders and healthcare facilities within the city, as well as senior homes and shelters.
“We’re aware we’re living in an unprecedented health crisis, and this crisis requires us as a city to come together and to support,” Garcia said.
There are 791 Long Beach residents who have tested positive for coronavirus, and one more death, bringing the total to 39 as of May 6.
According to Garcia, the city of Long Beach is trending below L.A. County for positive cases and fatalities.
Long Beach had its largest spike in coronavirus cases in April, but since then, the numbers have remained relatively flat, Garcia said.
Newsom is looking at the number of hospitalizations in a community within a two-week period to determine whether there is an increase or decrease in the number of cases.
The stagnating amount of hospitalizations in Long Beach points the city toward a phase-two progression.
“It is important to note that we’ve begun flattening this curve,” Garcia said. “We are almost close to 20 to 25 days of these numbers being generally flat.”
Larger businesses like restaurants with dine-in facilities, offices, cultural centers, and museums are still not open under phase two.
“We control our own health destiny within our community,” Garcia said. “At the end of the day, the most important thing is the health of our community.”
May 4, 3:55 p.m.
Long Beach is preparing to reopen parts of its economy as early as Friday, Mayor Robert Garcia announced Monday.
Gov. Gavin Newsom made announcements earlier today that the state is currently moving forward with reopening the economy, something Garcia said he feels they are ready for.
More details are to be expected Thursday.
Anissa Davis, city health officer, said that the city is ready to move forward because of its adherence to the safer-at-home order.
“We know it’s not easy, and we know that at times it can feel stressful, but we truly feel that our physical distancing is making a direct impact on slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Long Beach,” Davis said.
As he had previously discussed, Garcia said Long Beach will continue to follow the governor’s suggestions and remain in-step with the four-phase reopening of the economy.
Newsom said he is ready to begin opening the state up to phase-two, which will include the reopening of lower-risk businesses and restaurants.
In Long Beach, Garcia said the earliest day they would begin considering opening these businesses, such as sporting good stores, florists and bookstores, would be May 9.
“It’s important for folks to know that we are right now in coordination with all of our regional partners on what that actual date and timing will mean for Long Beach and for LA County,” Garcia said.
Small-density retailers will be expected to maintain social-distancing practices, sanitation standards and provide curbside pick-up options to continue safely reintegrating businesses into the economy.
“This is something we should all be hopeful about, that this level of smaller retailers are going to be part of this stage-two,” Garcia said.
The mayor clarified that this phase of the economic reopening does not include office buildings, sit-down restaurants and malls, but promised that direction for those locations will come in the upcoming weeks.
“We don’t know how long phase-two will last, but within that entire stage, there will be different levels of opening,” Garcia said.
Garcia cautioned that the date of May 9 is just the beginning of the phase and more directives will be provided in the upcoming days.
If as a result of reopening, infection rates and hospitalizations increase, a roll-back will be considered.
As small businesses prepare to reopen, outdoor recreation activities will be permitted to reopen starting this weekend. Long Beach’s safer-at-home is expected to be amended over the next few days, according to Garcia.
Hiking on trails, biking on paths and single-player sports are some activities both Newsom and Garcia said will be allowed.
Despite preparing to reopen, numbers surrounding COVID-19 continue to rise in Long Beach.
As of today, there are 768 positive cases of coronavirus in the city.
Of those, approximately 475 have recovered. Something Garcia said is a “good sign”.
The death rate has remained at 37 since the most recent death on March 2.
“That is, I hope, a good sign of where we’re headed in the future,” Garcia said.
In total, there are 42 patients being hospitalized, just around the city’s average since the onset of the pandemic.
Last week, numbers were in the higher 50s, meaning there has been a slight decrease, which Garcia said is hopefully a sign that the city is moving in the right direction.
Garcia remains steadfast that moving forward is the right move for Long Beach.
“We are at the point where we are taking this next step because we believe that data has led us there,” Garcia said.
May 2, 7:10 p.m.
Long Beach has incurred another death due to coronavirus, bringing the total to 37, Mayor Robert Garcia tweeted Saturday.
As of May 2, there are now 745 positive cases of coronavirus in the city. Of those, 41 are being hospitalized and 445 have recovered.
May 1, 8:02 p.m.
According to an email sent by Student Financial Services Friday night, funds from the Coronavirus Aid Relief Economic Act are now available for students.
Allocation will begin soon and students may elect to receive the money electronically or by mail.
To receive the funds electronically, students must sign up for e-Refund in their student center by May 3. Otherwise, funds may be delayed up to 10 days as it will be sent as a check via mail.
May 1, 3:56 p.m.
There are now 709 individuals who have tested positive for coronavirus in Long Beach, a rise in 39 cases since yesterday, Mayor Robert Garcia announced Friday.
Of those, 424 have recovered.
“The number of positive rates continue to go up, and that’s to be expected,” Garcia said. “We have dramatically increased testing across the city and so now with all of our testing sites we should expect to see more positive cases.”
There have been no further deaths in the city, something Garcia said is very “heartening”.
In total, there are 54 individuals being hospitalized for COVID-19. The rate has not decreased over the past weeks, remaining between 40 and 60 at any given time.
A hot spot for the virus has been skilled nursing facilities. In Long Beach, there are a total of 93 locations. Eleven of those have had outbreaks and still account for approximately 80% of the city’s deaths.
Garcia said they’re continuing to monitor the situations at the facilities, focusing on providing PPE and extensive testing for staff and residents.
Long Beach’s main focus continues to be the expansion of testing.
In a partnership with Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Jordan Plus rapid testing site is now open.
According to Garcia, this is one of the 80 locations that the governor has funded and supported in opening.
Unlike other locations, the Jordan Plus location is walk-up only.
As of May 1, there have been 5,200 tests administered in Long Beach, something Garcia said is a huge achievement.
In accordance with the city’s continued dedication to city-wide testing, the rapid testing clinic at Long Beach City College’s East campus is now open.
Appointments can be made online.
With all six locations now fully-operational, the city can now administer well over 1,000 tests per day.
Anissa Davis, city health officer, said the city is now offering testing to all essential workers, symptomatic or not, at the Long Beach City College Pacific Coast campus, St. Mary Medical Center and Jordan Plus.
Davis warned those who are being tested and have a negative result returned, the result may not be accurate.
“If you were exposed, it can take up to 14 days to actually develop an infection, so you need to keep watching for symptoms,” Davis said. “It could be when you were exposed and you got the test, you hadn’t developed the infection yet.”
She cautioned those who believe that they were exposed to quarantine for 14 days, regardless of their results.
Garcia acknowledged that the strain of the safer-at-home order continues to be heavy, but maintained that he and the Economic Recovery Advisory Board are still adhering to the governor’s four-stage economic reopening plan.
“We’re feeling good about that and we’re transitioning on to stage-two,” Garcia said. “I’m very optimistic that we’re making the progress that we need to make to go into the space that is done in the safest way possible and being guided by our medical professionals here in the city as well as our experts in business and public safety.”
Stage-two will include the reopening of smaller businesses and public areas such as parks and walking paths. Retailers able to maintain social-distancing practices and sanitation standards will be considered for this stage.
Businesses like florists, bookstores and automatic car washes are all being considered according to Garcia.
As he said on Wednesday, there will be a “pause period” after phase-two to ensure that there are no negative side effects as a result of moving forward.
“Going backward, it would be devastating to our economy,” Garcia said. “Going back to closing, again, in my opinion, would be devastating for the city and our community.”
Garcia said that recommendations and plans to reopen can be expected in the upcoming days.
April 29, 3:57 p.m.
Long Beach has incurred another three deaths due to coronavirus, bringing the total to 36, Mayor Robert Garcia announced Wednesday.
In total, there are 629 reported cases of COVID-19 in the city.
“We expect that now more folks are tested, that number will continue to go up,” Garcia said.
The mayor said 80% of coronavirus cases in Long Beach are linked to long-term care facilities. After weeks of debate, Garcia said the city will now begin to release more information related to the locations.
Previously, little information related to the facilities was released. Starting tonight, there will be more information released to distinguish what locations are being affected and how seriously they are being impacted.
“It’s a very delicate issue because there are privacy rules and health privacy rules,” Garcia said. “There will be full transparency and I’ve been asking for that as well.”
Broadway by the Sea, a nursing home, has been identified as one of the locations where a large number of individuals have contracted the virus. As of April 29, 11 residents have died.
Anissa Davis, city health officer, said the city is working diligently to prevent any further deaths and spread.
As the pandemic grows, Long Beach continues to focus its efforts on testing.
Opening tomorrow, there will be a rapid testing site established at Jordan Plus, an arm of Jordan High School in North Long Beach. It will have the capacity to administer approximately 130 tests per day, Garcia said.
Unlike other locations, this facility will test symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. Those without symptoms must be front-line workers, such as members of the health care system, grocery workers and others.
Appointments still must be made online.
Beginning May 4, the Jordan Plus location will then open to the community as a whole for testing.
Long Beach City College’s East Campus’ Veterans Stadium will be converted into the city’s sixth rapid testing location, opening Friday. Appointments can be scheduled starting tomorrow.
As of April 29, 9,100 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Long Beach. By Monday, over 1,000 people will be able to be tested every day.
“That’s something we’ve been building towards,” Garcia said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced a four-stage economic reopening plan, something Garcia said Long Beach is working to adapt for its community.
The first stage, safety and preparedness, is where Garcia said the city is currently. Mass testing, hospital preparedness, equipment stockpiling and more are examples he said prove that the city is prepared to begin reopening the economy.
“We’re confident that we’re meeting our health priorities, our needs and our testing requirements and getting input on how we reopen and create these guidelines,” Garcia said.
The Economic Recovery Advisory Group has already begun considering stage two, the reopening of lower-risk workplaces.
Garcia maintained that the city is weeks, not months, away from beginning to reopen certain businesses. These businesses include low-density retail shops, open-air recreation areas and manufacturing sites.
“We have the smartest people in the city working on how we get to stage-two soon,” Garcia said. “All these decisions will be guided by the advice of the leadership of our amazing health department … but we all have the consensus that we are on our way to stage two right now.”
Businesses that reopen will still be expected to enforce social distancing practices.
Garcia said the city will then take a pause to reexamine the effects of stage-two. Hospitalizations, spread rates and death rates will all be considered to determine whether or not the city will begin to move forward into stage-three.
“There is no way to ease back into any type of reopening plan without some level of risk,” Garcia said. “Which is why you have to open in phases.”
Davis said if a serious outbreak occurs, the city would consider taking a step back.
Stage-three, which will include the reopening of businesses considered more high-risk, such as personal grooming locations and sporting events, is on the advisory group’s horizon.
The final stage, which would lift all safer-at-home orders, is months away according to Garcia.
“We are nowhere near, in the next few weeks or months, going back to live sporting events or having conventions in our city,” Garcia said. “We are going to try to work towards that stage.”
Short-term, Garcia said that he is confident in the direction the city is moving.
“We are not going to rush through this … we are meeting and have met our stage one goals,” Garcia said.
April 27, 3:49 p.m.
Long Beach City College Liberal Arts campus will be used as a rapid testing site, Mayor Robert Garcia announced Monday.
This is the fifth rapid testing site the city will have and will be operational by the end of the week.
Another site, location undecided, will be opening in North Long Beach at the same time.
With the addition of these two sites, Garcia said the city will have the capacity to administer up to 1,000 tests per day.
“By the end of this week, [we’ll] have one of the most robust testing systems in the state of California,” Garcia said.
Testing remains the city’s main focus for combatting COVID-19. In total, there have been 7,800 tests administered by both private and public labs.
To accommodate more testing, the Long Beach City College Pacific Coast Campus, Jordan High School and Cabrillo High School sites will begin to administer walk-up tests.
Appointments must be made online, but individuals will no longer be required to come in a vehicle.
Long Beach now has 582 positive cases of COVID-19.
Of those, 340 individuals have fully recovered. There’s a total of 117 cases directly linked to long-term care facilitates in the city.
Approximately 50 people are being hospitalized, which Garcia said has not greatly increased over the last few weeks.
“It’s important for Long Beach to understand that we have not seen a huge uptick of hospitalization, it’s remained generally flat, which is a good sign,” Garcia said. “We also haven’t seen a decrease in hospitalizations, so it may be that we have really flattened that hospitalizations part of the curve, but we need to get some additional information …”
Long Beach incurred another two deaths over the weekend, bringing the total to 31. Both individuals were over the age of 50 and had underlying health conditions.
As the pandemic continues, Garcia applauded residents for continuing to adhere to the safer-at-home order.
“We’re all anxious to reopen … but we’re not going to jump the gun and [we will] do the right thing as it relates to public health,” Garcia said.
Anissa Davis, city health officer, also thanked the residents of Long Beach for their continued adherence.
“We’ve seen our numbers of cases plateau somewhat as the mayor mentioned, we’re not going up and we’re not going down, and that’s because of each of you,” Davis said.
The adherence, along with the expansion of testing, is allowing Long Beach to begin seriously considering reopening the economy, Garcia said.
Members of the Economic Recovery Advisory Group met for the first time on Friday and are preparing to start a roll-out of guidelines for the repeal of the safer-at-home order.
Beginning tomorrow, a survey will be sent out to residents and business owners in the city to get a pulse of the community and see what the best course of action would be.
Things the group is grappling with are personal-grooming services, small fitness studios and public play spaces, Garcia said.
“We want small business owners, you have the best ideas,” Garcia said. “If folks own a barbershop, the best place for ideas on how to do that safely, are going to be from barbers and groomers themselves who have already thought through some amazing ideas.”
Garcia said that the reopening of the economy will begin within the next few weeks.
April 25, 3:58 p.m.
There are now 566 positive cases of coronavirus in Long Beach, Mayor Robert Garcia announced via Twitter Saturday.
Of those, 43 are currently hospitalized and a total of 323 have recovered.
“We continue to thank each of you for continuing to stay indoors and helping us flatten the curve,” he tweeted.
The death toll of 29 remains the same.
April 24, 3:46 p.m.
There have been 29 people who have died as a result of coronavirus in the city of Long Beach, Mayor Robert Garcia announced Friday.
In total, there are 540 people who have tested positive and approximately 313 who have recovered.
“This virus in Long Beach will be the leading cause of death for us as a community, and which is why we’re taking it so seriously,” Garcia said.
As the virus continues to spread, Long Beach continues to expand its testing capacity. There are now four sites city-wide where individuals can be tested.
Over 3,100 tests have been completed by public testing clinics, with another 2,700 done by private groups, bringing the city’s total to over 5,800 according to Garcia.
The city is working to establish more testing sites as well as expanding the threshold for who can be tested.
Starting today, Garcia said that all skilled nursing facility employees and residents, symptomatic or not, will have the opportunity to be tested.
Emily Holman, communicable disease controller with the Long Beach Health Department, said the department has been working with the facilities to slow disease spread long before COVID-19.
“We are continuing to prioritize these outbreaks and have recently increased the number of staff assigned to work these outbreaks to be able to respond accordingly,” Holman said.
Long-term care facilities have accounted for 80% of the city’s coronavirus-related deaths.
Information regarding what facilities have had casualties was previously withheld for privacy reasons, however, Garcia said the health department will begin to provide more details per facility in the upcoming days.
First responders will also be able to be tested despite being asymptomatic.
Although important to Garcia, he said people who have symptoms of the virus take priority.
“We want to make sure that as we transition that we’re doing it right the right way [so] we can still make sure that folks that have symptoms are at the top of that list,” Garcia said.
The mayor cited backlogs that the Long Beach City College location suffered due to an increase in testing.
“We’re easing into testing folks that are not symptomatic, but it’s going to take some time because the symptomatic folks are the priority,” he said.
As other states and cities begin to loosen their stay-at-home orders, Garcia said the city is continuing to work on its plan to reopen the economy.
“I’m frustrated. Small business owners are losing their livelihoods, workers are out of work-don’t know how they’re going to pay the rent and we are all getting through this together,” Garcia said. “I will make sure that everyone understands, especially this upcoming weekend, that our safer at home policies are still in place until we are confident that we’re not going to put peoples’ lives in danger.”
Garcia said that a slow roll-out, potentially including the opening of a few businesses at a time, maintaining social distancing practices and other precautionary measures, will be considered for the reopening of the city.
“This idea that we’re somehow over the hump is false,” Garcia said.
Long Beach’s safer-at-home order is still in place until May 15.
For those who violate the order, Garcia said that police have citation power.
“What we have in place is for the protection of the public and our nurses and doctors,” Garcia said. “Please continue to follow our order and do the right thing and make sure your family stays safe as well.”
April 24, 12:07 p.m.
President Jane Close Conoley said she’s hopeful Long Beach State will return to face-to-face instruction in the fall but is being cautious in confirming any plans.
“Our decisions about the fall are on the virus clock as interpreted to us by our medical experts,” Conoley said.
“I’m putting off a final decision so that we’ll have the best health guidance closest to our opening,” she added. “Obviously, putting off the decision is problematic, but deciding too soon is also problematic.”
April 22, 3:48 p.m.
The city of Long Beach has completed 4,700 tests for coronavirus, Mayor Robert Garcia said Wednesday.
Approximately 2,300 of those were processed at drive-thru testing centers located at Long Beach City College’s Pacific Coast campus, Jordan High School, Cabrillo High School and St. Mary Hospital.
The other 2,500 have been processed through private labs.
“We want to encourage folks that if you have symptoms, get tested,” Garcia said. “If you are sick or have these COVID-like symptoms, please get tested.”
To be tested, individuals need to make an appointment. These can be scheduled online.
Testing continues to be the focus of the city’s response to COVID-19 as the pandemic continues to grow.
As of April 22, 489 residents have tested positive for the virus. Long Beach has now incurred 27 deaths, all of whom had pre-existing medical conditions and were above the age of 50.
Garcia said the city has now almost 300 cases which are considered to be fully recovered.
“As this testing has ramped up … our positive COVID number is going to actually continue to increase,” Garcia said. “We think we may even see a spike over the course of the next few days or weeks because there’s just way more testing happening.”
Anissa Davis, city health officer, cautioned those who undergo testing to practice self-isolation for 14 days while awaiting test results.
For those who test positive, a letter will be sent confirming the results. Contagious individuals must notify close contacts of their status.
In the case that an individual tests negative, they will receive an email or phone call. Davis said no further action would need to be taken.
Davis said individuals who have not been tested but are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should practice self-isolation, notify close contacts and wait seven days until symptoms are clear before leaving isolation.
If a fever doesn’t go down within three days without fever-reducing medication, quarantine should be implemented. By the end of seven days, symptoms should be improved before any further action is taken.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the expansion of testing capacity earlier today, something Garcia said the city would be working in collaboration with, expanding testing capability for more residents.
Part of the safer-at-home order, the city of Long Beach postponed parking citations in relation to street sweeping violations as fewer people would have a chance to move their vehicles.
“We did that because we wanted to give people release, particularly those that are struggling,” Garcia said.
Last night, the city council decided to rescind that postponement and resume ticketing beginning May 18, which would align with the end of the city’s safe-at-home order.
“That doesn’t mean that the stay at home order is going to end on the 18th, there could be changes, it could be extended, we could see some changes that relate to the economy around that time, we just don’t know yet,” Garcia said.
Free parking spaces will continue to be offered for residents who live in parking impacted communities where they cannot easily move their cars on street sweeping days. Garcia said there are still over 4,000 open spots available for those seeking a permit.
As the city prepares to reopen the economy, Garcia and other community leaders have developed the Economic Recovery Advisory Group. The group’s main focus is maintaining health and safety while getting the economy back online.
“We want the economy to restart and we want to do it in a safe way,” Garcia said. “We’re not going to be pressured into reopening things before it’s safer, we’re going to do this in a way that is appropriate.”
Members of the group will be meeting later this week to determine the conditions that need to be met in order to reopen the city.
“I am confident that we’re going to have a great plan of how to reopen,” Garcia said. “The key question to me is the issue, the questions around: when?”
“The when question has to be guided completely by what’s the right thing to do as it relates to public health, and that decision is going to be led by the people that know the most about public health, doctors, scientists and our health professionals,” he added.
April 21, 6:21 p.m.
Long Beach State will be returning to face-to-face instruction this fall, Jeff Cook, chief communications officer, announced Tuesday.
April 20, 3:46 p.m.
Long Beach has incurred another two deaths due to coronavirus, bringing the total to 24, Mayor Robert Garcia announced Monday.
“Our prayers, our hearts go out to the families, to the medical personnel, and the way to help people and continue to save lives is to follow our health orders and to have folks stay home,” Garcia said. “As we continue to have serious issues or as relates to making sure that we’re prepared and the country is prepared for the weeks and months ahead.”
There are now 464 individuals who have tested positive for coronavirus in Long Beach. Of those, 266 have recovered.
As announced last week, there are now a total of four rapid testing sites across the city to administer up to 500 tests per day. Garcia said that the Long Beach City College Pacific Coast Campus saw 176 individuals and the Jordan High School location saw 156 individuals over the weekend but maintained that all four sites had the capacity to do more.
Garcia announced that the Long Beach Fire Department is now deploying its COVID-19 response team.
“It’s a way to have a specialized, trained fire unit in a way that limits exposure of folks and patients that may have COVID-19,” Garcia said. “It protects our paramedics, our firefighters and of course our hospitals and health department, as well.”
Special units have been designated to respond to emergency calls when they relate to COVID-19 symptoms to transport those in need of medical attention to local hospitals. Extra precautions and specific personal protective equipment have been deployed to assist in the safety of these units.
As the crisis continues, Long Beach is looking forward to reopening the city’s economy.
Garcia said beginning this week the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, headed by former Mayor Bob Foster, will begin to look at how to reopen the city as Gov. Gavin Newsom begins to hand down statewide regulations.
“What we’re trying to do in Long Beach is we want to come up with the absolute best ideas from our community from our small business owners, from our local residents and about what is the smartest way, the most innovative way, the safest way, so that when we’re ready to begin opening up some of these restaurants, barbershops, parks and paces that I know folks really want to go to,” Garcia said.
Local business owners, workers and leaders in the community will assist in the finalizing of the board’s guidelines.
Garcia maintained that the health and safety of the community is the main focus of the board’s decision making.
“We’re in no way going to be pushed to reopen anything because of political pressure or because of a group of folks holding signs on a corner,” Garcia said. “That is not going to influence the science that data and the medical advice we’re getting from our health department, the county of Los Angeles health department.”
In recent weeks, individuals have been organizing protests calling for reopening of local economies. Garcia said if there were to be a demonstration like that in Long Beach, action would be taken.
“There are health orders and guidelines right now about not gathering in parks and public spaces, about folks having face covering when they’re next to other people,” Garcia said. “I think all of us agree with everyone’s first amendment rights, but we also will enforce and follow our health orders that we have put in the city of Long Beach.”
According to the health order, any violation can lead to fines or potential arrest.
Anissa Davis, city health officer, cautioned against reopening the city too soon, touching on an anecdote about the 1918 flu.
“When officials ended preventive measures and opened schools, churches and businesses back up, the virus returned with a vengeance,” Davis said. “The second and third waves of the flu were far more deadly than the first.”
“We now have the benefit of these lessons, plus modern medicine data science, incredible technology and public health planning to inform our response today, we will use all of these tools to guide us but if we relax restrictions too soon it could undo all of the progress we’ve made up until now,” she added.
Davis said that as testing is expanded, the total number of positive cases will increase in step.
Medical advancements, like antibody testing, are being explored as options to combat the virus according to Garcia, but the Long Beach Health Department is relying more on convalescent plasma infusions.
Plasma is being taken from individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19, as they have since developed antibodies according to Davis, and is then injected into those who are currently ill. The injection can help bolster the immune system and help individuals recover more quickly.
Garcia said that the homeless shelters in the city are at approximately 60% capacity. Officials are working to share more information about access to the shelters as well as deploying more hand washing stations so those experiencing homelessness may still have access to basic health care needs.
“In general, it’s a lot of relationship-building in order to form relationships with that community and to instill trust, so that’ll be ongoing and I think our capacity and our occupancy will increase as we continue to do that,” Garcia said.
April 19, 5:03 p.m.
Long Beach reported its 22nd coronavirus-related death, Mayor Robert Garcia tweeted Sunday.
“Our thoughts are with each person and their families,” he tweeted.
Garcia said there are currently 50 hospitalized individuals and 243 who have recovered from COVID-19.
April 18, 11:00 a.m.
Long Beach State officials are “hoping” to distribute funds to students in need beginning the week of April 20, according to President Jane Close Conoley.
It was announced last week that the university would be receiving a total of $41.7 million in coronavirus relief funding out of a total of $525 million set aside the California State University system.
Conoley said the university is still waiting for the federal government to release the funds.
“We are ready at our campus to make the funds available to all students who apply, but we’ll have to push our timeline to early next week,” Conoley said. “It’s not a campus decision but a federal delay.”
April 17, 3:36 p.m.
Three new coronavirus testing sites will be opened this weekend in Long Beach, Mayor Robert Garia announced Friday.
Two of the sites will be on Long Beach Unified School District campuses, Cabrillo High School and Jordan High School. The third will be at St. Mary Medical Center.
The three new sites will be run and operated by the Long Beach Health Department and serve up to 500 people per day. These new additions will bring the total of testing sites to four, as Long Beach City College’s Pacific Coast campus location has been in service for weeks.
Garcia said that the city invested funds to acquire more testing kits for the new locations as he “couldn’t wait” for more assistance from the federal government.
“There’s no cost, and we will see anyone, whether you have insurance or not, whether you’re documented or not,” Garcia said. “Our goal is to get everyone safe and tested.”
Appointments for testing still need to be made on the department’s website. Those who are more symptomatic, who have been potentially exposed or those who are part of high-risk groups will continue to be prioritized, Anissa Davis, city health officer, said.
Inspiration for the expansion of testing comes from the continued growth of cases in the city.
There are now 419 positive cases of coronavirus and 20 related deaths in Long Beach according to Garcia.
Davis said that the homeless man who was first identified Wednesday as having tested positive for the virus has since been cleared for COVID-19 and recovered. He was the first confirmed case from the homeless community.
Of those, 220 are being reported to have recovered. Out of the city’s total, 105 are individuals from long-term care facilities.
“This is still a serious pandemic, as we now across the country and in the world,” Garcia said.
All 20 individuals who have passed have all been over the age of 50, Garcia said. He maintained that younger individuals are still vulnerable and should continue to exercise caution.
Davis said that the city will continue to work to provide access to care for all residents.
“There’s not doubt that everyone is impacted by COVID-19 in some way, but it’s not affecting everyone in the same way,” Davis said.
Based on data, Davis said that the virus is continuing to disproportionately affect senior and Black communities.
“As we continue our COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, it’s important that we acknowledge these disparities and use this information to help us best respond to those who are most impacted by the virus and have less resources to recover,” Davis said.
Garcia said that the city is working with community leaders in the affected communities to provide education and resources.
“There’s a lot of work to do and I don’t want to say that we have the right, complete solution,” Garcia said.
April 16, 3:27 p.m.
Long Beach State will be lending a portion of its campus to MemorialCare health workers for coronavirus rapid-testing, according to a faculty email sent Thursday.
Scott Apel, chief financial officer, said they will be setting up the testing clinic along the parking lot access road near the parking structures on Palo Verde Avenue.
“Like many of our sister campuses in the California State University System, and consistent with our Beach value of advancing the public good, the university is finalizing agreements to assist local agencies with facility needs to help with the response to the COVID pandemic,” Apel said.
Building E of the Hillside College Dormitory will also be used for COVID-19 relief. The now-vacated rooms will serve as between-shift rest spots for Veteran Affairs hospital staff.
Apel asked all staff to avoid these areas unless directly involved with the partnerships.
April 15, 4:07 p.m.
A homeless man has tested positive for coronavirus in Long Beach, Mayor Robert Garcia announced Wednesday. This is the first homeless person in the city that has been confirmed to be positive.
“Of course we have four shelters across the city for people experiencing homelessness which we are doing physical distance and we are working hard to ensure that we are keeping people safe,” Garcia said.
The individual is currently being hospitalized but is in stable condition.
“Long Beach had a homelessness crisis before COVID-19, and we’re still in a homelessness crisis; that has not gone away,” Garcia said. “In fact, this issue is exasperating our challenge, not just here in Long Beach, but across the state of California, and quite frankly, the country.”
Garcia said that the city is refocusing its efforts to assist in alleviating the homelessness crisis to prevent any further spread amongst the community. He does expect more cases to follow.
“The homelessness question is top of mind,” Garcia said. “These individuals are the most vulnerable in our community with the least access to resources.”
Garcia also announced that the city has incurred another four deaths since Monday, bringing the total to 18.
“Unfortunately, we can expect more of that as well to happen with hospitalizations that we have currently in our hospitals,” Garcia said.
In total, there are 379 Long Beach residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Anissa Davis, city health officer, announced a new health order affecting long term care facilities in the city, which will be implemented starting at midnight on April 16.
No non-essential personnel, unless in the case of end of life visitation, will be allowed into the facilities. Temperatures of staff and residents entering the facilities will be taken and admission will be denied if they read too high. Face coverings will also be mandated at all times.
“The goal of the order is to protect the medically fragile and older individuals in congregate settings,” Davis said. “Just as we believe we can flatten the curve in the larger community with the safer at home order, it’s our belief that we can slow the spread of COVID-19 at long-term care facilities as well.”
Davis said testing and supplies are being prioritized for both residents and employees of long term care facilities.
The new order will also be applied to dialysis clinics, retirement communities, psychiatric health facilities and other care facilities.
Garcia said the County of Los Angeles is working to expand testing and access to medical care for all.
Currently, there is only one testing site in Long Beach which is at Long Beach Community College’s Pacific Coast campus.
On Monday it was announced that Black communities are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19, something Garcia said has become the city’s top focus for expansion of care.
“Our testing strategy will, as we grow, will ensure that we are providing that level of support for those communities so that they have easier access to testing,” Garcia said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that the state is beginning to consider reopening non-essential businesses as the surge of COVID-19 appears to slow down. Garcia maintained that Long Beach will continue to make decisions based upon medical recommendations from the health department.
“First, know that our top priority remains the health and medical crisis that we’re in,” Garcia said. “So while we’re beginning to have conversations about reopening of the economy, our focus must be on ensuring that we keep people safe, that our hospitals have what they need, that we have ventilators, that there’s capacity in our hospital system, that people have PPE and that folks are safe.”
However, Garcia said that he’s not rushing to reopen the community.
“We don’t have enough data to be able to definitely say that we are past the crisis part of our medical emergency,” Garcia said.
That being said, Garcia did acknowledge that as the safer-at-home order remains in place, residents are continuing to suffer economically. In response, the city of Long Beach is establishing an advisory committee to assist in the removal of the health orders currently in place.
As other states continue to move forward, Garcia said they will adapt decisions to better assist and support Long Beach.
“You’re going to hear in the days and weeks ahead more conversations about what this framework would actually look like locally,” Garcia said. “We will not sacrifice the health of the community for jumping too soon.”
Currently, Garcia said that Long Beach is considering whether or not to move the May 15 date to lift the safe-at-home order, but currently does not have an exact timeline in place.
“In Long Beach we’re going to try to come up with the best ideas possible, the most innovative ways to physically distance and keep people safe,” Garcia said.
Tents at local hospitals and the Long Beach Convention Center were set up to accommodate for the surge, but so far the city has not yet had to use those resources, Garcia said.
“We are planning for the worst case scenario, which is what we should be doing,” Garcia said. “But if in a few months from now we’re being accused of overreacting to everything, then I’m happy to take that criticism.”
April 13, 3:50 p.m.
Long Beach reported its 14 death as a result of COVID-19, Mayor Robert Garcia announced Monday.
“That is, unfortunately, a number that could continue to go up, as we know there are others that are in our hospitals that are hospitalized, fighting to stay healthy,” Garcia said. “We know what number is a critical number for us and we continue to watch that number.”
Of those who have died, all have had pre-existing medical conditions and were over the age of 50. Half of them had been residents in nursing and retirement facilities.
Anissa Davis, city health officer, said that there are currently 48 hospitalized individuals. She said that 10 of the 14 deaths that have occurred were individuals who were living in care facilities.
A total of 73 of the city’s cases have stemmed from living facilities and several staff members have also tested positive, however, because many do not live in the city, Davis said that they are not being counted in the total count.
Over the weekend five people died, something Davis said is the result of the continuation of the growth of the virus.
“The primary reason is because we’ve seen this illness hit really hard vulnerable populations which are in the elderly with underlying health conditions, particularly in long term care facilities, and we’re seeing that really all over the country and definitely and in our state,” Davis said.
Despite the increase, Davis said the rate of growth of COVID-19 is actually slowing.
“The cases in general in the Long Beach community do seem to be slowing down somewhat, so we believe that the safer at home order is working,” Davis said. “I was to thank you for the sacrifice that you’re making in order to make this safer at home order work.”
Davis said that as long as the community continues to practice social distancing, the peak of the virus will continue to be extended.
In attempts to better understand the virus, the city has begun to analyze the ethnic makeup of who is being affected. Garcia said that 60% of the COVID-19 cases were part of the analysis.
“What you are seeing in Long Beach is not different from what we’re beginning to see in other large cities across the country,” Garcia said.
According to Garcia, of those who have tested positive, 35% have been Latinx and 33% of those who have been hospitalized have been part of the same community. Overall, this community makes up 42% of the city.
Whites make up 28% of the city’s demographic and account for 27% of the total cases and approximately 22.5% of hospitalizations.
The Asian-American community is another large portion of the demographic in the city, accounting for 13%. The community now accounts for 15% of the positive cases.
What Garcia said was most concerning was the effect the virus has had on the Black community. Accounting for just 14% of the city, 21% of hospitalizations have been part of that community.
“It’s something that we should not find acceptable and it’s something that we are working also to address,” Garcia said. “We want to make sure that the entire city is taken care of. Every single person deserves access to equal care, and we want to make sure that all populations are treated.”
The mayor said that he has been in discussions with Gov. Gavin Newsom on how to move forward with lifting the safer at home order.
“Now to be clear, we’re not there yet,” Garcia said. “But we know that the governor is looking right now, and working with us…about how we will begin to look at how we reintegrate this reopening of the economy.”
Until that time, city resources such as the small business hotline, job finding resources and the Long Beach Fund, which allocates funding to non-profit organizations, recently raised $1 million, are in place to support local businesses and those in need.
As the safer at home order remains in place, Garcia announced last week that the Long Beach Police Department would be issuing citations for those who violated the order. He said that there were no citations issued on Easter Sunday.
“The police department was very heartened by the fact that folks followed the orders and there weren’t instances where the police told someone ‘Hey you need to move on’ and there weren’t any sort of issues, everyone moved on,” Garcia said. “We’re really trying to focus on warnings and we said that we’re going to be a little tougher on citations, but that citation from the LBPD was not necessary.”
Garcia acknowledged that as the economy continues to suffer, there are more people in need than ever before.
“I think it’s important to note that there’s a lot happening, but it’s not enough,” Garcia said.
Long Beach will continue to maintain its rent moratorium, as well as prevention of utility shut off and the continuation of not issuing tickets to street sweeping related parking violations.
Garcia said the city is doing whatever it can to help support its residents during this time.
“We’ll continue to look at ways to help people,” Garcia said. “But I strongly believe we need to get direct relief into the hands of people from our congress, and that’s something that needs to happen immediately, so that’s something we’ll continue to push.”
April 12, 10:45 a.m.
The Internal Revenue Service distributed—to American taxpayers—the first round of stimulus funds, the agency tweeted Saturday.
Individuals who reported making less than $75,000 can receive up to $1,200 and couples who reported making less than $150,000 can receive up to $2,400, according to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
“We know many people are anxious to get their payments; we’ll continue issuing them as fast as we can,” the tweet read.
Deposits will continue from here on out, the agency stated. Early fund receivers will be those who electronically filed their 2018 or 2019 tax returns and used direct deposit.
The IRS looks to begin mailing paper checks the first of week of May.
#IRS deposited the first Economic Impact Payments into taxpayers’ bank accounts today. We know many people are anxious to get their payments; we’ll continue issuing them as fast as we can. For #COVIDreliefIRS updates see: https://t.co/hEEWmgHA9V pic.twitter.com/2bSHOTjMAS
— IRS #COVIDreliefIRS (@IRSnews) April 11, 2020
April 11, 4:32 p.m.
Long Beach reported its 10th coronavirus-related death, Mayor Robert Garcia said Saturday.
The city also reported 16 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 332. Of those, approximately 140 have recovered, according to Garcia.
“Our love and prayers go out to the families and friends of those we have lost. Let’s stay home and save lives,” he tweeted.
April 10, 4:17 p.m.
The city of Long Beach will be extending its health order until May 15, Mayor Robert Garcia announced Friday.
“All the things we’re doing today, need to be extended,” Garcia said.
New restrictions, including mandated social distancing at essential businesses, mandates for facial coverings in public, a requirement for workers to be able to wash their hands every 30 minutes and required facial coverings for essential business employees, will be put into place at midnight tonight.
Kelly Colopy, director of the Long Beach Health Department, clarified that facial coverings for members of the public should be pieces of cloth like bandanas or scarves, as surgical masks and N-95 respirator masks should be reserved for health care workers.
Colopy said that a covering should be worn any time someone has contact with another individual and should be washed every day.
“Our concerns that people will begin to think that the face-covering is a substitute for safety, and it is absolutely not,” Colopy said. “It’s important to maintain this six- feet distancing, as well as washing your hands and sanitizing your hands.”
Garcia said that in response to residents not following previous orders.
Beginning this weekend the Long Beach Police Department will begin to issue citations for disregarding health orders
“We’ve been giving out warnings for a long time, it is your job to follow the order and not gather in groups and not to go to the beach and not play on the playgrounds,” Garcia said. “ These citations that the police will be giving out are serious so please take them seriously.”
The mayor said that the need to start taking more drastic measures is an unfortunate necessity.
“Many locations are already doing what we’ve been encouraging already, but they’re going to be the law now because we do have some places and some businesses that are not doing everything they can do to protect the public,” Garcia said.
In attempts to continue protecting the public, the city will be closing all parks, playgrounds and sports fields for Easter Sunday.
Garcia said that Easter is the city’s most populous day, but maintained that social distancing and following the health order is crucial right now.
Colopy said at this time parks will remain as spaces where people can move, walk and exercise, but sitting and enjoying or general gathering needs to be avoided. She maintained that facial coverings should be worn if you wish to go to a park.
“The critical, critical weeks we have ahead of us, so it’s critical that these next couple of weeks, and through May, we are doing even more physical distancing and doing even more protections for members of the public,” Garcia said.
The mayor said that another individual has died due to coronavirus in Long Beach. This now brings the total now to nine.
Garcia said there are now 316 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the city. Of those, 141 are considered to be in recovery.
“Just because we have 316 positive cases, does not mean that those are the only folks that have COVID-19,” Garcia said. “We expect and know that there are many others likely that have COVID-19 across the county.”
Colopy announced that 68 of those cases are long-term facility and nursing-home patients and staff members.
“Long term care facilities are on the very front lines of staring down this pandemic,” Colopy said.
The rapid assessment clinic stationed at Long Beach City College’s Pacific Coast campus has now tested over 150 clients this week, according to Colopy.
Janice Hahn, member of Los Angeles County supervisors, said that as long as the community continues to adhere to the health orders, there is hope to overcome the pandemic.
“So far, we’ve been able to prevent a surge of cases from overwhelming our hospitals and our medical systems,” Hahn said. “But that means we have to keep doing it, we can’t become complacent.”
April 10, 3:41 p.m.
Long Beach State will be offering students the option to select a credit or no-credit grade for the spring semester, Provost Brian Jersky said Friday.
“CSULB is focused on ensuring the academic success and retention of all students,” he said. “We are proud of our faculty and students in their efforts to transition to alternative modes of instruction. We understand that this quick transition has left many in our campus community feeling uncertain and unsettled, especially in relation to how new teaching and evaluation methods will affect students’ final grades.”
The recommendation came from the California State University Chancellor’s Office and the Academic Senate.
A credit for a class would mean credit is given for the class and will not affect a student’s GPA. Likewise, a no-credit would mean that no-credit would be given for the class nor affect the GPA.
Jersky said that there would be no academic disqualifications issued for the spring 2020 semester in the wake of this decision.
April 9, 7:41 p.m.
Long Beach Health Department officials announced Thursday that the city has incurred another death, bringing the total to eight.
The total number of cases in the city has risen to 303, with 53 people having recovered.
Mayor Robert Garcia said that the request made by the city to have assistance from the National Guard has been approved.
“Earlier today, the California National Guard approved the city of Long Beach’s request to provide logistical support for humanitarian assistance related to the COVID-19 health crisis,” Garcia said in a tweet.
The National Guard is expected to arrive in the city Friday and remain until June 30 for its initial deployment.
“This assistance from the National Guard will enable us to further expand our sheltering and healthcare capacity in Long Beach,” he added. “The National Guard will be focused on humanitarian aid, and we thank them for their support.”
Garcia maintained that the personnel will not be armed nor performing any type of enforcement while in Long Beach.
April 9, 5:42 p.m.
University officials announced Thursday that the Horn Center Computer Lab will be closed indefinitely beginning tomorrow at 5 p.m.
In their message, they said the reasoning behind the close was to maintain social distancing recommendations as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The center was originally kept open, with social distancing practices in place, to provide students a place to complete work and have access to technology.
Software access will be available through the single-sign on virtual lab chiclet.
Adobe Creative Cloud is currently being offered for free until May 31 and is available for $20 per year through CSULB ‘s licensing.
Chromebooks, which were being lent out from the center, will now be available through the Student Success Center. Arrangements must be made to pick them up. Students are to call the center before coming for a laptop.
Internet providers, like AT&T and Charter Communications, are providing free and discounted rates for internet access to those in need.
“Thank you for your understanding as we make efforts to follow health and safety guidelines,” officials said.
April 8, 3:49 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced Wednesday that another individual has died from COVID-19 in Long Beach, bringing the total to seven.
“The expectation in the days and weeks ahead as we start getting closer and closer to those critical weeks where we will have a huge impact on our hospitals and we want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to stay home,” Garcia said.
Of the seven that have died, Garcia said that four of them were living in nursing and long-term care facilities at the time of their death.
Despite the tragic news, Garcia said that the city now has 140 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 out of the 285 total cases.
Opened yesterday, the testing clinic at Long Beach City College’s Pacific Coast campus has administered approximately 160 tests already.
Overall, Garcia said that the city has performed around 2,000 tests between public health care sites and private health care partners.
The mayor promised updates to the city’s health orders regarding face coverings and masks for those who are part of essential workforces and for those who are choosing to leave their homes.
“We want to protect not just our grocery workers that are working hard, taking care of us, but also those that are coming into our supermarkets,” Garcia said. “The same goes for those that are operating small businesses, bodegas, markets and restaurants.”
For those who are not part of the essential workforce, Garcia said that requirements to wear facial coverings are being considered as “everything is on the table.”
State Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell said that the Long Beach Unified School District will be implementing a standardized education plan.
“Starting April 20, Long Beach will start standards-based education from distance learning, students will be held accountable for that work coming out,” O’Donnell said.
He said that the state is continuing to fund education, with LBUSD receiving $1.2 million.
O’Donnell said that California State Universities and Universities of California will be loosening their admission standards for high school seniors. They will be accepting pass-no-pass marks, they will not be requiring SAT or ACT scores for juniors and will not be rescinding any admission offers.
Sen. Lena Gonzalez recapped state funding has been allocated for childcare, health care and homeless support and how it affects Long Beach.
Gonzalez said that the state has worked to streamline the reopening of Community Hospital as soon as possible. A partial opening will be set forth for only COVID-19 patients.
Currently, licensing from the state is the only thing standing in the hospital’s way of opening.
“There are so many elements that need to be done and checked off in order to provide a state license and expedite that license,” Gonzalez said. “I would still say that it would be expedited in the next few days. However, as mentioned the capacity of 158 medical surgical beds on day one, we would only be able to open, I think around 25 to 28 beds.”
Long Beach State and Long Beach Community College nursing students, retired medical personnel and volunteers are being contracted to staff the hospital as they prepare for the surge.
“We need your help more than ever,” Gonzalez said.
April 7, 4:11 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced Tuesday that another three people in Long Beach have died due to COVID-19.
“We are saddened to report that Long Beach had three additional deaths related to COVID-19 bringing our total to 6,” he tweeted. “All three were in their 80s with underlying health conditions. Our love and prayers go out to their families and friends.”
The total number of cases is up to 256, an 11% increase from yesterday.
This news comes as Long Beach City College had its second day of its rapid response clinic to help alleviate the strain hospitals are facing in the wake of the pandemic.
April 6, 3:00 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced Monday that the rapid response clinic at Long Beach City College’s Pacific Coast campus is now open for individuals to get health advice about coronavirus.
“We’ve already seen in just the hours it’s been open today, over 50 individuals come to the rapid response clinic for health advice for concerns about COVID-19, to check up on a health or medical issue,” Garcia said.
Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the clinic is staffed by the Long Beach Medical Reserve Corps, a team of medical professionals that are volunteering to assist in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting Tuesday at 10 a.m., a drive-up testing clinic will be open across the street from the clinic. Appointments can be made on the city’s website. Garcia said that the clinic will be administering up to 100 tests per day.
Sandy Wedgeworth, director of public health emergency management, is overseeing the implementation of the clinic.
For those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, Wedgeworth said that test results will be available within 48-hours. A caseworker will contact individuals with their results and directions for further care afterward.
Other needs, such as pink-eye examination treatment or birth control prescription refills will be available at the clinic as well.
The clinic is free for all residents of the city, insured or not. As well, citizenship will not prevent individuals from receiving care, prescriptions or testing.
This deployment of services comes as Garcia announced that there are 230 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Long Beach.
“Of course, that number we know, goes up every single day as we expect it to,” Garcia said. “More and more tests are being run and as more and more people are positive.”
Garcia said that 70 of those who had tested positive have since recovered.
“We want to see that number continue to go up and more and more folks recovering,” Garcia said.
As he had mentioned at Friday’s press conference, Garcia said that the city is continuing to prepare for the “surge,” which is expected to greatly affect communities over the next two weeks.
St. Mary Hospital, Memorial Hospital and College Hospital are pitching emergency tents to assess and triage patients that present with symptoms of COVID-19.
Wedgeworth said they may transition to housing patients on a more long-term basis depending on the need for room as the surge continues. The Long Beach Convention Center will also be making the transition into a 100-hospital-bed field hospital.
Garcia emphasized the importance of the stay at home order, clarifying that the order is meant to keep social distancing standards up and reducing the number of contact individuals are having with one another.
“This is not just because I’m asking, it’s because our doctors and nurses are asking us,” Garcia said. “They need our support in the weeks ahead, please stay at home.”
April 3, 3:57 p.m.
Long Beach incurred its third COVID-19-related death, Mayor Robert Garcia announced Friday.
“It’s incredibly tragic in our city now to have lost three people to the virus,” Garcia said. “People that all have families, loved ones, that are part of our community in our city.”
In total, there are 171 positive COVID-19 cases in Long Beach. Garcia said that approximately 40 have recovered since diagnosis, but maintained that the number is just an estimate at this time.
“If you want to help those people right now, you can do so by staying home,” Garcia said. “That action saves lives, so please, stay home if you can.”
Anissa Davis, city health officer, said the city is aware that there are more people with the virus than they are reporting.
“It’s difficult to estimate, we know from the beginning of this pandemic in the United States, that we’re just capturing a small fraction of our true infected individuals,” Davis said. “So we can say that there’s 171 reported cases, we know that there’s many more that have not been tested.”
“That’s why it’s so important for all of us to just realize and understand the community transmission is happening, and that we all need to adhere to the recommendation that we’re making to stay at home and follow the hand hygiene and the respiratory etiquette recommendations,” she added.
Davis said that the health department will be issuing regulations for face-coverings later this evening.
“Using a cloth to cover your face while you’re out in public is not a substitute for the physical distancing and handwashing recommendations that we’ve been giving,” Davis said. “They’re just an additional tool that may be used to protect us from exposure to COVID-19, when used properly.”
Davis re-emphasized that city’s newest health order requiring those who have either tested positive or have come in contact with individuals who have tested positive to maintain self-isolation and quarantine.
The mayor said that the city is working to reopen Community Hospital, which was originally slated to begin service later this year. The health department is also working with hospitals in Los Alamitos and Lakewood to ensure more accessibility and capacity for patients suffering from COVID-19.
“We are preparing for the absolute worst-case scenario,” Garcia said.
The Long Beach Convention center will be converted into a 100-bed hospital facility to help with the overflow of patients as the city prepares for what is being referred to as the “surge”.
Overflow tents have also been set up at St. Mary Hospital, College Hospital and Memorial Hospital to provide more beds for COVID-19 patients.
Long Beach City College Pacific Coast campus will be converting to a drive-up clinic and testing site. Non-COVID related services will be available starting this week, and testing will become available next week.
Appointments to be tested can be made on the health department’s website.
“We’ve had a national shortage of testing in the past, which has been really a shame for us and for this country,” Garcia said. “The CDC is finally trying to catch up. So more tests are being provided, more tests are being made and sent to Long Beach and to the county.”
Garcia said that the five-hospital system that has been established under the guise of the Long Beach health department is prepared for the “surge,” but said they still don’t know how bad it is going to be.
“We are feeling prepared, doesn’t mean we’re going to be as prepared as we need to be depending on the surge, but we are prepared as best we can today and we’re going to continue every single day, every hour,” Garcia said.
Garcia said that the city has opened its fourth homeless shelter at Martin Luther King Park. Assistance programs, shelter and medical care are being provided for those who come to the shelter.
“When someone becomes ill that is homeless or they need medical support, they almost always end up going to our emergency rooms,” Garcia said. “So you can imagine, if we have any type of outbreak, or spread of COVID-19, within the homeless population, not only is that tragic for those individuals because they are some of the most vulnerable people in our community, but it immediately causes a huge strain on our hospital system.”
April 1, 3:38 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced April 1 that Long Beach incurred its second death due to coronavirus, a woman in her 60s with underlying conditions.
“Please remember that it’s incredibly important that we take care of our families, especially our seniors,” Garcia said. “Our hearts and our thoughts, our prayers and our love is going to their families and to all the men and women that are at our hospitals taking care of them.”
The mayor said that another three firefighters have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Only one of the firefighters is a resident of the city, therefore only one will be counted in the city’s numbers.
“We should expect that number to continue to increase exponentially,” Garcia said. “We know that we are headed right now to a critical few weeks where our hospital system is expecting a surge, and we’re expecting to see more and more positive cases.”
Garcia said that the city now has 139 positive cases of COVID-19. Despite this, he said that approximately 30 people who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 have made a full recovery. To date, the city has administered 1,500 tests.
Anissa Davis, city health officer, said that although the recoveries are to be celebrated, there is still much concern to be held.
“COVID-19 continues to present a very real and serious threat to the health of everyone in Long Beach,” Davis said. “There’s currently no medication or treatment for COVID-19, because the virus is so new and there’s no vaccine to prevent disease, everyone is susceptible.”
To further prevent the spread of the virus, Garcia said that the health department will be declaring a mandated self-quarantine for those who are infected with the virus or those who may have been exposed at midnight.
“While we have asked in the past to stay home and to isolate, it will now be an official order,” Garcia said. “You need to self-quarantine, and work with your physician so that you understand the length of time, but it could be, of course, up to 14 days depending on where you are in that cycle and if you have COVID-19, or if you’ve been at risk.”
Davis said those who are to self-isolate and quarantine are those who have close contact with individuals who are symptomatic of having COVID-19 or who have tested positive for the virus.
This includes roommates, intimate partners, anyone who comes within six feet for more than 10 minutes with someone who is infected or anyone who was exposed to a cough or sneeze of someone who has been positively infected.
Self-isolation, as defined by Davis, is for individuals who have symptoms of the virus. She directed individuals who are exhibiting symptoms to isolate for at least 72-hours until their symptoms subside.
On the other hand, according to Davis, quarantine is meant for those who are not yet infected, but may have been exposed to someone who was. She said that if someone believes they may have been exposed, they should quarantine for 14-days from the date of contact.
“As we continue to see increases in cases in Long Beach and nationally, it’s increasingly urgent that those who are not isolating or quarantine, need to practice physical distancing,” Davis said. “The fewer people that get within six feet of each other, the fewer people that can get infected.”
In a departure from the Los Angeles County health department’s regulations, Long Beach is continuing to allow merchants to operate bodegas and farmers markets.
“We are trying with our health department to allow them to continue,” Garcia said. “We think they are doing a good job of physical distancing, they’re putting in good health rules. We’re also asking the public to please physical distance and follow the rules, because if that starts becoming a problem, then we’re going to have to take a more aggressive action with those.”
March 30, 4:00 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced Monday that Virgin Orbit, a space-tech company based in Long Beach, will begin building ventilators to assist in the fight against COVID-19.
“They can be used on the front lines by our medical professionals, here not just in Long Beach, but across the country and really the state, which is where the focus of Gov. Newsom is,” Garcia said.
The type of ventilator the company created is awaiting approval from the Federal Drug Administration, but should begin production by mid-April.
Garcia said that the city now has 115 positive cases of COVID-19. He said that earlier today, there were 106.
“It seems like it was just days ago that we were reporting that we were at 25 and at 40,” Garcia said. “And so this number will continue to increase and please know that because the number is 115, that’s not necessarily reflective of the folks that have COVID-19.”
Anissa Davis, city health officer, said that the increase, although shocking, is not unprecedented as the pandemic sweeps the globe. She estimated that 20% of positively diagnosed patients have been hospitalized.
“The next few weeks will be crucial, we’ve seen large increases in cases in New York City, New Orleans and other locations,” Davis said. “We’ve seen their healthcare systems be overwhelmed.”
Davis said that the best way to continue to prevent the spread of the virus is to social distance and practice Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
“The virus loves to spread from person-to-person, it’s spreading in our community right now,” Davis said.
Approximately 1,300 tests have been processed from Long Beach, according to Garcia. Of those, 300 have been processed by the Long Beach Health Department.
The Long Beach Health Department currently has 500 fully capable test kits, with another 1,000 awaiting key components to make the test usable.
Garcia said that the health department is currently testing 25 to 30 people per day, by appointment only.
“They’re being referred to the health department through our hospitals and through our medical partners directly,” Garcia said. “You must have an appointment and it must be recommended by a doctor or hospital.”
Fire Chief Xavier Espino has been named lead coordinator for the city’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The efforts made by him and others will open lines of communication and make the exchange of needed supplies more fluid.
“Please know that the city has right now and is putting together an extensive plan for overflow capacity for our hospital systems,” Garcia said. “Our hospitals right now, today, are serving not just COVID-19 patients, but of course, other patients that have critical illnesses and that needs support.”
“It is our goal that we have enough beds in Long Beach to treat the surge that we expect to happen in the weeks ahead,” he added.
Garcia announced that the city will be launching a new work program called Work Long Beach to help connect residents who have lost their jobs or have lost out on hours due to COVID-19 with essential job positions.
The city is also working on coordinating childcare services for those who are working.
Over the weekend, the city announced that it was opening three homeless shelters to assist with social distancing practices for the unhoused community. Garcia said that they are working to create a fourth location in the coming days.
Garcia said public facilities like beaches and parks will remain closed until May 1, but regulations on non-essential businesses may be extended.
“All non-essential businesses are still closed, those dates are looking at possibly shifting even beyond the current mid-April date,” Garcia said.
The mayor said that the city will continue to align its decisions with Los Angeles County and state decisions.
“That is really important for people to respect because we are trying to physical distance folks and stop and flatten, stop the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve,” Garcia said.
March 28, 10:50 a.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced further regulations and decisions late Friday night for the city of Long Beach in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first, an extension of a previously established regulation, pushed back the resume date of parking citations related to street sweeping to May 1.
“We don’t want to cause additional burdens for residents. Blue, Red and other parking laws will still be enforced. We will still street sweep where possible across the city,” Garcia said in a tweet.
The mayor then announced a total closure of all city beaches, bike paths near the beaches and parking lots adjacent to the beaches until May 1. Those who have permits to park in these lots as part of the parking alleviation program the city began last week will be able to continue to do so.
“Far too many people were not following social distancing and we must flatten the curve now. Our hospitals, nurses, and doctors are counting on us,” Garcia said in a tweet.
March 27, 3:06 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia on Friday confirmed that a Long Beach Police Department officer tested positive for COVID-19.
“I want to tell our Long Beach community that he is doing well,” Chief of Police Robert Luna said.
At this time, the officer is expected to make a full recovery but is exercising precaution.
Luna said that they are currently investigating who the officer came into contact with, including his partner. Both officers are currently self-quarantining. Another six officers are awaiting test results.
“You have to remember that our police officers are coming to work every day,” Luna said. “As we have given our community stay at home orders, our officers don’t have an option, they are coming out, they have to be on the front lines. They have to serve our community in the time of need, understanding that there is the risk to their own safety, just like our firefighters and other essential employees are out there but they need to come to work anyways.”
Luna said the department is exercising new procedures to prevent social interaction between officers and citizens. For non-violent, non-life-threatening crimes, officers are now triaging calls from residents rather than responding immediately.
“We’re giving the officers an opportunity to be able to call the person who called us on the phone and try and handle a dispatch either on the phone or have the citizen come out of the residence, trying to keep that six-foot distance and trying to handle the calls, the best that we can,” Luna said.
Garcia also announced that there are now 13 Long Beach firefighters that have tested positive for COVID-19. Four of those are residents of the city, and all had some degree of interaction with station 11 in North Long Beach.
There are now 70 people who have tested positive for the virus in the city, but Garcia said that there could be many more.
“I want to remind people that just because we put out a number, that doesn’t mean that that is the number,” Garcia said. “It is highly likely there are many more that would test positive.”
Anissa Davis, city health officer, and Garcia both stressed the importance of continuing with social distancing and isolation.
“We’re asking folk to stay home unless you’re going out walking, walking your dog or going from place to place, please stay home,” Garcia said. “This is critical for our hospitals, medical teams and the city as well.”
Davis said that there are enough tests available for residents, but not everyone needs to be tested.
“We know that COVID-19 is in the community, so there is a likelihood that those symptoms that you’re experiencing are because of COVID-19,” Davis said. “You just need to kind of take the steps that are necessary, but if you are hospitalized or are ill or sick, or an exposed health care worker, then we will be prioritizing you for testing. But everybody else who needs to have a test can have a test in Long Beach.”
Garcia said that at this time the health department is still currently following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for testing. He also expressed concern over the local hospital’s capacity to respond to the crisis.
“It’s my biggest concern right now, to be honest,” Garcia said. “If there’s anything that I’m concerned about more than the capacity of our hospital beds, and we were talking to our hospital leaders to the nurses that are on the front line and everyone is concerned about the amount of beds, that’s why the United States Navy Mercy being here is a huge relief.”
USNS Mercy, a several-thousand-bed hospital ship, docked in San Pedro earlier today. The ship will provide space for non-COVID patients to alleviate Los Angeles area hospitals to care for more critical patients.
Garcia said that finalizations for guidelines surrounding the safer at home order, parking tickets and utility payments will be released later today.
March 27, 11:43 a.m.
Information and Technology officials warned Zoom users of potential cybersecurity threats associated with the video conference application.
“As we are leveraging Zoom for an alternative method of instruction, a cybersecurity attack called ‘Zoom-bombing’ has come to our attention, in which the bad guys crash Zoom meeting to cause disruption and security concerns,” the email read.
The Office of the CIO warned professors and students to keep their Zoom classes private.
In an effort to increase security, Cuc Du, information security officer, and Min Yao, vice president and chief information officer, have advised the following in an email:
- Access Zoom from the Single Sign-on homepage
- Do not share Zoom meeting information via social media
- Once all participants have joined, lock the Zoom meeting
- Utilize the password protection and waiting room features on Zoom to keep unwanted guests out
- In the case that a disruptive guest makes it into the meeting, hosts have the ability to remove the individual
March 25, 5:15 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced Wednesday that eight North Long Beach firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19.
“As you can imagine, this has been devastating news for us here as a city,” Garcia said. “They work incredibly hard every single day to respond, not just to fires but medical emergencies, issues around safety and they have been actively responding to issues around in COVID-19.”
Fire Chief Xavier Espino said the firefighters were exposed to the virus while on duty.
“I want to reassure you that the Long Beach Fire Department is continuing to take extensive precautions to safeguard fellow first responders, as well as the public, with whom we interact,” Espino said. “We’re working closely with the health department to minimize further risks to other public safety personnel.”
Anissa Davis, city health officer, said the contraction of COVID-19 proves the virus’ ability to spread with ease.
“We know that this virus is in our community,” Davis said. “What’s key now is that we take active action to interrupt new infections.”
Davis said that they are expecting more positive diagnoses of other first responders and encouraged residents to continue with prevention practices to protect further employee infections.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone in our community to respect the stay at home mandate and practice impeccable personal hygiene and social distancing,” Espino said. “The likelihood of death from COVID-19 continues to remain relatively low for most people, however, all precautions should be taken to avoid spreading it to others.”
Four of the firefighters that have tested positive are Long Beach residents and will contribute to the total count of coronavirus cases of 41.
Garcia acknowledged that the increase is steep and said this is even more reason to continue with social distancing and abiding by the “safer at home” order.
“If we do not flatten the curve immediately, this number will continue to increase and exponentially grow over time,” Garcia said. “Just because we have 41 positive cases does not mean that there are not more.”
“You should act and behave like anyone around you could have COVID-19,” he added.
Due to an increase in rain, Garcia said the city must start street sweeping as soon as possible to avoid flooding.
“We cannot deal with both flooding, as well as COVID-19 at the same time,” Garcia said.
On Tuesday, Garcia announced further regulations to the “safer at home” order to further prevent socializing and the potential spread of the virus.
“The next two to three weeks are the critical weeks in making sure we’re prepared for the hospital and medical emergency that could be in front of us,” Garcia said. “Our hospital leaders, who I’m talking to regularly, are asking you to please stay at home [and] take care of yourself.”
March 24, 3:25 p.m.
Parking and Transportation officials announced Tuesday that refund amounts for parking permits have been finalized.
Students who purchased a spring 2020 permit will receive $75 and those who had a 2019-2020 academic year permit will receive $77.
Residential students, both on-campus and Beachside, who had permits will receive $87.
Motorcycle permit holders will receive $20.
Permits for the community, LifeFit, SRWC and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) are eligible for a prorated refund, however, the department is still calculating the amount.
Employees will not be receiving refunds for their parking permits.
Los Coyotes shuttle holders will receive a full refund of $20.
Long Beach transit and LA Metro passes are not eligible for a refund.
March 24, 2:55 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced Tuesday that all residents are now to stay home unless they are adhering to social distancing practices and fall under essential regulations.
“We are taking this next step because there are too many people ignoring social distancing while visiting our trails and beaches,” Garcia said. “You can still ride your bicycle, walk your dog or go for a run, but we’re encouraging folks to avoid any type of gathering and to avoid groups of people. This is a health crisis and we must act now.”
Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, the El Dorado Nature Center and parking lots at city-owned parks and beaches are now closed through April 19 to further prevent large gatherings of people.
The “safer at home” initiative, brought forward by Gov. Gavin Newsom and supported by Garcia, is now becoming tighter with its regulations as the trend of COVID-19 continues to rise.
Essential business is now defined as:
- Travel to and from an essential place of business, such as a grocery store or doctor’s office.
- Travel to work at a healthcare facility.
- Outdoor activities such as jogging and exercise, as long as six-feet distance is maintained between individuals.
Garcia clarified what neighborhoods can still apply for permits to park in free city lots until April 30. These neighborhoods include: Granada, 5100 E. Ocean Blvd., Junipero, 2100 E. Ocean Blvd. and Belmont, 3998 E. Allin St.
Closures for gyms, fitness studios, bars, movie theaters and all other non-essential businesses are still in place.
These announcements come as city health officials announced that there are now 28 cases of COVID-19 in the city, including the death of a woman in her 50s on March 23.
“As the City continues to navigate through this unprecedented public health crisis, we will continue to review the statewide order to ensure the City’s compliance by amending our order accordingly,” Garcia said.
March 24, 9:16 a.m.
Long Beach State officials announced Tuesday that two students have tested positive for COVID-19.
“Two students are in self-isolation off campus, and those who may have come into close contact with them are being notified by health officials. In one case, the student has not been on campus for two weeks. In the second case, there was no opportunity for on-campus exposure according to public-health officials,” Kimberly Fodran, co-director of Student Health Services said.
The campus community had been unaffected up until this point, while Long Beach city now has 21 confirmed cases and one death relating to the virus.
“While it was to be expected that The Beach family eventually would be affected by this pandemic, we were saddened to hear this news. It is a sober signal that the impact of this illness will be felt widely,” Fodran said. “It is critically important that everyone adheres to all the social distancing measures and practice good public health hygiene, including washing hands as frequently as possible.”
March 23, 7:51 p.m.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city is passing a moratorium against evictions for renters.
“I’m committed to making sure that nobody loses their homes during this crisis,” Garcetti said.
A six month grace period will be granted for renters to make their payments, but Garcetti encourages those who can make their payments to do so.
“Not all property owners are large companies, and many get by on the month to month that they collect,” Garcetti said. “If you can pay your rent, you should.”
The protections apply to both residential and commercial tenants.
He said that they are working on getting more wide-spread testing, but for now tests are being reserved for those most vulnerable to the virus.
“These tests are for the most vulnerable Angelenos, those with symptoms, who are 65 and older, have underlying health conditions, or both,” Garcetti said. “No matter what, we will have the ability to continue testing our frontline workers.”
Garcetti said that the city is working hard to protect the homeless communities.
“I won’t mince words, this virus will hit our homeless community hard,” Garcetti.
Installation of hand-washing stations and porta-potties have been made to attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst homeless individuals. City officials are working on securing up to 600 rooms in hotels and motels to house homeless individuals who become ill or exhibit symptoms of the virus.
Garcetti then announced he is enacting two new orders to further protections and assistance for those in need.
The first will require all LA Metro bus riders to enter and exit buses from the back entrances to prevent exposure for drivers. The second will allow businesses in the city to deliver alcoholic beverages for pick up.
“This will not only be something nice for the people of L.A., but good for those businesses to keep them alive, so that when the crisis is over your favorite neighborhood watering hole, and restaurant, will still-we hope-be there,” Garcetti said.
“I will continue to do everything in my local power to support local businesses and to make sure that Angelenos stay home.”
Garcetti then assured residents that their utilities will not be shut off if they cannot pay their bill, but again urged those who are in a position to pay-to do so.
“Our first concern is to make sure that all Angelenos have the essentials they need to get through this crisis,” Garcetti said.
The mayor then called on politicians in Washington, D.C., to put aside partisanship and work together to help those in need across the country.
Los Angeles is currently working on raising $25 million for its Crisis Response Plan to support those who are in need of cash assistance during the pandemic.
A separate initiative, the Angeleno Campaign, is seeking to raise $10 million to distribute on no-fee debit cards for those who are in need of immediate assistance. Garcetti said the scope of the campaign is set to benefit 20,000 residents.
Garcetti closed with some warm words for residents in isolation.
“It will go away because of our actions, but it will also go away because of our hearts. When we make sure that it isn’t just a virus we are defeating, but the isolation and poverty that will be exacerbated by the crisis. We have the power to solve those two things together.”
“Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home.”
March 23, 3:51 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia confirmed the first COVID-19 related death in the city Monday.
“Unfortunately, and sadly, we have confirmed the first death from coronavirus here in Long Beach,” Garcia said. “We share this, of course, with a heavy heart.”
The patient has been identified as a woman in her 50s with pre-existing medical conditions.
“I want to begin by reminding everyone to take the health order, our safer at home order, very seriously,” Garcia said. “Our local order aligns with the county of Los Angeles, and it aligns with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide order as well.”
Garcia urged people to continue to maintain social distancing standards and practices, reminding residents that only essential businesses and movement is allowed at this time.
“If it’s not essential, please try to stay home,” Garcia said.
Long Beach Unified School District announced that it will not be resuming schooling until May 4, while higher education campuses Long Beach City College and Long Beach State have made the move to alternative education methods for the remainder of the school year.
For those who have economic concerns, Garcia promised that relief is coming.
“In the days ahead, you will hear more from the state and the Congress about what federal relief is coming directly to workers,” Garcia said. “But for now, locally please know that we’re not going to turn off your utilities if you can’t pay. We’re not going to turn your water off, we’re not going to turn your gas off.”
“You cannot be evicted. During this time if you’ve had lowered or lost wages or are unhealthy because of COVID-19, or have not been able to go to work, you will not be evicted from your home or apartment.”
Last week the city council considered passing a moratorium on rent and mortgage payments, something which Garcia confirmed has since been adopted.
The moratorium on parking tickets related to street sweeping has been extended for another week, but Garcia maintained that all other fines related to other parking infractions are still in place.
“We have opened up a significant amount of parking lots, free for residents to move their cars, anytime this week and get a free permit to move their cars,” Garcia said.
These lots will allow residents to park for free across the city to help free up parking impacted neighborhoods.
Garcia emphasized the importance of following the stay at home order, saying that the next two to three weeks are critical for the safety and wellbeing of the city.
“I’m in conversation with the heads of all four of our hospitals, here in Long Beach,” Garcia said. “Their message to you and my message to everyone watching, your family, your friends, is: you need to please stay home to help us minimize people being affected and filling our hospital rooms, when we need those hospital beds clear and empty.”
City Health Officer Anissa Davis said they are learning more about the virus every day. She said that 80% of those infected will experience mild to moderate symptoms and only 15% will experience symptoms severe enough to be hospitalized. The other 5% will end up needing intensive care.
“COVID-19 has the potential for devastating and disruptive effects in our community,” Davis said. “Because it’s so new, and so everybody is susceptible, and there’s no vaccine or medications available at this time.”
Davis said that there are currently 21 positive cases of COVID-19 in the city and the department is currently monitoring 190 people who may have been in contact with those who have tested positive.
To help alleviate health care facilities, Davis said to not seek medical attention if you have mild symptoms or are not considered to be high-risk.
“Think about your current symptoms and take one year back,” Davis said. “If a year ago you had these same symptoms, and at that time, you would have just stayed home and not sought medical care. That’s what we’re asking you to do now, we’re asking you to do the same thing right now.”
Davis said that if after seven days symptoms do not improve and three days of an unbroken fever, to then seek medical attention.
“We have been and continue to work day and night, seven days a week, to help limit the spread of the virus,” Davis said. “But we won’t be able to slow things down unless the public does their part to help.”
Garcia said at this time that Long Beach has enough tests to analyze those who are presenting symptoms, but not enough to accommodate the testing models other countries have exhibited.
“We would love to test more, we would love to be doing drive-thru testing across the city,” Garcia said. “There’s just not enough tests.”
March 23, 11:52 a.m.
As Long Beach State makes the official transition to alternative teaching methods, university officials sent messages of encouragement and guidance.
“Today, on the first day of alternative instruction, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to all of our stakeholders, but most especially to our faculty, students, staff and families,” President Jane Close Conoley said.
The announcement that the university would not reconvene for the rest of the spring semester was made last Tuesday after officials had considered returning on April 20.
“By practicing this kind of extreme social distancing, we are doing our part to help contain and mitigate the serious health risks posed by the coronavirus, to help flatten the curve of infected individuals to ensure our medical system can adequately care for those most in need,” Conoley said.
Spring commencement remains postponed until the risk of COVID-19 is lowered, but Conoley said she is considering other delivery methods at this time.
“It is the appropriate course of action, given the rapidly evolving nature of the virus and the directives we are receiving from medical experts and government and public health agencies,” Conoley said.
Kimberly Fodran, co-director of Student Health Services, also sent a message to the campus community this morning, urging everyone to practice sanitation and social-distancing.
“This is an unprecedented time for most of us, and it is a time that can evoke anxiety,” Fodran said. “Tips for how to stay healthy have been posted to our COVID-19 informational website for a number of weeks, but today I wanted to share specific information on what to do if you believe you have been exposed or if you feel you have developed symptoms.”
Fodran maintained that there are no COVID-19 cases associated with the campus, but as the number continues to rise in the city of Long Beach, she warned of the potential of local transmission.
According to the Long Beach Health Department, there are now 17 cases of COVID-19 in the city, a 240% increase in 9 days.
Fodran said students and staff should maintain the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines of hand-washing, social-distancing and self-isolation in the case of exposure or contraction.
Faculty and staff are urged to call SHS rather than human resources in the case they believe they have been infected or exposed, or if they believe someone they know is at risk.
“I appreciate your efforts to stay healthy, protect others, and stay informed. Be safe, take care of yourselves and your families, and know that we are here to help,” Fodran said.
Today there were 33,404 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, a 119% increase since Saturday.
Conoley acknowledged that this time is difficult for many, but urged the community to stay strong and to persevere.
“I thank you again for everything you are doing to keep our campus and community strong and healthy during these challenging times,” Conoley said. “Always remember, we are one beach.”
March 23, 11:11 a.m.
International Olympic Committee official Dick Pound announced Monday that the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan will be postponed due to COVID-19.
Pound said the committee is considering 2021 as a possible reschedule date.
March 22, 4:50 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced further regulations for Long Beach’s stay at home order Sunday.
“Seriously people, you need to practice social distancing,” Garcia tweeted March 21. “I am seeing tons of people out there acting like there’s no crisis. You could be carrying the virus, have no symptoms, and be responsible for the illness or worse of others.”
The new regulations include the closure and postponement of:
- Basketball, tennis and volleyball courts
- Dog parks
- Skate parks
- Picnic areas
- Any group exercise in parks
Garcia said he and city officials are working on terms for access to and use of beaches.
March 20, 1:46 p.m.
Parking and Transportation Services officials announced Friday that Long Beach State students will be receiving prorated refunds for parking permits for the spring semester.
The returns will cover from March 23 to June 7. Permit holders will receive a refund beginning April 1.
- Students who currently have a permit will not have to apply for a refund.
- Once it is processed, the funds will be available via student accounts.
- Because of the high volume of refunds, it may take four to six weeks for the funds to become available.
- Los Coyotes shuttle passes will be refunded as well.
- Long Beach Transit and LA Metro passes are not eligible to be refunded because the services still run.
March 19, 6:26 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia and Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday a new social program called “safer at home,” an initiative to encourage residents to stay at home rather than engage in social interactions.
“This is a serious step,” Garcia said. “I want to note that it’s incredibly important that all citizens, all residents across the county, especially those that are watching in Long Beach: follow the health orders that are being released.”
Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, clarified the regulations, which are set to begin at midnight tonight:
- All gatherings of 10 people or more are strictly prohibited anywhere in L.A. County.
- If you wish to have a gathering of two to nine people, you may do so with caution. Hand washing or sanitizing materials must be provided.
- Signs must be posted in places of business directing people who are having respiratory symptoms to not enter the place of business.
- Indoor malls and shopping centers, with the exceptions of locations that are considered “essential,” must close.
- Outdoor malls must enforce social distancing standards if they are to remain open.
- Retailers who do not qualify as “essential” are to close.
- Gyms, bars and movie theaters are to remain closed.
- Restaurants may only operate as takeout or drive-thru services.
- All large gatherings are strictly prohibited.
Ferrer did clarify that those businesses that are remaining are to operate under strict guidelines.
“You must institute social distancing requirements in your places of business and your places of service,” Ferrer said. “It isn’t open as business as usual, it’s open by taking an abundance of caution.”
Ferrer said that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statement earlier today, which cited that up to 56% of the state of California could contract coronavirus, was not off-base.
“There’s not a single person, except for those who already have the disease of COVID-19, that have an immunity to the virus,” Ferrer said. “That means, for all of us, there is a high degree of certainty that with exposure, we will be able to, in fact, become infected.”
The initiative is planned to end on April 19, but may be extended if necessary.
March 19, 3:40 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced Thursday sweeping regulations and changes in the city of Long Beach during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Garcia said that there are now 12 confirmed cases of the virus in the city, with more than 130 people under surveillance.
The mayor acknowledged that the closures and changes are having extreme economic consequences for residents.
“First of all, we want people to know that we’re looking at a wide range of economic relief for the community,” Garcia said.
Rental and eviction moratoriums are being developed by city officials. Late fees and Section 8 terminations will also be prohibited in the coming days.
To further assist residents, the city established the Long Beach Fund to benefit those in need. The fund has raised more than $250,000 in less than 24-hours.
Long Beach utilities will not be enforcing payments during the span of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If you cannot pay, we are not going to shut off your water or your gas,” Garcia said. “We will work with you on some type of payment plan or program moving forward.”
Garcia also said some form of forgiveness programs are to also be expected from non-city utility companies.
Long Beach Unified schools will continue to provide food for children, registered students or not.
Garcia said that the city is expecting to roll out further restrictions and regulations soon.
“I want people to understand that social distancing, staying at home, trying to be away from folks gathering is really important right now,” Garcia said. “You’re seeing what is happening in Italy or other parts of the world. This is a very serious crisis that we’re in right now.”
“People need to expect that the restrictions that are currently in place for the city of Long Beach are going to get tighter.”
March 19, 2:50 p.m.
University officials announced Thursday that Long Beach State will begin the process of closing its campus down completely.
“We are in the process of closing and securing most buildings on campus in light of our primarily virtual environment this semester,” the email stated. “A map is being developed to provide the campus community with more specific information.”
The library will be closed beginning March 21. Until then, its hours of operation are Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Online resources, databases and assistance will still be available upon closure.
For those who need access to technology and resources to complete their work and exams, the Horn Center will be open with special restrictions and social distancing practices in place.
Beginning March 23, the Basic Needs Program will be moving from its home in the University Student Union to the Student Success Center.
The USU and all of Associated Students Inc.’s auxiliaries will remain closed at this time. Reassessment for opening the USU will occur March 20.
“This illness will almost inevitably impact members of our campus community in the future,” the statement read. “For weeks, the university has been actively planning for various contingencies and our response has evolved over time.”
March 18, 6:00 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced Wednesday that the city of Long Beach has established a relief campaign to assist those who are in economic need during the city-wide closures in response to COVID-19.
“We know people are struggling, we know that low-income workers need to pay rent and get food, seniors and people with disabilities need our support,” Garcia said. “Small businesses need our support.”
The text-to-donate campaign will take money raised from the community and redistribute it to non-profits that are assisting those in need.
“Text SUPPORTLB to 50155 and give whatever you can that would be greatly appreciated,” Garcia said. “Also know that we are already receiving large donations from some folks within the community that have the ability to give.”
In partnership with the Community Foundation, a non-profit philanthropy group that helps raise money for different causes, the city is looking to receive donations immediately with no goal set.
“Let’s support each other during this really tough time,” Garcia said.
March 17, 11:30 a.m.
President Jane Close Conoley announced Tuesday that Long Beach State will not be returning for face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the spring semester and commencement has been postponed.
March 16, 9:48 p.m.
Associated Students Inc. announced that the Beach Pantry will open for limited hours tomorrow to serve students in need.
The pantry will remain open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., or while supplies last.
“The food is being provided for students in need of groceries during these difficult times,” officials said. “The food provided will be similar to the items normally available at the ASI Beach Pantry.”
Food will be distributed at the University Student Union west patio rather than the pantry’s normal location.
ASI asks that if you are sick to please stay away at this time.
Only currently enrolled students with a valid I.D. may receive food. Limit one visit per student.
All other ASI auxiliaries remain closed at this time.
March 16, 8:40 p.m.
All dorm residents are now being required to move out of completely by March 27, according to Housing and Residential Life officials.
If a student cannot meet that deadline, they must request an extension to stay.
March 16, 7:53 p.m.
Housing and Residential Life officials announced Monday that students who reside in the dorms are “strongly encouraged” to move out.
“Because the university is transitioning to alternative delivery of classes, we strongly encourage you to consider leaving student housing in an effort to boost social distancing and reduce the density of our on-campus population,” the email stated. “This is for your protection and for the safety of the entire residential community.”
Students who opt to leave their dorms will receive a prorated refund from the day of their checkout, which can be as soon as March 20.
Refunds will apply to dining and housing costs. However, housing officials warn this may have an impact on certain financial aid.
For those wishing to stay in their residence hall or for those who have no other housing accommodations, officials said dorming residents may be relocated to another housing unit.
“We recognize that some of you have no other residence available to you or you may face travel restrictions,” the email stated. “We will accommodate you if these considerations apply to you, but you should be prepared to relocate to a different residence hall on campus.”
Move out forms will be made available Tuesday morning and are due by March 20. The latest a student may move out is March 27.
March 16, 3:45 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced in a press conference Monday, steps the city is taking to slow the progress of COVID-19.
Garcia’s first declaration was that all bars and nightclubs across the city are to be closed by order of the Long Beach Health Department.
“We are trying to slow down and interrupt non-essential functions and activities,” Garcia said. “When we really know that we have to slow down the progress as it relates to COVID-19.”
The mayor said the city is pushing restaurants and foodservice locations to convert to delivery and pick-up-only to support social distancing practices. Further details are going to be published later tonight.
Gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters and any locations where gatherings could total more than state guidelines are to be closed as well.
Garcia announced that the city is putting a one week pause on tickets related to street sweeping and the city will be providing more direction later this week.
City offices and buildings will remain closed for the foreseeable future, but the mayor said he and a small group of employees will continue to work from their offices to support city functions.
Garcia said that the senior center will continue to provide meals, as well as the Long Beach Unified School District. All children will be able to receive breakfast and lunch, not just those who attend school in the district.
Earlier today, the mayor released a statement regarding the care of the homeless population in the city. He said they intend to continue with those promises at this time.
“We are not closing facilities that serve people experiencing homeless,” Garcia said. “Those remain open and will continue to remain open to provide these important services and support.”
Garcia and the city are in discussion with the state and federal government on rent and mortgage moratorium as well as economic assistance for those in need.
Kelly Colopy, director of health and human services in Long Beach said that as of March 16, there are currently five individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is no longer confirming cases, therefore, all that test in local health locations are now being considered positive.
“This underscores the need for the city to take strategic measures to slow the spread of disease,” Colopy said.
Colopy said that most cases presented have been mild, but assured that each case is treated the same. There are currently over 100 people in Long Beach being monitored by the health department for potential exposure or infection of COVID-19.
“It’s important now to individually and collectively help each other in this community,” Garcia said.
March 16, 1:00 p.m.
President Donald Trump announced new nationwide guidelines Monday as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guidelines include:
- Avoidance of gatherings with more than 10 people
- Avoiding restaurants and bars
- Limiting discretionary travel
- Work from home when possible
- Homeschool students
These guidelines are to be implemented over the next 15 days.
“We’re putting America first,” said Vice President Mike Pence.
Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, said the trajectory of the virus puts the end of the lifespan of the pandemic in mid-July.
Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health and human services, said the U.S is now in possession of over one million COVID-19 tests. He said they are expecting 80% to 85% of tests to be processed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We have to be vigilant,” Trump said.
March 16, 11:10 a.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced Monday that the city of Long Beach is taking extra measures to protect the homeless community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Protecting and supporting people experiencing homelessness is critical as they are some of the most vulnerable in our community,” Garcia said. “Our Homeless Services team is working hard to ensure we continue to deliver the best care and services possible during this public health emergency.”
Many public service buildings are closed to encourage social distancing, but Garcia said that homeless shelters and the Safe Parking Program remain open.
Garcia also said the Homeless Services team, a division of the health and human services department, are deploying measures to guarantee the safety of the homeless community.
These services include:
- Installation of hand sanitizing stations across the city, including public restrooms.
- Person-to-person education on the risks, symptoms and actions required that are associated with COVID-19.
- Increased sanitation protocol at the Winter Shelter and the Multi-Service Center. Showering is to maintain social distancing standards.
- Distribution of sanitation kits to those who are experiencing homelessness.
- Finding isolation rooms for those who are exhibiting symptoms. The city has pledged to pay for the costs of quarantine if the situation arises.
- Maintaining safe standards of social distancing, sanitation and self-monitoring for all those who interact with the homeless population.
There are no known cases of COVID-19 amongst the homeless population in Long Beach.
March 15, 11 p.m.
Due to President Jane Close Conoley’s email requesting only essential staff report to work on campus, Associated Students Inc. announced that all of its auxiliaries are closed “at least through March 17.”
Despite previous decisions to keep the locations open, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, the University Student Union, the Recycling Center and the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center will be closed according to ASI’s twitter.
“We apologize for this inconvenience; however, the health & safety of our students, members, staff, faculty & Long Beach community remains our number one priority,” the tweet read.
This comes just a couple of days after the first decision to close the SRWC until March 17.
Last week ASI’s communications manager James Ahumada said the organization would follow what the campus decided. He did say that it would err on the side of caution for its facilities and would close them for longer if necessary.
“If the campus calls for a closure we would close those facilities as well,” Ahumada said.
March 15, 8:29 p.m.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced city-wide closure of all bars, nightclubs, restaurants, entertainment venues and similar establishments Sunday night.
“These orders go into effect at midnight tonight and will stay in place until March 31 unless extended,” Garcetti said. “There is no food shortage and grocery stores will remain open. We’re taking these steps to help protect Angelenos, limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, and avoid putting a dangerous strain on our health care system.”
This declaration comes hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s encouragement for establishments in California to reconsider their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of March 15, there are 69 confirmed cases of the virus in Los Angeles County. One person has died.
“This will be a tough time, but it is not forever,” Garcetti said. “Angelenos have always risen to meet difficult moments, and we will get through this together.”
March 15, 8:00 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced Long Beach’s cooperation with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s declaration Sunday.
“To minimize community spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable residents, the Long Beach Health Department supports the Governor’s guidance issued tonight related to the closure of bars, nightclubs, breweries and wineries, and limits on occupancy for restaurants,” Garcia said.
The announcement included encouragement for restaurants to continue their operations, with social-distancing practices in mind.
Garcia provided a list of clarifications for operations:
- Bars are to be defined as places that solely focus on the sale and manufacturing of alcohol.
- Restaurants are to be defined as locations that prepare and sell food for consumption while providing patrons a place to sit.
- Locations that serve food are encouraged to allow six-feet-distance for patrons, if possible, will dining or waiting in line.
- Restaurants are encouraged to create a designated pick-up zone for to-go orders six-feet away from other food preparation areas.
- Long Beach officials are making the recommendation that restaurants reduce their maximum occupancy by half.
A detailed list of specific locations is available on the city’s website.
March 15, 6:25 p.m.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the strictest recommendation against coronavirus yet Sunday, calling for all events of 50 or more people to be canceled for the next two months.
“This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus,” the agency stated. “[It] is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.”
The Long Beach State commencement ceremony is scheduled just outside of this two-month cancelation window on May 19, 2020.
The university has yet to decide how commencement will take place.
“We started planning [March 9] if we’ll have a virtual commencement,” President Jane Close Conoley told the Forty-Niner.
The CDC’s recommendation does not apply to the day-to-day operations of businesses or schools.
March 15, 2:30 p.m.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for self-home isolation for all California residents who are 65 years and older and those who have chronic illnesses in a press conference Sunday morning.
Newsom went on to call for the closing of all bars, nightclubs and clubs, deeming them “not necessary.”
He also said the state is working on procuring hotels, motels and trailers to help those who are facing housing insecurity and homelessness.
“We need to get people out of encampments and into environments where we can meet their anxieties,” Newsom said.
The governor asked for all restaurants to cut their capacities in half to help support social distancing practices.
“We need to meet this issue head-on and lean into it,” Newsom said. “We need to meet this moment aggressively.”
He announced that starting Monday, approximately 80% of students in the state of California will not be attending school as 50% of schools have closed in the face of the pandemic.
Newsom said that there are now 335 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 15, a 13% increase from yesterday. Six people have died.
March 14, 7:43 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced Friday city-wide closures and adjustments to city function.
“Tonight we are announcing a major shift in our city’s operations as we continue to address the COVID-19 health crisis. Starting Monday, many city facilities, including City Hall, libraries, and community centers, will begin closing to the public. I will remain working at city hall with our city leadership team but much of our staff will be working from home to practice responsible social distancing,” Garcia said.
The following are set to begin March 16 and are expected to end March 31.
- The city hall and port buildings will remain closed to the public. All services provided via those offices will be transitioned to online. To accommodate the lack of person-to-person contact, phone lines will increase staff to assist citizens.
- The Parks, Recreation and Marine Administration Office, Sports Office, Community Recreation Centers, Leeway Sailing Center, Community Pools, Belmont Pool and El Dorado Nature Center Museum will be closed until further notice. All recreation classes, permits, reservations, youth and adult sporting activities are suspended until further notice. Long Beach senior centers will remain open, as well as public parks and beaches.
- Long Beach Animal Care Services will remain open with appropriate social distancing and cleaning protocols implemented. Pet licensing can be done via mail, telephone or online.
- All public libraries will be closed until March 31. The Long Beach Public Library will be relaxing its borrowing policy and is suspending all late fees at this time.
- City services requiring in-person interaction have been suspended at this time. Services will still be available via telephone appointment or online.
- The city will be suspending all fees incurred on late utility bills and parking fees. All city or parking fees previously paid for a scheduled event will be returned.
- Next week’s city council meeting will be held via teleconference. The city council meetings scheduled for March 24 and April 7 will either be canceled or conducted via teleconference. City council chambers will remain open for public comments, but those wishing to do so are encouraged to make electronic comments by health officials.
March 14, 6:06 p.m.
Long Beach State officials announced Friday that they are canceling all current study abroad programs due to the elevation of COVID-19 to a pandemic.
“Given the severity of the situation and the State Department’s elevated Worldwide Health Advisory, and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our students and faculty, California State University Long Beach has decided to cancel all study abroad programs currently in operation in all countries,” officials said. “The university is requiring all students, faculty and staff currently abroad to return directly to your permanent residence in the United States as soon as possible.”
President Trump announced Friday that the U.S. would be closing its borders to Europe for travel and imports of goods.
“It is important to note, however, that the travel restriction imposed by the White House does not apply to American citizens, permanent U.S. residents and their immediate family members,” officials clarified.
Those returning are asked to complete a 14-day self-quarantine per Center for Disease Control recommendation.
Credits may be able to be made up via alternative delivery instruction depending on the course according to the announcement.
Fees incurred during this time due to change in flight will be covered by the university.
For those unable to complete their coursework, an administrative withdrawal will be issued for the spring 2020 semester.
“If you are unable to return to your permanent residence, CSULB will assist you in securing a suitable alternative, as you should not be returning to the campus. Also, if you need a space for self-quarantine please let us know immediately,” officials said.
March 14, 4:08 p.m.
The Long Beach health department announced Friday that a fifth person in the city has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
“The City of Long Beach is reporting a new case of COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus, in an adult woman who did not have known exposure to an individual with the virus or travel to an area of community transmission,” officials said. “The woman, who is in her 60s, is hospitalized and in stable condition. This case marks the fifth identified case of COVID-19.”
This case is considered the first example of community-spread.
“This case highlights the need for continued vigilance and preparation, especially for those at higher risk of severe illness and those with underlying health conditions,” said Anissa Davis, city health officer.
There are now 225 cases of COVID-19 in California.
March 13, 9:05 p.m.
Mayor Robert Garcia announced that the City of Long Beach will halt physical city council meetings.
“Starting next week, @LongBeachCity Council meetings will be held over teleconference, in compliance with new regulations set by Governor Newsom,” Garcia said in a Tweet. “The council and commissions will meet by teleconference at least through April or until further notice. Electronic comments encouraged.”
Gov. Newsom made a declaration Thursday calling for the postponement or cancellation of all public events that may host over 250 people.
“Written comments may also be submitted by email to [email protected],” Garcia added. “The chambers will be open to members of the public for comment, but public health officials encourage electronic comments.”
The next meeting is scheduled for March 17.
March 13, 8:50 p.m.
Officials from the Student Recreation and Wellness Center announced Friday that the facility will be closing starting March 14.
President Jane Close Conoley said that all non-essential staff were to take precautionary steps after 8 new cases of COVID-19 in L.A. county were identified by the Center for Disease Control, bringing the total to 40 cases.
This decision is a departure from ASI’s earlier decision to stay open during the campus-wide transition to alternative instruction methods.
“Just moments ago, the president updated the CSULB community that the University has requested that all non-essential staff work from home which affects all programs and services,” officials said in an email.
The center is expected to reopen March 17.
March 13, 6:51 p.m.
The Student Recreation and Wellness Center has opted to stay open during Long Beach State’s transition to alternative instruction methods.
All intramural sports have been canceled and refunds have been given to those who already signed up. Open recreation, Beach Balance and Aquatics and fitness programs, including group and personal training, are still being offered.
The SRWC has increased its cleaning staff, shut off drinking fountains to reduce the chance of bacteria spread and emailed students to wipe equipment.
“The team here at the SRWC will continue to keep you as up-to-date as possible as we move forward and respond to the campus’s decision to move towards alternative instruction,” said Maureen MacRae, associated director of the SRWC.
SRWC has also canceled the following events:
- Climbing 201: Belay Basics on March 13
- Aromatherapy on March 17
- Women & Ally Night on March 18
- SRWC Members Night by the Pool on March 24
March 13, 1:28 p.m.
President Donald Trump announced Friday that he is declaring a national emergency in response to the spread of COVID-19.
“To unleash the full power of the federal government, I am officially declaring a national emergency,” Trump said.
This declaration will allow the reallocation of $50 billion to the states to assist in the fight against coronavirus.
“Emergency orders I’m issuing today will also confer broad new authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Secretary of HHS will be able to immediately wave revisions of applicable laws and regulations to give doctors, hospitals — all hospitals — and health care providers maximum flexibility to respond to the virus and care for patients,” Trump said.
This declaration comes just days after the president announced he’d be closing off travel from Europe for the next 30 days.
As of March 13, there are 1,215 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.
March 13, 1:23 p.m
The NCAA has announced, “eligibility relief is appropriate for all Division 1 student-athletes who participated in spring sports,” which will be discussed and worked on in the, “coming days and weeks,” a release read.
March 13, 12:45 p.m.
The Big West Conference Board of Directors announced Friday that it will be moving from indefinitely suspending to canceling all spring conference and non-conference competition for the 2020 season.
March 12, 10:39 p.m.
Beach Streets University announced Thursday that its annual event will be postponed due to city mandates.
“Due to COVID-19, Long Beach Health Officer, Dr. Anissa Davis, signed a declaration that prohibits all large-scale events in the city,” officials said. “Beach Streets University on Saturday, March 21st is postponed.”
A new date has yet to be determined.
The event’s route was set to run along Spring Street, the Los Coyotes Diagonal, Bellflower Boulevard and Atherton Street, right in front of Long Beach State.
The city has compiled a list of canceled or postponed events which can be viewed here.
March 12, 3:54 p.m.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia announced Thursday that the city will cancel “all large scale events through April 2020.”
“Today Long Beach Health Officer, Dr. Anissa Davis, signed a declaration that prohibits all large-scale events in the city,” Garcia tweeted. “This declaration is effective immediately and will remain in effect through April 30, 2020, unless further action is taken by the Health Officer to lessen or expand the order.”
The city-wide cancelations include the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach which was scheduled to take place April 17 through 19 in Downtown Long Beach.
According to Garcia, the Grand Prix is the city’s most popular event, which is attended by around 180,000 people every year.
“We recognize that this decision affects tens of thousands of residents and visitors, and for some will create immense financial hardship,” Garcia said in a statement. “But our top priority must be the health and amp; well-being of our community and this is absolutely the right thing to do.”
“The City looks forward to working with Grand Prix Association of Long Beach as well as other promoters to find solutions for holding their events at a later date as the situation warrants,” he added.
Aligning with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recommendations, all Long Beach events with more than 250 attendees or where attendees cannot maintain a six-foot distance from each other have been canceled.
Garcia added that events with individuals at a “high risk of serious illness” will also be canceled regardless of the 250-person maximum or six-foot distance rule.
“This includes gatherings at retirement facilities, assisted living facilities, developmental homes and support groups for people with health conditions,” he tweeted.
The cancelations and guidelines will not apply to schools, dormitories, public transportation, work-places, movie theaters, malls, casinos, senior centers and daycares, he said.
The city has compiled a list of canceled or postponed events which can be viewed here.
March 12, 12:58 p.m.
The Big West Conference announced that it is indefinitely suspending all spring conference and non-conference competition, “effective immediately.”
“The main priority of the Big West Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus,” a release read.
The announcement comes after the No. 12 Dirtbags were cleared to travel New Orleans, Louisiana Thursday, for a three-game series versus No. 23 Tulane University starting Friday.
The Dirtbags are now, “working on arrangements to come back,” assistant athletic director Roger Kirk told the Forty-Niner via email.
The men’s volleyball team, women’s tennis team, softball team and indoor track and field were also expected to compete this weekend.
Long Beach State men’s volleyball confirmed at 12:50 p.m. Thursday that the home game versus UCSB has been canceled.
“We are in uncharted territory,” Long Beach State Athletics Director Andy Fee told The 562 Thursday. “My gut says this is not ‘three weeks and back to business as usual.’ I wish that was the case but I don’t see it.”
The suspension affects all nine teams in the conference.
March 12, 10:28 a.m.
The Big West Conference announced via email that both the men’s and remainder of the women’s basketball tournaments will be canceled, “effective immediately.”
“The main priority of the Big West Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus,” the email read.
The women’s tournament already completed the first two rounds, halting before the two semifinals matchups starting at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. March 12.
The men’s tournament was to be held at the Honda Center in Anaheim starting today, March 12, through Saturday.
“Our goal is to always play every game possible, to have the best record possible to win championships and develop leaders,” Long Beach State Athletic Director Andy Fee told the Forty-Niner Tuesday. “However, the health and well-being of our students, staff, and coaches is the most important factor in our decision process and if needed we would err on the side of safety.”
The Big West’s decision comes after the Power-Five and other mid-major conferences chose to cancel their respective tournaments.
March 11, 11:45 p.m.
Gov. Gavin Newsom made a statement Wednesday night calling for all large public events to be postponed or canceled until the end of March.
“Changing our actions for a short period of time will save the life of one or more people you know,” Newsom said. “That’s the choice before us. Each of us has extraordinary power to slow the spread of this disease. Not holding that concert or community event can have cascading effects–saving dozens of lives and preserving critical health care resources that your family may need a month from now.”
The release suggests postponing those events where 250 or more people are expected, small gatherings that do not allow more than a six-foot space in between individuals or events where 10 or more individuals who are “high risk” are expected to attend.
This decision comes hours after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
According to the Long Beach Health Department, there are currently 152 confirmed cases of the virus in California.
March 11, 6:55 p.m.
President Donald Trump has announced Wednesday that the U.S. is closing its borders to Europe for 30 days to prevent further spread COVID-19.
“After consulting with our top government health professionals, I have decided to take several strong, but necessary actions to protect the health and well-being of all Americans,” Trump said.
The closure is set to begin Friday at 12 a.m.
People traveling from Europe will only be granted access if they undergo appropriate screening before entering the U.S. The same standards are being held for cargo and trade items being imported from Europe.
The U.K. is not included in this decision and travel, trade and cargo will be open and accepted during this time.
March 11, 3:52 p.m.
Cal State University Fullerton announced it will be transitioning to alternative instruction from March 12 through April 26.
In an email sent to staff and students, school officials said the decision came after guidance from the CSU Office of the Chancellor encouraged them to suspend face-to-face interactions.
“As referenced in the campus-wide communication from President Virjee yesterday, the rapidly-changing information and guidance provided to us by the CSU Chancellor’s Office along with local and state public health officials require that we be equally dynamic in our efforts to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 on our campus,” they said.
Faculty will have the option, but are strongly encouraged, to begin alternative instruction tomorrow, but are required to have no face-to-face lectures on March 17 and 18.
“Effective March 17 and March 18, virtual teaching will temporarily become mandatory for the purpose of a two-day technology trial that will help prepare the campus for full mandatory non-face-to-face delivery,” they said.
The voluntary on-campus instruction period will resume on March 19 and 20, on March 23 and 24 all instruction, with the exception of classes already being provided online, will be halted.
“The purpose for these two non-instructional days is to allow faculty and staff to make the final adjustments for alternative delivery teaching,” they said.
Beginning March 25 the campus will commence a pause to all face-to-face interactions through April 26.
The campus will remain open, however, throughout the suspension period.
“The campus will remain open during every phase of these precautionary efforts, and students continue to be welcome to utilize all on-campus amenities, including housing, food services, the Health Center, the library and CAPS,” they said. “Concerned students are free to limit their physical engagement with the campus, but offices and buildings will remain open with uninterrupted operations; staff will continue to work on-site.”
Like Long Beach State, certain courses that are not adaptable to alternative instruction such as laboratory courses and performing arts, will continue to meet in person with the discretion of the department’s dean.
“As set forth in the communications to our community yesterday, CSUF will continue to monitor any spread of COVID-19 and issue additional notices as necessary,” officials said.
March 11, 2:35 p.m.
In the wake of the university’s decision to move all class instruction online, Long Beach State Athletics has decided to still allow spectators to attend all home games for the “foreseeable future.”
“We are currently planning to host LBSU home games as usual at each of our campus venues,” said Andy Fee, athletics director. “With that said, conditions could change necessitating modification or canceling of games with short notice.”
For away games, however, Athletics will determine if the host team’s area is deemed safe for travel.
“I wouldn’t approve travel to the state of Washington now,” President Jane Close Conoley told the Forty-Niner Monday. “Or maybe to Santa Clara County now that there’s been a death.”
The Pyramid will host No. 4 Long Beach State men’s volleyball versus No. 3 UCSB Thursday.
The No. 12 Dirtbags were cleared for travel to New Orleans, Louisiana and will compete against No. 23 Tulane starting Friday.
The indoor track and field team will travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico to compete in the NCAA championships.
Big West officials decided Tuesday to go fan-less for the women’s basketball games hosted at the Walter Pyramid March 10-11 and the men’s basketball tournament and women’s championship game at the Honda Center in Anaheim March 12-14.
The decision to exclude fans from attending the Big West basketball tournaments was done in cooperation with all nine Big West schools.
Fee said coaches and players have supported the department’s and Big West’s decisions.
“Overwhelmingly the feedback has been one of support and understanding,” he said. “This is not an ideal scenario, but there are things larger than sports. With respect to both Big West Basketball Tournaments, we know parents, friends and fans all want to cheer our teams on.”
Sophomore guard Justina King said that the empty Pyramid did not affect the team’s play but the decision was a surprise.
“I think it came to a shock to us, we kinda were talking about it in the locker room a little bit before the game but I think once we started playing it wasn’t, ‘Oh we shot it, do we hear the crowd?’” she said. “I wouldn’t say it necessarily affected our performance basketball-wise, I think it was just a weird thing in general.”
Cleaning and sanitization protocols have been increased at the Long Beach sports venues, according to Conoley.
Conoley added that all events, which include booster club and alumni gathers, held at sports games have been canceled until further notice.
“Many of the people that come to [game events] are in the age range that are more likely to be [affected],” she said.
March 11, 12:02 p.m.
Information Technology officials have issued a warning to students urging them to be aware of potential scams surrounding the COVID-19 crisis.
Cuc Du, information security officer, and Min Yao, vice president of information technology, sent an email Wednesday morning following Long Beach State’s announcement of temporary campus closure.
“As the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) situation continues to develop, cyber criminals will take advantage of this outbreak to trick you with their phishing email campaigns, scams, and fraudulent activities delivered to your social media channels, email, texts, phone calls, and other means,” they said.
Students are encouraged to email [email protected] if they have concerns about emails they receive.
March 11, 10:37 a.m.
The World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 a world-wide pandemic.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, General Director of the WHO, held a press conference Wednesday morning making the declaration.
“There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives,” Ghebreyesus said. “We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”
California currently has 152 confirmed cases of the virus with four in Long Beach.
“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death,” Ghebreyesus said.
The WHO has stated that pandemics can be contained as long as countries continue their preventative measures.
“We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: all countries can still change the course of this pandemic,” Ghebreyesus said. “If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace, and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission.”
Long Beach health officials have recommended people to follow common flu and cold prevention methods.
March 11, 9:45 a.m.
Long Beach State officials have announced that face-to-face instruction will be canceled from March 12 through March 17 and “alternative instruction” will begin March 18 and will conclude April 20.
March 10, 7:00 p.m.
Housing and Residential Life officials confirmed on Tuesday that housing will remain open even if Long Beach State turns to alternative methods of learning due to the spread of COVID-19.
March 10, 6:22 p.m.
The 50th Annual CSU Puvungna Pow Wow has been postponed to November due to concerns over the novel-coronavirus.
March 10, 5:10 p.m.
California State University officials announced that they are implementing new policies for events and travel as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
Steve Relyea, executive vice chancellor and chief financial officer for the chancellor’s office, said in a press release today that all non-essential travel of students and faculty is strictly prohibited.
“Therefore, effective immediately campuses and their auxiliary organizations will suspend all
international and non-essential domestic travel from now through May 31, 2020,” Relyea said. “Future travel, including summer and fall 2020, will be determined as the COVID-19 situation evolves.”
Students who are currently studying abroad were being brought back to California per Center for Disease Control regulation, however, as cases of the virus increase, students who are abroad in affected countries are being advised to not return home.
“Therefore, effective immediately, depending on the specific countries and circumstances,
campuses should help students remain abroad if, based on current information, it is deemed to
be a safer course of action. For students abroad in CDC Level 3 (or above) countries, campuses should formally give them the option to remain or to return with as much assistance as possible,” Relyea said.
Future study abroad programs are to be reviewed and considered based upon the host country.
In a separate release, Relyea outlined new regulations for on-campus events and meetings.
Near-term events, or those occurring within the next weeks, are being encouraged to be sustained if no present cases of the virus are affecting the community.
Other events that are scheduled more long-term are cautioned to proceed with discretion depending on CDC guidelines in the coming weeks.
“Each planned event or meeting should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine whether it should continue as scheduled, be rescheduled, or be canceled at this time – with an effort to keep events and meetings on the books for as long as possible to minimize disruption to students, staff, faculty and other participants,” Relyea said.
Six guidelines were applied to events to help members of the system determine whether or not they should proceed with its schedule.
- Can the goals and outcomes of an event be accomplished effectively through alternative modalities of communication that do not require in-person engagement? I
- Will intended audience members be traveling via air to attend the event, in particular on flights that will be of longer duration?
- Will intended audience members or meeting participants be members of target populations considered to be at increased risk or susceptibility to COVID-19 infection
- What is the current guidance from your local health department?
- What is the size of the event?
These notices come as the Big West Conference announced that the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be audience free.
March 10, 4:30 p.m.
Big West officials announced the 2020 conference basketball tournament will be played without spectators in attendance as a precautionary measure over the spread of the coronavirus.
March 10, 12:07 p.m.
With the growing COVID-19 spread, Associated Students Inc. and its various organizations have started making plans in case Long Beach State opts to close the campus.
James Ahumada, communications manager for ASI, said plans for the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, student government, the University Student Union, the Isabel Patterson Child Development Center and the recycling center will follow what the campus decides.
“If the campus calls for a closure we would close those facilities as well,” Ahumada said.
He said ASI has already decided to err on the side of caution and increased staff from the contracted cleaning company has been requested.
The SRWC has started to modify the events that it puts on to allow for less one-on-one contact.
For student government, the weekly ASI meetings will continue to happen on campus, but senators will not be penalized for attending the meeting remotely for their safety.
If the campus closes, meetings will be streamed through the video conference app Zoom. Ahumada said the app has been utilized in the past, so the senators are comfortable conducting meetings there.
“Thankfully Zoom has [recording] capabilities so the meetings can still happen,” he said.
Parents whose children use the IPCDC have already been sent a notice of the extra precautions that are underway. As of now the USU and every other ASI facility is open and running as normal.
“If the campus does need to pause classes that would be more of a full closure than less people in the building,” Ahumada said.
March 9, 9:05 p.m.
Long Beach city officials held a press conference to address questions about the three individuals who have been diagnosed with novel-coronavirus in the city.
Anissa Davis, Long Beach City Health Officer, said that two of the individuals returned from a cruise that went along the Nile River in Egypt. They are currently self-quarantining in their home.
The other, who is being cared for at MemorialCare Hospital, was recently in a community in Northern California that has a high rate of contraction of the virus.
“Now that we have three presumptive positive cases, we’re conducting extensive contact tracing to determine who else may have come in contact with these individuals, as well as identifying the potential sources of the infection in these cases,” Davis said.
As of now, the cases are still considered presumptive. Once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms the test results, they will be considered actual positives.
Davis said the health department is not encouraging public spaces to close or discontinue service.
“At this time, health officials are not recommending the closures of schools or other public facilities,” she said.
Despite this recommendation, several universities, including Long Beach State, are now considering discontinuing face-to-face lectures in the wake of an increase in positive cases in L.A. county.
Davis said it takes anywhere between 24 to 48 hours to determine whether or not someone has the virus. At this time Long Beach Public Health Lab does not have any test kits available, but is expecting a delivery by the end of the week.
“It’s a process,” Davis said. “They have to be evaluated first and determined if they’re appropriate for testing.”
According to Mayor Rober Garcia, sanitation standards at the airport have been increased, ships from China are not being disembarked and the city is continuing communication with the local schools.
“All of these steps are aggressive, but they’re appropriate given the situation,” Garcia said.
Matthew Gruneisen, deputy fire chief, said that multiple city organizations are working collaboratively to prevent a further spread of the virus.
“We are also working collaboratively with health officials to implement enhanced health information and enhance health and safety measures to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Gruneisen said.
Davis said she’s encouraging the public to continue to follow CDC guidelines for virus prevention.
“We’re encouraging all to prepare, not panic,” Davis said. “All communities can take measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
March 9, 8:20 p.m.
Long Beach State Athletics is working on a team travel policy in response to the coronavirus and is willing to forfeit away-games held in states where the virus is more prevalent.
Officials will weigh the importance of the game versus the potential risks CSULB teams may face.
“I wouldn’t approve travel to the state of Washington now,” President Jane Close Conoley said. “Or maybe to Santa Clara County now that there’s been a death.”
For the upcoming women’s basketball Big West Tournament, which is held at the Walter Pyramid, fans will be seated in every-other seat to help minimize person-to-person contact.
According to Conoley, the CSULB janitorial team sanitized the locker rooms and seating in the Pyramid.
She added that discussions are being held for the future of home games pertaining to fans.
“The decision to go fan-less is out there,” she said. “But if we do that it’ll be pretty last minute.”
All events held at games have been canceled. Events include booster clubs and alumni gatherings.
“Many of the people that come to [game events] are in the age range that are more likely to be [affected],” Conoley said.
Commencement may also be moved from face-to-face as talks of virtual ceremonies are being had between coordinators and officials.
“We started planning today if we’ll have a virtual commencement,” Conoley said.
Conoley added that since the commencement is still over two months away, the hope is the spread of the virus will be contained by then.
March 9, 6:47 p.m.
Long Beach State officials have said they are preparing to pause face-to-face classes as early as next week in response to the growing number of cases of coronavirus locally.
March 9, 4:28 p.m.
President Jane Close Conoley has released a statement in response to concerns brought forward by students regarding campus closure.
“As part of our work, the university has developed an Academic Continuity plan in order to offer classes through alternate methods,” Conoley said. “Should the plan be implemented, it would alleviate the need for most students to come to campus. If you are a faculty member, you should finalize plans for how you will offer non-face-to-face instruction.”
Despite 10 students having attended a conference in Washington, D.C. where others in attendance have tested positive for coronavirus, Conoley maintains there are still not any current cases of the virus affecting the campus.
One student who attended the conference lives in the on-campus dormitories, and is being self-quarantined according to an email sent March 7.
Anthea Johnson, who created a change.org petition calling for the university to make special exceptions for students who have immunosuppression, said CSULB is being tight-lipped about which dorm the student is in.
“As we informed the campus over the weekend, however, ten of our students recently attended a conference in Washington, D.C. at which three non-CSULB participants later tested positive for COVID-19.,” Conoley said. “While the risk of infection to our students was very low, they are currently in self-quarantine as their health status is monitored. We are also monitoring and supporting students returning to the United States from study abroad.”
Conley said that the university is continuing to work closely with local health officials to develop their policies.
“In addition, this week you should expect some new policies to come from the System Office that will affect, at least, instruction delivery, travel, and campus events,” Conoley said. “The state situation is evolving quickly, we are now meeting every day to be sure we’re aware of new developments.”
March 9, 3:11 p.m.
Students have been taking to social media to express their concerns for their personal safety and health after Long Beach State officials reported that 10 students were self-quarantining following contact with someone potentially infected with the novel-coronavirus.
Johnson, second-year journalism student, has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a condition that affects her connective tissue and immune system.
“With CSULB being one of the top commuter schools in L.A. combined with the two week incubation period of COVID-19 in which it can be passed on, the chances of a student or faculty member contracting and spreading the illness on campus gets higher with each passing week,” Johnson wrote. “Now this already poses a problem, but the university seems to also be overlooking the portion of students and faculty who are immune-suppressed, or have household members who are immune-suppressed.”
“These students are posing a risk to themselves and others when they go to campus during this time, with the increasing likelihood of infection.”
The petition was started on March 8, and already has over 3,000 signatures and counting.
“We are asking CSULB and CSULB’s President Jane Close Conoley to temporarily amend the attendance policy so students and faculty are able to stay home if necessary without suffering consequences or requiring a doctor’s note,” Johnson wrote. “The university has already stated that plans are in place to move classes online and professors are already encouraging their students to stay home if they are ill and to email them for coursework.”
“Students and faculty who identify as immune-suppressed or have a household member who is, should be allowed to file for either temporary leave or excused absences for a period of time until the spread calms down,” she said.
Reasons for signing the petition ranged from concerns of safety for their family members to being concerned about waiting too long before an outbreak actually happens on the campus.
Although there are currently no positively identified cases of the virus on the campus itself, surrounding communities such as L.A. county are continually being affected.
Johnson criticized the university for its lack of preparation.
“The school putting up hand sanitizer dispensers really isn’t enough,” Johnson said. “I feel that the university could be doing a lot more.”According to the Center for Disease Control symptoms of COVID-19 can include regular flu symptoms like fever, coughing or shortness of breath.