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New Health Order Further Protects Older Adults

Release Date: 2020-04-15

The City of Long Beach issued a new health order today that requires long-term care facilities to institute a range of protocols to slow the spread of COVID-19, including a tightening of visitation policies, mandating face coverings and requiring daily temperature screenings for staff and residents. The order applies to facilities serving individuals 65 years and older or those with underlying health conditions.

Our top priority must be to protect those at highest risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19. This new health order ensures that we are doing everything we can to minimize the risk of spread in long-term care facilities. 

Because of the concentrated living conditions and the nature of the services provided, long-term care facilities pose a greater challenge when it comes to preventing the spread of infection. Physical distancing protocols, while important, are not sufficient in long-term care facilities. 

The new order, effective today and until further notice, requires that long-term care facilities require the following:

  • Limited entry - Only employees, first responders, medical professionals or contracted essential maintenance workers are allowed. All visitors are prohibited. End of life visits are allowed with limitations. Virtual visits are allowed.
  • Face coverings - All staff must wear surgical masks at all times in the facility. When outside their room, residents must wear a surgical mask (when available) or a cloth face covering. Surgical masks are required for all patients with symptoms.
  • Temperature screenings - Daily temperature checks are required for all staff and residents. Anyone entering the facility must undergo a temperature screening and self-evaluation for COVID-19 symptoms; individuals with symptoms will not be allowed to enter the facility. 

The order applies to all Licensed Congregate Facilities in Long Beach, which includes: 

  • Adult Residential Care Facilities (ARF) of all license types
  • Chronic Dialysis Clinics
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities
  • Hospice Facilities
  • Intermediate Care Facilities of all license types
  • Psychiatric Health Facilities
  • Residential Care Facilities for the elderly
  • Residential Facilities for the chronically ill
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • Social Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Long-Term Care Facilities

This action was put in place by the City Health Officer, Dr. Anissa Davis, and in accordance with the Emergency Powers granted to the City Manager through the Proclamation of Local Emergency.

Of the 18 deaths attributed to COVID-19 thus far in Long Beach, 13 are associated with long-term care facilities. 

As older adults have a higher risk for illness and medical complications, the Long Beach Health and Human Services (Health) Department has been working closely with long-term care facilities over many years to assist, monitor and enforce proper protocols to prevent infection among older adults.  

During this COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Department’s Communicable Disease Control Program staff has been communicating regularly with the City’s 93 long-term care facilities and working in partnership with the California Department of Public Health’s infection preventionists to share best practices that support older adults in Long Beach. 

The Health Department has also been making personal protective equipment (PPE) available to facilities that do not have sufficient supplies, prioritizing laboratory testing for both residents and staff, and updating the City’s website to ensure long-term care facilities receive up-to-date guidance from local, state and federal authorities.

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The City encourages all residents to visit www.longbeach.gov/COVID19 for up-to-date facts on COVID-19 and to avoid misinformation. You can also follow updates, tips and notices on the City’s social media pages @LongBeachCity and @LBHealthDept and by following hashtag #COVID19LongBeach.